Iceland Supports Energy Project in Afghanistan Skip to content

Iceland Supports Energy Project in Afghanistan

The Icelandic Crisis Response Unit, which is based in Afghanistan, is supporting development work in the rural Ghor region through the construction of hydropower plants. Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs finances the entire project.

“Power plants are built in clusters. We work with villages that are located relatively close to each other,” expert in development work Ragnheidur Kolsöe, who is overseeing the project, told Morgunbladid.

Kolsöe said four plants were built in the region last year, eight will be constructed this year and eight more in 2009. Because of the project, many inhabitants in Ghor now have access to electricity for the first time.

“It means that the inhabitants of the Ghor region have light and don’t have to use lanterns in the evenings anymore. That reduces pollution [in an area where] respiratory diseases are very common,” Kolsöe said.

“It makes the day longer so children can do their homework. It can also help people get more work done and thus increase production. It is absolutely clear that [electricity] improves the living conditions of people and their quality of life to a considerable extent,” Kolsöe concluded.

The hydropower project in Ghor is the most extensive project undertaken by the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit in Afghanistan.

Last year the unit made a three-year agreement with the non-governmental organization (NGO) International Assistance Mission (IAM) on the construction of the power plants. Local inhabitants are responsible for constructing the plants under the guidance of professionals.

Ghor has ten counties and the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit and IAM try to focus equally on each county. The region is located in central Afghanistan and the local transport system is of poor condition.

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