Engineering Support Program, Afghanistan
Tetra Tech provides technical assistance and quality oversight to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to ensure transportation, water, and energy infrastructure projects are successfully executed and resilient in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s dynamic political climate and history of conflict, violent extremism, and terrorism has created disproportionate socioeconomic conditions. The government has relatively low levels of accountability and extreme gender inequalities across the country’s education systems, economy, and society. Furthermore, the economic growth is stunted by bureaucratic policies, poor infrastructure, and new industries with minimal opportunities to grow.
To address these constraints, USAID has partnered with the Government of Afghanistan to combat corruption, improve critical infrastructure, and increase opportunities for growth. In 2016, the USAID Engineering Support Program (ESP) started to provide engineering quality assurance and technical assistance that ensures USAID’s $370 million investment in Afghanistan’s infrastructure is built safely and sustainably. Under USAID ESP, we play an oversight and mentorship role and provide architect-engineer, advisory, and quality assurance services.
ESP supports Afghanistan to improve management and capacity at all levels of the economy. Our team provides on-site construction and implementation monitoring in 12 provinces, including some of the most remote and dangerous locations in Afghanistan. In all activities, USAID prioritizes gender integration and training. Through the ESP internship program, we have provided 48 women engineering students and 10 entry-level engineers first-hand experience working on large-scale infrastructure projects.
Two pivotal projects under ESP include the Power Transmission Expansion and Connectivity project and the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) Engineering, Planning, and Capacity Building Support activity. Under the Power Transmission Expansion and Connectivity project, USAID is securing imported power from northern neighboring countries to provide electricity to millions of underserved Afghans. As part of this effort, we facilitated the rehabilitation and expansion of the Kajaki dam—a major source of electricity for southern Afghanistan—which had been dilapidated and crippled by four decades of delays. The improvements boosted electricity production from 15 to 50 megawatts and changed the lives of more than 800,000 residents.
Additionally, ESP is working alongside the ACAA on a variety of activities under the ACAA Engineering, Planning, and Capacity Building Support activity. We are contributing to master planning at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, national aviation network master planning, and airport operations transfer planning to prepare for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s eventual departure from the country. ESP is helping the ACAA improve compliance to international aviation standards in support of expanding export-based economic growth through air transport. We will support the ACAA as they modernize aspects of their operations through implementation of internationally recognized software systems and improve regulatory functions through the training of safety oversight inspectors.
Under ESP, USAID is achieving long-term development goals of expanding access to basic necessities, building local capacity, enabling private sector investment, promoting gender equality, and advancing Afghanistan along their journey to self-reliance. Through this partnership, USAID and Afghanistan can help alleviate constraints to critical infrastructure and enable sustainable socioeconomic growth.
Tetra Tech Receives ACEC Massachusetts 2018 Engineering Excellence Bronze Award for the USAID Kajaki Dam Hydropower Capacity Expansion Project in Afghanistan