Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Services Program(IRP) written in English, Dari and Pashto
Keshim-Faizabad Road, looking upstream on Kotcha River Schoolgirls at well pumping clean water Afghan workers building part of a bridge Asphalt being laid on an Afghan road A section of North West Kabul Power Plant Aerial view of the Kajakai Dam

Workers Upgrade Skills and Jobs
Two Afghan trainees kneel down to stall equipment at the Tarakhil power plant.
Trainees at the Tarakhil power plant install a fabricated platform that provides access to the turbines and other machinery. The plant generates enough electricity for 1.5 million citizens.
Built by USAID’s Afghanistan Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program, the new, state-of-the-art 105 MW Tarakhil Power Plant has trained workers at every skill level.

When construction of the plant began on an arid field once used as an artillery range and garbage dump on the outskirts of Kabul, many of the men who were hired were unskilled. Neither engineers nor administrators, they were sweepers and painters and trash collectors.

Yet many of these workers performed at high levels. Were they interested in improving their skills?

According to managers, the workers volunteered ‘to give up their pay’ if they could get training.

“They said we will train you,” a former painter said. “I had no chance before to learn, no opportunity. Now, I can weld.”

A result of their effort is a unique, grated platform that provides ventilation and access to the huge diesel turbines. Hundreds of flat steel rods were measured and cut, holes drilled at regular intervals and pieces fitted together in a grid. If pieces did not fit, they were re-done.

“To my knowledge,” said the foreman, who was also the workers’ instructor, “there is no other grating in the world designed and built for a plant like this.”

The managers were not the only ones to be impressed.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, speaking at the ceremony to hand over the plant to the IGoA, pointed to workers in brightly colored jump suits and hardhats. Many were the newly skilled, higher paid workers who built the walkway to the powerful machines that provide 600,000 Afghans with access to electricity.

“These fine young men in orange are the future of Afghanistan and the reason for hope and confidence,” the Ambassador said.

The success of the plant exemplifies USAID’s faith in the ability of Afghans to rebuild their country and provide services and jobs for the future of the Afghan people.

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