Afghanistan Engineering Support Program (AESP)


AESP provided architectural and engineering services for USAID in various sectors, including water and sanitation, and energy. This seven-year program, valued at $97 million, ran from November 2009 to November 2016. The program initiated over 250 work orders. AESP’s depth of programing is evident in the variety of activities, which ranged from developing and implementing USAID’s program to create backbone to Afghanistan’s electric power system, providing a model internship program for Afghan women, providing quick response surveys for disaster relief, to safeguarding the structural capacity of Afghanistan’s schools and hospitals.

Activity Description

  • Planning: AESP provided quality engineering, technical assistance, and guidance for the planning of requested activities. Planning work included providing bid assistance, preparing training programs, conducting feasibility studies, and ensuring the consideration of environmental and sustainability issues.
  • Design: AESP managed the preparation of detailed engineering studies, assessments, designs, plans, specifications, and cost estimates, verifying compliance with national and international standards to reflect USAID best practices. AESP evaluated designs developed by other parties at all stages of design and also provided both concept and full designs to USAID.
  • Technical support and oversight: AESP provided engineering and project management support to USAID through a wide range of projects by offering technical, contractual, and administrative support when requested. In the later stages of the program, AESP adapted to focus on quality assurance (QA) and construction management services (CMS) for large USAID-funded infrastructure projects throughout Afghanistan.
  • Collaboration and coordination with stakeholders: AESP collaborated with the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) Ministries and surrogates, donor organizations, U.S. government entities, implementing partners, and private companies. Collaboration was essential to completing activities effectively, bolstering goodwill with other stakeholders, and ensuring GoA’s continued involvement in Afghanistan’s infrastructure projects.
  • Capacity building: USAID has a commitment to assist in the capacity development of Afghan organizations and individuals through their participation in USAID awards. To that end, AESP trained, and worked alongside, AESP local staff, Afghan government stakeholders, and local subcontractors to improve the country’s professional and technical skills. Additionally, AESP worked to incorporate capacity building into various program activities and implemented specific capacity building work orders in order to build Afghanistan’s newest generation of professionals.

Actual Outcomes

  • Woman Engineering Internship Program: Successfully provided real life engineering work experience to four female engineering students.
  • Enhanced management and leadership skills of Afghan staff, which resulted in promotion of a local national engineer to Deputy Chief of Party in 2012.
  • Gender Equality: AESP’s gender efforts resulted in the hiring of an Afghan female architect for permanent employment in the program.
  • Completed eight road projects and three airport reconstruction quality assurance projects.
  • Completed 28 transmission and generation planning and design projects and assisted the vertical structures sector in electrical design reviews.
  • Completed 22 vertical structure master planning, design, design review, and quality assurance projects.
  • Created operations and maintenance (O&M) cost estimates for 21 USAID-funded construction or rehabilitation facilities, which will allow the Afghan Government to more effectively create annual O&M budgets.
  • Completed site visits to four hydro-electric dam sites. Prepared and reviewed cost estimates for two dams, and reviewed the river hydraulics related to a bridge failure.
  • Completed design of on-site wastewater treatment plants and water systems for two high school