Working Paper
The National Solidarity Programme

Assessing the Effects of Community-Driven Development in Afghanistan

This paper describes the results of an impact evaluation of the National Solidarity Programme, a community-driven development programme in Afghanistan that created democratic village councils and funded small-scale development projects. Using a randomized controlled trial across 500 villages, we find that the programme had a positive effect on access to drinking water and electricity, acceptance of democratic processes, perceptions of economic wellbeing, and participation of and attitudes towards women. Effects on perceptions of local and national government performance and material economic outcomes were, however, more limited or short-lived. We also find that the programme negatively impacted the quality of local governance as perceived by male villagers.