Crossing Borders - the IMpact of the PATRIP Foundation approach
Cross-border projects do not only provide valuable infrastructure. The process of selecting, reviewing, designing, constructing and maintaining the projects in consultation with local governments builds trust between border communities, creates links between officials and constituencies, facilitates trade and the development of new business opportunities, and helps to develop and expand market opportunities and licit livelihoods. The following areas serve as examples of PATRIP's contribution to wider development processes in the cross-border areas:
Equitable development: Prior to PATRIP, and especially during Soviet times, riverbank stabilisation works were carried out only on the Tajik side of the border. Because these protective works affect the flow of water, the projects often diverted the river into Afghan territory, eroding valuable agricultural assets. One of the key benefits of PATRIP is that projects have been carried out simultaneously on both sides of the Pyanj River for the first time in history. The construction of the Tem Riverbank Stabilisation Project on the Tajik side and Demurghon Riverbank Stabilisation Project on the Afghan side was one the first example of cross-border river-land management.
Cross-border contracting: For several projects, local design and construction companies on both sides of the Afghan-Tajik border cooperated to provide machinery and expertise to the projects. This process is building the capacity of local contractors to work in the border areas in the future.
Capacity building of local infrastructure companies: Contractors from Afghan communities were used on several projects, providing them with opportunity to implement projects otherwise awarded to large, outside contractors.
Cross border government cooperation: In support of cross border cooperation, government officials and community representatives of Afghanistan and Tajikistan have been active participants in cross-border projects. Officials visited project sites, examined potential projects, signed off on the design, agreed on work plans and monitored project implementation together.
Multiplier effects: The Vanj Bridge and cross-border markets have created more
than 100 direct jobs, and are indirectly opening new opportunities for business and access to social services. Strengthening of riverbank secures against floods, and once all projects are complete more than 400 hectares of land will become available for agricultural, forestry, livestock keeping and horticultural development. In areas where riverbank strengthening was completed in 2012, farmers are already cultivating the protected and reclaimed land.
Linking the poor to growth: Cross-border programming recognises that some rural populations in border areas have limited or no access to economic and social services in their own countries. Cross-border programmes can therefore link communities to opportunities in neighbouring countries that they would not have within their own countries. Unlike Afghan- or Tajik-only development programmes, cross-border interventions bridge development gaps where single-country programmes cannot.