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Applying Innovative Monitoring Solutions in Afghanistan

We have created a monitoring and verification project that has become a model for best practices

MSI is the World Bank’s monitoring and verification agent, lending our technical eyes and oversight ears to inaccessible and hard-to-reach projects. 

In 2002, the World Bank and international donors established the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to coordinate and finance the Government’s reconstruction needs. After three decades of war, much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed, schools and health care clinics were falling apart and lacked equipment, roads were impassable and vital canals were unusable. Instability continues today.

The Fund is the World Bank’s single-largest country trust fund with contributions from the U.S. and 33 other countries and Afghanistan’s largest source of foreign aid. The Fund has been used to refurbish 8,500 classrooms, contributing to an 80% increase in girls’ enrollment.  It has rehabilitated 15,000 kilometers of rural roads and 2,900 kilometers of canals.

Our disciplined team, innovative monitoring tools, strong IT solutions and citizen involvement have combined to produce a successful approach for the burgeoning practice of third-party monitoring. Afghan ministries use our analyses to rectify construction problems and address social, environmental and gender issues.

Despite challenging transportation conditions and a tenuous security environment, we have completed more than 5,400 construction site visits across all 34 provinces in the past four years. Our teams collect data using Fulcrum, a mobile and web-based software application that runs on smartphones and tablets. Data feeds the Ardea portal in real-time, a customizable, web-based data management portal which we designed. It tracks construction progress and notes problems that need correction. 

In a country well known for gender imbalances and inequality, our work also empowers women. While women are 60% less likely to participate in the labor force, MSI has pioneered gender integration by hiring and training women engineers and enumerators and consulting women in communities. As a result, they were able to obtain extremely valuable information about female inclusion in decision-making processes and perceptions of the value and impact of World Bank projects.

We have a proven track record of pioneering flexible and adaptive approaches to gathering program data in non-permissive environments, including in Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen. We tailor each approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning to our client’s information and development needs.