The National Solidarity Programme
Assessing the Effects of Community-Driven Development in Afghanistan
Over the past two decades, community-based approaches to project delivery have become a popular means for governments and development agencies to improve the alignment of projects with the needs of rural communities and to increase the participation of villagers in project design and implementation. This article briefly summarizes the results of an impact evaluation of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP), a community-driven development programme in Afghanistan that created democratically-elected community development councils and funded small-scale development projects. Using a randomized controlled trial across 500 villages, the evaluation finds that NSP had a positive effect on access to drinking water and electricity, acceptance of democratic processes, perceptions of economic well-being and attitudes towards women. Effects on perceptions of local and national government performance and material economic outcomes were, however, more limited or short-lived.