The successful intervention by Integrity Watch ensured local workers received their due compensation for work on canal projects.

 Hakim Jawid – Social Mobilizer for Monitoring on Constructional Projects of Bamyan Program

Five irrigation canal projects were funded through Japan’s JICA during 2015 and 2016 in Khulankash village of Fuladi Valley of central Bamyan. These projects were implemented and facilitated by UNFAO. All five projects belong to the Department of Energy and Water’s unit for the Secondary Region of Kunduz Olia River.

The Khulankash-2 2,000m long irrigation canal project was built by Imdad Construction Firm. 80% of the project was completed during 2015 while the remaining work was completed during 2016. An additional canal of 450m in length was linked to the mentioned canal by the same firm in 2016.

Another canal project was constructed in the same village with a length of 150m by Worono Construction Firm, whose work was partially completed during 2015 with the remaining work completed in 2016.

Imdad Construction Firm contracted for extraction work, for the transfer of materials such as stone, sand and gravel and for stone work with the villagers in May 2016. However, the villagers were not paid from the commencement of the contract until 5 September 2016, which reached an amount due to them of around USD 38,000. The villagers filed a complaint in late June 2016 to the office of Integrity Watch to advocate for their unpaid salaries. Meantime, the Integrity Watch provincial office held a provincial board meeting and requested that the parties to the contract join the session and provide clarifications on this matter. However, the aforementioned firms refused to participate in the meeting.

During the provincial board meeting villagers expressed their concern about this matter since the project was about to be completed although Imdad Construction Firm still owed them over USD 38,000 and Worono Construction Firm also owed them about USD 4700.

A provincial board session was held on 5 September of the same year which was attended by representatives from the Department of Irrigation, the Provincial Council, the Department of Economy, the Chairman of UNFAO, concerned engineers, representatives of the aforementioned construction firms, and by 13 villagers from Khulankash village.

Among the above attendees, the representatives from the Department of Irrigation and from UNFAO, which are the principal responsible parties, were unaware of the matter (installments were paid by UNFAO to Worono Construction Firm). However, as a consequence of the arguments presented, it was decided that the firms were obliged to pay 20% of the unpaid amounts due to of people of Khulankash village within 5 days, that they should settle the remaining 80% of the amounts due by the completion of the work and that they should submit supporting documents to the Departments of Irrigation and Agriculture. The villagers warmly appreciated this decision; the mentioned departments also noted that this was an important example of cooperation between the government, the public and civil society organizations.

In the aftermath of the advocacy efforts by Integrity Watch with the concerned entities, the local people were able to achieve all their dues from both of the construction firms. The Department of Irrigation also committed that in the future they will first check all relevant settlement documents of such firms with the local people and will ensure their due installments are processed in full.