Strong Local Government Structures to Stabilise Northern Afghanistan

In order to strengthen local governance structures at district level and at the same time improve living conditions for Afghanistan’s rural population, the German Government is supporting the necessary capacity development measures and smaller infrastructure initiatives in Afghanistan.


Decades of armed conflict have shattered Afghanistan’s infrastructure along with its state structures. State and administrative functions are inefficiently organised and complex; civil society interest groups do not always exist. And the benefit to the population is not always visible, as most of the Northern Afghan population only has limited access to infrastructure and public services. However, lasting stability in Afghanistan’s regions depends among other things on local governments and interest groups being capable of taking action. The volatile security situation in some parts of the country further impedes regional development.


By means of direct and effective infrastructure measures and efforts to strengthen local participatory structures, especially the district development councils, the programme seeks to promote the state building process in order to improve living conditions for the population and thus help to bring stability to Northern Afghanistan.

Measures & Results

Infrastructure expansion measures are directly benefiting the Afghan people. For example, over 280 schools and other educational facilities as well as 39 roads and bridges have been either built from scratch, extended or restored and properly equipped as part of the project. The results are impressive. A total of 395 projects have been completed to date in 52 districts of Badakhshan, Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan Provinces. These construction measures are having a direct and positive impact on socio-economic conditions in these districts, as they provide local people with access to education, economic opportunities and administrative services. In Yaftal-e Payeen in Badakhshan Province, a recently constructed health clinic can now host up to 100 patients and serves the district’s 60,000 residents.

Members of the district development councils (DDCs) have received high-quality instruction in the areas of project selection and monitoring as part of training measures delivered to more than 50 district administrations. Additionally, training for DDC members improves these institutions’ capacities to build efficient and effective regional governance structures. One example of a seminar topic is conflict management.

Local communities are involved indirectly in democratic processes, namely the selection and implementation of projects, through the activities of qualified DDA representatives. This increases the legitimacy of the authorities concerned and the decisions they make. In order to leverage the full potential of the Afghan people for the long-term stabilisation of their country, women are also being encouraged to play an active role in the work of the DDAs.

At a glance

Activities in the provinces Badakshan,
Stabilisation Programme Northern Afghanistan (SPNA)
Commissioned by:
German Federal Foreign Office
Aga Khan Foundation Afghanistan (AKF-A), ACTED and Mercy Corps (MC)
Implementing organisations:
Badakshan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar
Programme objective:
Stabilise fragile regions by improving socio-economic infrastructure and strengthening local development councils.
Overall term:
March 2010 – December 2019