Community monitoring stops construction of low-quality canal in Herat

Zohera Aminpoor, Integrity Watch Afghanistan 

The Shogofan canal project is a two-section irrigation construction in Herat Province. The project is part of efforts by the government to bring flood relief to the communities that lie in the delta of the canals in the region. The construction was marred with irregularities and misconduct. However, as a result of the efforts of community activists, construction has stopped until the quality of the work improves.

From the beginning of construction, issues such as using low-quality materials, lack of information disclosure about the project documents and beneficial ownership were evident.

Mr. Muhsin Hashimi, a community volunteer, the representative of his community which will benefit from the construction of the project, shared his findings with head of the local council but to no avail. However, later it was found that he holds a share in the company.

Determined to stop further construction Mr. Hashimi outlined the misconduct in the construction of the project with the relevant government entities in Herat province responsible for overseeing such public construction projects. With assistance provided by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the findings from the monitoring which, included the use of low-quality types of cement and other construction materials in the canals shared with Herat Municipality and Economy Department. Both government agencies are trying to find out a solution. Currently, the project is stopped.

Last year alone 22 projects were monitored in Herat province which included among others, a research center for Education Department, ICU section of Herat zone hospital, a road, boundary wall, and four canal constructions.