The Strengthening Watershed and Irrigation Management (SWIM) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to provide technical services and capacity building to support the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) strengthen its water resource management systems, increase agricultural water productivity, and support farm communities manage water and on-farm resources. Implemented through three integrated components, SWIM’s specific objectives are to:

  1. Increase the sustainable and productive use of water in agriculture by rehabilitating irrigation canals and restoring upland watersheds;
  2. Strengthen the water regulatory framework by increasing collaboration and cooperation between provincial and national governing bodies for irrigation and water management, while initiating training programs and increasing public outreach and impact; and
  3. Strengthen the capacity of local entities to manage water resources by developing their administrative bodies and technical capacity to sustainably manage water resources and improve natural resource management.

Selected Outcomes

  • Established 14 Demonstration Plots, used to showcase improved irrigation techniques. These plots are considered essential for improving local resource management, as they provide hands-on training in advanced On-Farm Water Management practices.
  • Trained over 500 farmers from Baghlan, Balkh, Jawzjan and Samangan provinces in On-farm Water Management. This training is part of a larger capacity building effort to strengthen the capacity of local entities to effectively manage water resources.
  • Strengthened 50 Irrigation Associations/Forestry Associations/Water User Associations. Lead farmers from the associations participated in the On-farm Water Management training, who then introduced the new techniques within their associations. SWIM further created 13 new associations to manage water resources in districts without adequate management structures.
  • Conducted technical baseline assessments of 21 canals in Balkh, Jawzjan, Samangan, and Baghlan provinces focusing on water availability, field inventories and socio-agricultural assessments, along with agricultural and socio-economic conditions in the lower Balkhab and Kunduz river basin areas. The field inventories and socio-agricultural assessments were designed to determine the existing water management practices, crop varieties, and environmental and social conditions in the target area.
  • Trained 15 Ministry Officials—from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) to the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), alongside regional extension agents—on Drip Irrigation and training techniques during the Training of Trainers (ToT) activity. These ministry officials, in turn, successfully trained local community members and lead farmers.

Project Highlight: SWIM Trains Afghan Government Partners, Bolsters M&E Framework

On March 25-26, 2018, the SWIM program delivered Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) training to 27 civil servants representing its three Afghan partners – Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) and National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA).

The training covered M&E basics in the context of agriculture, water management and environmental protection programs. The training is part of a larger effort to respond to the capacity building needs of SWIM government partners. Additional trainings will be delivered throughout SWIM’s second year, including trainings on Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) data collection and model building.

SWIM was busy in March on other M&E-related efforts, as well. Partnering with Souktel, SWIM developed a mobile application, named SARANA (Pashto for Monitoring), to augment its own M&E system and to be integrated into the respective systems of SWIM government partners. And recently, USAID approved the SWIM Program Year 2 (Y2) Activity Monitoring-Evaluation and Learning Plan (AMELP), which establishes an M&E framework for the year and remainder of the program.

With an updated M&E foundation in place, SWIM is positioned to track and meet its Y2 targets of 12,000 hectares served by rehabilitated canals, 11,116 farmers and community members trained, and 80 water user, forest, and irrigation associations strengthened. (And that’s just a sample of SWIM’s annual targets.)

The M&E app “SARANA” is available on iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play).

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