Transforming Afghanistan? Seeking coherence between technical solutions and political processes: lessons from the field

Adam Pain, Ashley Jackson, Danielle Huot and Giulia Minoia

Type: Afghanistan, Briefing Paper

Country: Afghanistan

Date: 22/02/2017

Full summary


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.