Tetra Tech is providing monitoring and verification of the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which pools funds for the Government of Afghanistan’s (GoA) budget and national investment priorities.

ARTF was established in 2002 as a cost-effective and transparent method of pooling funds from 34 donors for the GoA’s budget and national investment priorities. Administered by the World Bank, the project provides a mechanism for accountability and fosters consensus and policy debate among key stakeholders, including Afghan government and other donor agencies. It supports projects across key sectors including education, infrastructure, health, agriculture, rural development, and governance.

In 2015 the World Bank awarded MSI, a Tetra Tech Company, a three-year contract to conduct 1,900 site visits annually distributed between five projects. Our team reports on select outputs, outcomes, and impacts at various lifecycle stages. The five projects we monitor focus on multiple sectors, including agriculture, education, environment, power, transport, and water. Tetra Tech verifies results for each ARTF project and records both good and bad practices in a geospatial database. This data set contains photos and data related to the infrastructure, environmental, and social safeguards and project management aspects of financed projects implemented under ARTF, and is intended to be used by both policymakers and development practitioners and result in increased understanding of projects’ functionality, effectiveness, and sustainability. Our team analyzes the findings, identifies deviations from good practices, and establishes probable causes and possible solutions for these deviations.

We are providing innovative project monitoring and verification services beyond field data collection as defined in the program term of reference to track GoA accountability. The ARTF monitoring program uses a commercially available mobile app to effectively collect and transmit data in the field using a library of developed surveys tailored to the specific infrastructure projects monitored. We record design, material, and workmanship problems observed in the field that do not meet contracted construction standards, and keep track of problems that were verifiably addressed by the individual ministries responsible for project implementation. With this data, we provide donors with a means to measure the project management performance of GoA ministries.

We also are implementing participatory monitoring, with qualified and vetted citizens helping validate local results in 17 different provinces across Afghanistan. They submit project activity feedback including verifiable project observations supported by geo-referenced and date-stamped photos. This near real-time reporting from project sites has a great value in assessing monitored project progress, as well as noticing deviations in early stages of project implementation.

Our team also issued low-cost sensors in the field to remotely monitor water flow through canals and distribution of water to the neighboring command areas. At the World Bank’s request, we are in the process of scaling up this monitoring innovation to 15 canal schemes in northern Afghanistan.

Halfway through the three-year program, Tetra Tech has completed more than 3,000 individual ARTF project site visits in rural and urban areas across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan.

As part of ARTF, we will begin using our prototype monitoring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which we are developing in collaboration with Virginia Tech. These monitoring UAVs are intended to be low-cost products with high capacity payloads capable of producing high-quality images of linear infrastructure such as roads, electric power lines, and canals. These systems will optimize monitoring costs by decreasing the time and expenses currently needed for engineers to create reports by traveling along the longer project alignments.

Tetra Tech’s effective use of multiple project monitoring resources, including experienced engineers, technology savvy citizens, terrestrial sensors, and satellite imagery, provides the World Bank and GoA with verified, actionable information. This information ultimately improves the outputs and outcomes of the monitored ARTF projects.

Learn about the ARTF project’s third party and participatory monitoring in the latest quarterly report.