Balkh 2006-2008

Project title:    Pilot project for improving public health state in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan, through introducing innovative waste management methods and capacity building for Afghan environmental experts
Duration:    18 months (December, 2006 – June, 2008)
Budget:     222,860 EUR
Donor:     EuropeAid/European Commission

Project background

Urban development in Afghanistan is causing serious environmental problems for the local population. Public health conditions are worsening, urgent solutions are needed. The existing capacities of the local municipalities are insufficient to solve the waste management problems. The population of Mazar-I-Sharif - the project’s target area - has been multiplied during the past 30 years (the city’s population is close to 1 million including agglomeration) but the development of the infrastructure is not able to serve the increased population, the management of organic and inorganic waste is unsolved in the city. 
Main objectives

Overall objective of Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s program was to contribute to improvement of public health conditions in Mazar-I-Sharif. This goal was realized through introduction of innovative waste-management methods and capacity building of local experts.   
Project activities

1. Training of the population of two guzars (sections) on the basic elements of waste management: March 2007 – July 2007, Mazar-I-Sharif, Balkh Province
2. Training of Farmers’ Association members on the basic elements of waste management: March 2007 – July 2007, Balkh Province
3. Distribution/establishment of basic project equipments and supplies: May 2007 – June 2007, Mazar-I-Sharif, Balkh Province: 10 concrete collection points were established in the two guzars; each point was divided in two parts – for organic and non-organic waste. Waste bins were also distributed for citizens (1600 pieces, 2 piece/family).  
4. Expert training in Hungary: October 2007, Hungary - the training offered opportunity to five Afghan experts to get acquainted with EU waste management standards, methods, procedures and to transfer the knowledge to their own community later on. The experts visited Hungarian waste treatment plants, and line ministries for information sharing.  
5. Distribution of saplings and agricultural tools / Plantation of 10 ha orchards- Mazar-I-Sharif, Balkh, Dehdady, Rabat – February - March 2008: Farmers received a total of 5,000 grafted 2 years old saplings that contribute to a green zone gradually created at the periphery of the city, which filters the air - coming from the desert – from dust.
Main results and impact

-    10,000 city dwellers got acquainted with and applied selective waste collection and hygienic composting
-    833m3 of non-organic and 390m3 of organic waste evacuated from the project location helped to clean and decrease environmental degradation and create a healthier environment for the population 
-    a total of 500  m3 compost/year is used in Mazar-I-Sharif 
-    public health conditions improved in 2 guzars
-    five Afghan experts got acquainted with EU waste management standards, methods, procedures
-    professional cooperation was established between European and Afghan experts
-    10 hectares of new green area established yearly by the help of the compost produced
-    By the help of training, providing basic tools and constructing 10 collection points the beneficiaries received a working and sustainable system of treating the waste.
-    Publications were prepared and issued both for the population (teaching materials, leaflets, posters) and also for local partners and the international community members (20 page English summary of the project and a CD-ROM with important project details) 
-    Rate of several diseases (acute bloody diarrhea, acute watery diarrhea, allergies etc.) decreased according to the official data of the Ministry of Health.