Local volunteer in Herat helps build quality irrigation system for his community

Zohre Amin Poor, Integrity Watch Afghanistan

Hafizullah Shams, works with local community elders to make sure that construction of Urdu Khan Farm is carried out in accordance with the project design. He is one of the volunteers who monitors construction projects on behalf of his community.

Construction of canals for Urdu Khan Farm is a major agricultural project designed to change the lives of many people living in Herat Province. But as with a majority of large projects in Afghanistan, rampant corruption and lack of oversight resulted in the compromise of the quality of the construction.

Mr. Shams identified the lack of use of proper machinery such as cement mixers. During his monitoring of the construction of the canal, he also observed the use of poor-quality materials. Determined to improve quality of the project that affects thousands of people in his community, he raised the issue with the company several times in an effort to make them use better quality materials and proper construction machinery but to no avail.

Despite threats, Mr. Shams shared the results of his monitoring with the local Council. Realizing that there was an issue, the council managed to stop the work and urged the company to use better quality construction materials and proper machinery in the building of these canals. Mr. Sham’s regular monitoring and persistence has resulted in an improvement in both the quality of the construction and the timely delivery of the project.

To ensure that public money is not wasted and the quality of the project is at a satisfactory level, Integrity Watch trains community volunteers who in turn monitor the construction of projects within their communities.