Afghanistan urban capacity building strategy (Patrick Wakely)

In March 2007, Patrick Wakely undertook a consultancy for UN-Habitat to advise on building the capacity of the Ministry of Urban Development to Build the Capacity of municipalities in Afghanistan.

The extensive and intensive problems of urban development, planning and management in Afghanistan are well understood by government, but addressing them is severely constrained by a lack of technical and institutional resources. In recognition of this, and of the need to devolve responsibility for to the most effective levels, the Ministry of Urban Development is taking on the role of ‘enabler’ in building the capacity of municipalities, urban districts and community organisations to plan and manage urban development.

To achieve this the Ministry will start by building the capacity of its own technical and professional staff by:
  • establishing a strong Capacity Building Centre within the Ministry; and
  • negotiating a partnership with the University of Kabul and/or other tertiary level education/training institutions.
In building the capacity of its own human resources and those of municipalities the Ministry must ensure that:
  • there are clear and transparent incentives and career opportunities are gained from further training/education;
  • all training/education is practical and practice-based and, as far as possible on-the-job;
  • maximum benefit is gained from peer exchanges, study tours, etc.
Following the establishment of the Capacity Building Centre, a personnel database will be established in the Ministry and a forward-looking assessment of staff capacity conducted. This will reveal the needs for:
  • the appointment of new staff (or hiring of consultants);
  • skill training and retraining of existing staff; and
  • higher education and development of professional capacity.

Arrangements will be made for a partnership with the University of Kabul to provide the institutional base for the development of a programme of progressive, part-time short-courses (modules) that respond directly to the Ministry’s and municipalities’ needs for professional and technical capacity building and that, over time, build up credits towards the award of a recognised diploma or degree.

Such an arrangement will:
  • allow short-course modules to be offered in any sequence in order to respond to the Ministry’s and municipalities’ priorities;
  • avoid staff leaving their posts for long periods of education and professional training;
  • provide an incentive to attract and keep good technical staff in the ministry and municipality.

In parallel, the Capacity Building Centre will arrange for and contract trainers to provide specialist technical and managerial short courses and/or sustained training programmes that cannot appropriately be provided through the arrangement with the University or other educational/training establishment.

The views expressed in 'Recent News & Reflections' are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any of the governments, organisations or agencies with whom they have been working.