Afghanistan entered its planned decade of transformation in 2015 following a UN-led decade of transition from prior governmental rule.

The aims of this transformation period are to make advances in development be Afghan-led and owned, where it is desired Afghans will be responsible for creating sustainable change from the outcomes of the UN-led transition.

This transformation inevitably faces momentous issues, and as past experience has shown a complete, instantaneous withdrawal of international aid will create further instability.

Afghanistan has shown progress in some areas, including minor gains in infrastructure, basic education, and health services.

The major stumbling blocks to a successful, sustainable move from UN-led to Afghan-led development are a lack of grassroots development programs, widespread public sector corruption, and a resultant lack of foreign investment to develop Afghanistan’s natural resources and drive employment growth.

Widespread public corruption, in practice and outside perception, is a major issue in turning away foreign investors, and misusing aid flows.

In Transparency International’s 2015 corruption perception index, an index constructed from surveys and expert assessments of a nation’s perceived levels of corruption, Afghanistan was ranked at 169 – ahead of only seven other countries.

A negative outcome of corruption is that foreign aid inflows to a nation’s government for distribution is that, due to a largely unregulated system, the results created may pale in comparison to the monetary figure invested.

Abdara girls school students at desks

The question then becomes; how can international aid be utilised to efficiently create sustainable development in Afghanistan?

While the current Afghan government has taken steps towards transparency, the goal of reconstructing Afghanistan relies heavily on the willingness of the international community to implement development programs.

Non-Governmental Organisations are able to target specific developmental areas in particular communities, and personally ensure that their finances are efficiently placed towards improving their communities.

Such is the goal of Mahboba’s Promise.

By keeping clear development goals, to service the women and children of Afghanistan through improving access to education, livelihood training, and improving health services, and minimising all costs external to program implementation, Mahboba’s Promise is able to effectively and reliably assist local Afghan communities in their development.

The governance of Mahboba’s Promise, completely open about where our funds go with the option for donors to dictate on which program their pledge is spent, is a model which needs to be adhered to in the implementation of foreign aid in Afghanistan.

While the public sector of Afghanistan attempts to address its problems with corruption, NGO’s have the ability to bridge the gap of development programs by adopting the Mahboba’s Promise model of international aid – complete transparency in all operations.

Through international aid operations akin to Mahboba’s Promise, not only will communities in Afghanistan see real and sustainable development, but the standards and expectations of aid ventures in Afghanistan are heightened – with pressure to meet these standards falling on relevant public sector offices.

To find out more about Mahboba’s Promise, visit our website at www.mahbobaspromise.org or call on 02 98871665.