What good did we do?

The National Post obtains an audit of Canadian foreign aid in Afghanistan that does not entirely flatter this country’s efforts.

One of the reviews obtained by the National Post under access-to-information legislation notes that a key goal of Canada’s development program was to bolster the capacity of Afghans to improve their own lot and carry on rebuilding long after foreign nations had left. If the aim is to have “Afghan girls and boys actually learning in functional schools,” for instance, there needs to be local school committees to monitor results, not just a drive to erect buildings, it said.

But the Kandahar action plan that guided Canada’s priority projects for the restive, crumbling province did little to ensure locals could and would take part, said the document. “The impression is of a major planning effort, meticulously documented, but divorced from reality,” said the consultants. “Artificially maintaining forward progress on a few indicators so that there is something positive to report (eg more training, more equipment, more schools built) is much like pushing a rope, and may be actually counterproductive if it ignores deeper institutional problems.”