From March 2009 to September 2013, the Central Asian Development Group (CADG) implemented hundreds of labor-intensive infrastructure projects in some of the most insecure areas of Afghanistan under a cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Community Development Program (CDP), which changed names over the years, represented one of USAID’s longest-running stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. With a ceiling of approximately $266 million, it was also one of the greatest investments. Its closure in September 2013 marks an opportunity to document CDP successes and challenges and to reflect on lessons learned that can be applied in future stabilization programs, both in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This report describes the findings from the final performance evaluation of CDP’s fourth and fifth program phases, in which CADG implemented 73 projects in seven provinces of eastern and southern Afghanistan from April 2012 through August 2013.
Originally called the Food Insecurity Response to Urban Populations, the program officially adopted stabilization objectives in September 2010 and shifted focus to primarily rural areas identified by USAID field staff in coordination with International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF). Despite changing program objectives, over its lifespan CDP implemented the same type of infrastructure projects, without relying on subcontractors. CDP employed many combat-age men to work on labor-intensive infrastructure projects, usually for 30 to 90 days. Unlike many USAID partners, CDP took a low-profile approach to security instead of hiring a security firm. By the fourth phase of CDP, efforts to create more linkage and visibility between communities and government were included.