POLITICS

Afghanistan signature projects left incomplete with departure of troops

03/16/2015 03:27 EDT | Updated 05/16/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - The federal government revamped its aid program for Afghanistan in 2008, focusing on three signature projects: eradication of polio; rehabilitation of the Dahla Dam and irrigation system; and the building and repair of 50 schools.

Some facts and findings about each of these from an internal evaluation:

Polio: Canada was the main international supporter of a polio eradication initiative starting in 2006 and launched a major project in 2008 with the aim of eradicating the disease by the end of 2009. The evaluation describes the campaign as "well-organized" and "functional," though the disease has yet to be eradicated.

Dahla Dam: The dam is the second largest in Afghanistan and the project aimed to double the amount of irrigated land in the region. Estimates in 2008 said 40,000 hectares would be irrigated, creating a 50 per-cent-increase in overall production and 60,000 farm jobs. The evaluation found no information on the increase in irrigated acreage beyond a rough estimate of 30,000 hectares and saw little or no economic growth.

Schools: As of July 2011, 38 schools had been completed and 13 more were under construction. The evaluation found that the enrolment of both boys and girls increased, although reliable enrolment figures were not available. Some schools were poorly built and lack of security meant not all rural schools were open.

Aftermath: "A few years after the Canadian exit from Kandahar, there is limited evidence of positive outcomes in terms of more jobs, enhanced income opportunities or better quality of services outside of the health and education sectors."