Despite efforts from the international community to rebuild Afghanistan into a democratic, modern, prosperous society, the country remains troubled. The provision of basic services and infrastructure has been eroded; its economy has all but collapsed; poverty rates have remained constant and and many people in rural areas are trapped in a falling rural economy.
This briefing paper draws from three years of research into how people make a living in rural Afghanistan and the role that government, aid agencies, markets and the private sector have played.
Key findings include
There are considerable gaps between policy models and programme theories of change as to how things should work in sub-national governance, markets and village life and how they actually work
Political settlements at all levels have a profound influence on access to public goods and economic opportunities, and need to be better considered in programme design and implementation
Access to public goods has improved, but is uneven: village elites and networks of access determine who gets what.