dAi success stories

AfghAn VillAges Bolstered By Microhydro Power PlAnt
Empowering communities to improve living conditions and create jobs
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Livelihoods do not come easily for those living in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. The few roads are rough and hard to travel, and homes and shops in many villages go dark after sundown for lack of electricity. Families in eastern Afghanistan have also been forced to live with war. Those in provinces such as Nangarhar, which shares a border with Pakistan and its tribal areas, live each day under the threat of violence. Prospects are improving, however, for people in the village of Dodarek in Nangarhar’s Dare Noor district. A mountain stream runs through the village, and though it is only a few feet wide, its water is powerful. Now, thanks to a DAI-led project, some of the water from the stream flows through a turbine that creates electricity for homes and shops. “This project is a blessing to the people of this village,” said Mir Alam Khan, the head of Dodarak’s tribal shura, or village council. “The economy of the community has improved, and I am sure more significant, positive changes will occur.”

Energy harnessed from the stream provides electricity for 150 households in Dodarak, Dodailak, and Gorkhal villages, over an area of 2.5 square kilometers. Families use their new electricity for lighting and for electrical appliances such as refrigerators. The plant also powers six shops that sell food, cold drinks, and other staples. ADP/E’s micro-hydro programs are designed to support broader community and economic growth; in fact, the supplementary benefits are central to the model and provide added value with minimal added cost. As the Dodarak micro-hydro power plant came together, for example, local residents organized the labor efforts and took a personal stake in the project. They learned the skills needed to maintain the plant while earning money to fuel the local economy. All the while, ADP/E engineers and managers engaged shura members to respond to the community’s interests and needs.

. Photos courtesy of ADP/E.

On April 6, 2009, members of Dare Noor District Development Assembly, elders of Dodarak village, and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Alternative Development Program—Eastern Region (ADP/E), gathered to open a 60-kilowatt micro-hydro power plant driven by the stream.

A portion of the water from the stream is diverted through the turbine.000 for local labor— to engineer and build. then manufactured in Lahore. the CDC can allocate funds for other development projects in the village.09 . the plant was designed by Afghan engineers working for USAID’s ADP/E. Each family pays three Afghanis. and the Community Development Council (CDC) of Dodarak village has implemented a transparent system for managing electricity accounts. medium-scale textile factory. “The micro-hydro plant in Dodarak is designed and built in compliance with international standards for micro-hydro power. an engineer and micro-hydro expert in Jalalabad. or the environment. creating more than 100 jobs. flour mill. Shops for sewing and selling ice cream will also open.The plant is designed to expand: it has the capacity to power 600 more households and provide electricity for private sector growth. harnessing the power of the same water many times over. and each business five Afghanis. aquatic life. Additional micro-hydro plants can be placed up or downstream. A strawberry jam factory.” Electricity is not free. Indeed. which is used to pay the power plant technicians and maintain the plant. for one kilowatt hour of electricity. the strategic planning that supported the project has spawned additional business planning and goal setting within Dodarak and nearby communities. The Dodarak project was conceived by Afghan experts. and after technical feasibility and economic viability surveys.” said Ziauddin Zaib. such “run-of-the-river” plants have no adverse impacts on water resources. About 160 micro-hydro plants have been installed in Afghanistan in recent years. DAI Advancing Human Prosperity 05.000—including $17. If designed appropriately. however. “I expect the life of the plant to be 40 years. Pakistan. and sometimes small water storage areas are needed to ensure consistent flow and power production. The CDC collects the money. The Dodarak micro-hydro plant cost roughly US$107. If revenue exceeds regular expenses. and carpentry facility—each powered by electricity from the stream—will soon open in Dodarak.

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