Chadd Nyerges / CADG
Qalat residents shop with greater ease thanks to paved pedestrian pathways and rehabilitated drainage.
“It was very difficult to get to our stores. The dirt road was potholed, uneven and went right up to our doorways,” said Mr. Haji Hamid Rasul, a shopkeeper from Qalat, the capital of Zabul Province. “There was always so much trash and dust, and mud in the winter.” In addition to being a shop owner, Haji Hamid is the local warden on Likak street, the main road in the Qalat bazaar. As a warden, Hamid fields complaints from citizens doing business on Likak and presents these concerns to local authorities.
For years, lack of adequate pedestrian access and drainage were two of the issues most frequently cited to Haji Hamid by his neighbors. Lacking the benefits of pedestrian pathways and drainage canals, the shops and buildings pressed direclty against local roads, and trash collected in unsanitary piles in the middle of the street.
USAID partnered with the Afghan government to renovate and pave key neighborhood pedestrian pathways and rehabilitate critical drainage systems in an effort to clean up the streets of Qalat and improve access to the local bazaar. Through a set of successive projects, over 3,000 members of the community rehabilitated 20,000 m2 of pedestrian pathways, 4.5 km of concrete roadside drainage canals and 43 culverts.
The projects have had a resounding success. In addition to improving pedestrian access and sanitation, the renovated public works stimulated expansion in the bazaar, “Over 100 new shops have opened. A new 45-shop bazaar is being constructed on the next street,” Mr. Hamid reported. Building on the successes of last year’s projects, the effort to clean up Qalat continue. The municipality has installed public garbage bins throughout the city, and government trucks empty the bins on a regular basis.
Paving the Road to Business Success