6 World Bank Projects Improving Quality of Life in Afghanistan

For nearly 20 years, the World Bank has supported the ongoing reconstruction and development of Afghanistan. Working closely with other bilateral and multilateral agencies to ensure the best use of donor resources, the World Bank has implemented programs and projects across a diverse range of focus areas—including institution and capacity building, job creation, human capital development, citizen engagement, infrastructure, and connectivity—all to help improve the quality of life for every Afghan citizen.

As of February 2021, more than two dozen World Bank projects are ongoing across Afghanistan. These include:

The Afghanistan Second Skills Development Project (ASDP II)

One of the key ways in which the government of Afghanistan aims to boost economic growth and development is by helping Afghan workers improve their vocational and technical skills. The World Bank supports this goal through the ASDP II. Like the original program, this second iteration of the ASDP focuses on strengthening the technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutional system as a whole, enhancing the performance of individual TVET schools and institutes, and ensuring that TVET teachers have the competencies needed to provide the appropriate training. Key achievements of ASDP II so far include supporting an in-service Technical Teacher Training Institute and redeveloping the curricula for a number of priority trades (such as construction and information technology) to better respond to market needs.

The Access to Finance Project

The ability to access credit when necessary is one of the most important factors that allows businesses to grow and thrive. However, many micro, small, and medium enterprises in Afghanistan struggle to access the credit they need because most traditional financial lenders are not well equipped to serve them. In response to this problem, the Access to Finance Project is working to build institutional capacity within the finance sector so that these smaller businesses will have more—and better— financing options. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as of the end of 2020, the Access to Finance Project (through its support of the Afghan Credit Guarantee Foundation) had provided loans of nearly $20 million to over 530 enterprises.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project

Over the last year, one of the World Bank’s major priorities has been to help Afghanistan cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project, the World Bank is working to mitigate the threat of the pandemic and improve Afghanistan’s readiness for potential future public health emergencies. Key components of this project include slowing the spread of COVID-19 by improving disease detection and diagnosis capabilities, strengthening the delivery of essential healthcare services, developing comprehensive communication strategies addressing social distancing and other mitigation practices, and providing an immediate and effective response to pandemic-related crises.

The Afghanistan Sehatmandi (Health) Project

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most critical health issue in Afghanistan for some time, other World Bank projects in the area of health care are still in operation. The most important of these is the Afghanistan Sehatmandi (Health) Project, which is a major multi-year initiative that aims to improve access to and quality of healthcare services across the entire country. By financing performance-based contracts for health service delivery, building and honing a performance management culture in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, and conducting extensive health-related outreach work in Afghan communities, the Sehatmandi Project aims to keep building on the considerable progress the Afghan health system has made during the past decade.

The Herat Electrification Project

In many areas of Afghanistan, demand for electricity has outstripped supply in recent years. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s national power utility, to be unable to meet its customers’ needs, and power outages are particularly common during periods of extreme summer and winter weather. The Herat Electrification Project aims to address the problem of electricity supply in Herat province by giving DABS the necessary support to connect over 230,000 people and 1,600 institutions with new or improved electricity services. As part of this project, new transmission lines and substations are under construction, sections of the grid are being densified and extended, and a grid code for the Afghanistan power system is being developed. In addition to these activities, the project recently supplied and installed solar-powered backup systems for 10 COVID-19-designated hospitals in Herat province—a truly remarkable and life-saving accomplishment.

The Afghanistan Digital CASA 1 Project

Since 2018, the Afghanistan Digital CASA 1 Project has been working to bring all of Afghanistan into the digital era. The project’s primary aims are to increase access to affordable Internet for all Afghans, stimulate private investment in the sector, and support a regionally integrated digital infrastructure that will allow the delivery of digital government services. To achieve these objectives, the World Bank is working closely with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which is the implementing agency for this project.

Spotlight on the Bayat Foundation’s Families in Need Program

Dedicated to the education, wellbeing, and health of Afghanistan’s people, the Bayat Foundation strives to help Afghans flourish irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age, religion, or marital status. The foundation was established with the aim of unlocking the potential of every man, woman, and child through a variety of national and regional initiatives.

In this article, we look at the impact of the Bayat Foundation’s Families in Need campaign, which addresses the unique challenges of Afghan families in some of the country’s most remote communities.

The Bayat Foundation supports at-risk families

The Bayat Foundation

Through Bayat Family funds, support from partner NGOs throughout Afghanistan, and the generous support of its patrons, the Bayat Foundation has established numerous campaigns designed to improve the standards of living and prospects for tens of thousands of Afghan families.

In the winter of 2008-09, the Bayat Foundation initiated a Winter Aid program, providing life-saving aid packages containing flour, blankets, and oil to at-risk households throughout many provinces, including Kabul, Sar-e-pul, Faryab, Badakhshan, and Khost.

The Bayat Foundation provided Ramadan assistance in response to COVID-19

As part of its activities to counter the spread of the virus and reduce the negative economic and societal impact, the Bayat Foundation coordinated the distribution of food and essential items across Afghanistan throughout the month of Ramadan.

The packages provided aid to vulnerable families to numerous Afghan provinces, delivering essential items to thousands of displaced workers and their families at a time of unprecedented need.

The Bayat Foundation was founded by Dr. Ehsan Bayat and Mrs. Fatema Bayat

It was established with the mission of creating opportunities for families across Afghanistan. As the founder of the Bayat Group, a parent company of several highly profitable Afghan enterprises in the telecom, media, logistics, industrial infrastructure, and security sectors, Dr. Bayat has implemented at his companies stringent corporate social responsibility policies designed to support sustainable development throughout Afghanistan.

A holdings company, the Bayat Group has subsidiaries including the Ariana Television and Radio Network, Ariana Network Services, Afghan Wireless, and Bayat Energy. With such a large reach, the Bayat Group is uniquely placed to reach communities throughout Afghanistan today.

Through its subsidiaries, the group has helped redefine key sectors of industry, and it is credited with making a significant difference to the Afghan economy. Through its charitable initiatives, the Bayat Group has made a difference in the everyday lives of Afghan citizens.

Afghan Wireless connects millions of Afghan customers at home and abroad. The Ariana Television and Radio Network has helped showcase Afghan culture and arts, providing informative, entertaining, and enlightening programming for viewers across Afghanistan and beyond.

Building on the group’s strong reputation of corporate giving, the Bayat Foundation’s highly effective charitable outreach programs have improved the lives of thousands of Afghans, supporting the nation’s elderly and disadvantaged while simultaneously stimulating national growth via investment in frontier markets, such as gas and oil exploration, development, and production.

The Bayat Foundation is also committed to Afghan children and youth. It invests in medical facilities to ensure healthy births, helps build new schools to provide quality education, and assists in the development of world-class industries and a state-of-the-art communications infrastructure to provide the next generation of Afghans with increased career opportunities.

Among the Bayat Foundation’s considerable achievements over the last 20 years is the construction of 14 hospitals serving over 1.5 million Afghan children and mothers. During the harsh Afghan winter, the Bayat Foundation’s Winter Aid program delivers precious food supplies, warm clothing, and thousands of blankets to families living in Afghanistan’s remotest regions.

The Bayat Foundation is committed to providing continued support to communities throughout Afghanistan, helping the country regain its rightful place as a political, economic, and cultural leader in Central Asia. As Mrs. Fatema Bayat explains, serving Afghans is at the very heart of all of the Bayat Foundation’s activities.

Founded in 2006, the Bayat Foundation strives to improve the lives of millions of Afghans, providing food, clothing, entrepreneurship programs, athletics, orphan care, and much more, delivering support and inspiration to at-risk Afghans.

The Bayat Foundation launched its Family Sponsorship program in 2008

Through the initiative, donors pledge $65 per month to support Afghan families in need. The impact of this modest donation is potentially life-changing. It negates the need for children to beg on the streets, enabling them to attend school, vastly increasing their educational opportunities, and with it, their career prospects and lifetime potential.

The Bayat Foundation has helped lower Afghan maternal and infant mortality rates

Over the past few years, the Bayat Foundation has coordinated the construction of healthcare facilities throughout eight Afghan provinces, providing maternal and newborn care facilities where none existed previously. These 150-bed hospitals serve hundreds of thousands of Afghan women per year, providing life-saving maternity care—for free, in many cases.

Everything You Need to Know about the Bayat Foundation

The Bayat Foundation supports people in need throughout Afghanistan, providing clothing, food, medical care, and much more. The Bayat Foundation was established in 2006. Its ultimate mission is to foster a healthy, hopeful population, providing Afghans with the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed and prosper.

It was founded with the objective of rebuilding Afghan communities and supporting the neediest and most at-risk. The Bayat Foundation supports Afghans in a variety of ways, providing food and clothing; maternity care; postnatal support for women and babies; educational support; orphan care; and youth sports programs.

In this article, we look at the history of the Bayat Foundation and the vital work the organization carries out across Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation supports families in need.

Since 2008, the Bayat Foundation runs two programs dedicated to supporting Afghan families in need: Winter Aid and Family Sponsorship.

During the coldest months of the year, warm clothing, food, and thousands of blankets are distributed to families in remote provinces of Afghanistan through the Bayat Foundation’s Winter Aid program.

Through the Family Sponsorship initiative, donors pledge $50 per month to provide the necessities to a family in need. Rather than spending their days on the streets in search of food, Afghan children are able to attend school because of the Family Sponsorship program.

afghanistan children

The Bayat Foundation provides postnatal care for mothers and babies.

Over the past few years, the Bayat Foundation has overseen construction of healthcare facilities in eight separate Afghan provinces. Previously, no formal care options existed in those areas for pregnant women and new mothers.

The new facilities incorporate maternity clinics comprising up to 150 beds. These clinics are capable of serving hundreds of thousands of Afghan women each year, free of charge. As a result of the Bayat Foundation’s efforts, the mortality rate for Afghan women and newborns has decreased.

The Bayat Foundation provides educational support and orphan care.

The Bayat Foundation has overseen remodeling and refurbishment of classrooms and dormitories across the country as well as providing much-needed school supplies. The organization has also constructed several new schools, libraries, and orphanages. It also built a sports stadium. These efforts provide a safe environment for Afghan children to learn in, helping increase literacy throughout the country by educating one child at a time.

During August 2019, the Bayat Foundation’s School and Student Assistance Program built new school facilities in Kabul. It also provided school equipment, incorporating 5,000 types of school supplies, including pencils, notebooks, shoes, backpacks, and prepackaged nutritious meals.

The Bayat Foundation also educates civilians across Afghanistan through public service announcements on a variety of different topics. These include food hygiene, personal hygiene, human rights issues, and respect for elders and youths.

The Bayat Foundation launched the American University of Afghanistan Scholars Program.

The Bayat Foundation is Afghanistan’s biggest private non-profit education, health, and social development organization. The Foundation demonstrated its enduring commitment to increasing opportunities for the youth of Afghanistan by launching its Scholars Program at the American University of Afghanistan in April 2019. Its mission is to promote a new generation of exceptional, highly-skilled IT professionals to lead technical innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Afghanistan in years to come.

afghan children

Every year, 15 scholarships will be awarded under the Bayat Scholars Program to qualified candidates who successfully complete the application process. The program will enable prospective undergraduates to study at the American University of Afghanistan and obtain a bachelor’s degree in either computer science or information communication technology.

To qualify for the program, candidates must be Afghan citizens with a high school diploma. They should be proficient speakers of English and possess a strong academic record. Qualifying students must commit to utilizing their education for the betterment of Afghanistan.

The Bayat Foundation provides disaster response, emergency relief, fresh water, and nutritious food.

The Bayat Foundation has provided emergency aid to flooding and avalanche victims, delivering medical aid, food, clothing, and other vital support in the aftermath of regional disasters. Additionally, thanks to the organization’s deep well-digging initiatives, more people throughout Afghanistan enjoy access to clean, safe drinking water today.

Each year, The Bayat Foundation Food Assistance Program initiative provides hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals to families throughout Afghanistan. Every Bayat Foundation meal kit provides pre-packaged, easy-to-prepare meals that are shelf stable and fortified with vitamins, proteins, and other key nutrients.

The Bayat Foundation partners with local schools to ensure its programs reach as many families as possible. To date, more than 172,800 pre-packaged meals have been distributed to families and children throughout Kabul and the surrounding regions.

The Bayat Foundation sponsors sporting events.

The Foundation sponsors a variety of different sporting events, including bicycle races, distance running, and walk-a-thons. Its aim is to inspire young people throughout Afghanistan to take part in competitive sports and team-building exercises.