By Army Pvt. Tamara Gabbard
Special to American Forces Press Service
June 27, 2008 - The Kapisa and Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs leader visited a few local villages in the Kohe Safi district June 24 and met with Community Development Council representatives. The CDC, a body of elected villagers, is given special training to learn how to allocate funds and pick projects that are needed in each village.
The National Solidarity Program funds the projects through Afghanistan's Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development.
"The outreach that was involved in this mission was to get to meet some of the CDCs from nine of the targeted villages in the Kohe Safi district," said Army Capt. Steve H. Kaiser, civil affairs leader for the Kapisa and Parwan PRT. "With the information gathered, we will start a Quick Impact Project."
The QIP involves calculating how many families are in a village to determine the amount of the grant per project. This helps with reaching out to more villagers, which gives capability to build cultural enhancements, Kaiser explained.
"Being able to meet some of these CDCs for the first time, and get their names and pictures, was a real breakthrough," he said. "These villages are important, because we do not want them to become a safe haven for the enemy."
The ability to interact with villagers creates a sense of morale for villagers and builds trust. Working with the CDCs also lets PRT members establish personal relationships with the villagers, Kaiser said.
"We want [Afghans] to know that we are here to help, not be part of the problem," he said.
(Army Pvt. Tamara Gabbard serves with the 382nd Public Affairs Detachment.)