REFS Overview: The Louis Berger Group served as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s implementing partner for the Afghanistan Rehabilitation of Economic Facilities and Services Program implemented from September 2002 to June 2007. For USAID, LBG managed the planning, design, contracting and construction of more than 1,500 kilometers of primary, secondary, and urban roads; upgrades to the Kajakai Dam hydropower plant; a major schools and clinics program; and the upgrade and repair of five major dam and irrigation systems—all throughout Afghanistan.
Schools & Clinics Program under REFS: LBG designed and constructed schools and clinics throughout Afghanistan including sites in Badakshan, Kunduz, Faryab, Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni and Paktya provinces. Under LBG’s supervision local Afghan construction subcontractors built 93 schools and clinics, all meeting international code standards to include the Uniform Building Code seismic-IV standard--the highest level of seismic resistivity. More than two-thirds of Afghanistan’s land is situated over “moderate” to “very high” seismic threat zones. LBG designed the schools and clinics for the highest level of code protection in the event of major earthquakes to protect occupants during use, serve as a primary meeting place, and serve the local communities afterward if needed during recovery operations.
The Schools & Clinics Program was not only a major construction program but also an important Afghan capacity building initiative. LBG’s field and program management staff was compossed of primarily local Afghan employees. Second, the program purchased virtually all materials used in construction from local Afghan businesses. Finally, all construction was exclusively subcontracted to local Afghan companies and in many cases LBG provided training in project scheduling, construction techniques and financial management. Today, a number of these firms originally involved in the Schools & Clinics Program are successfully working directly for the U.S. Government, the United Nations, European Community and other implementing agencies.
In total, the Schools & Clinics Program provided almost 350,000 square feet of finished space in schools that now offer approximately 364 classrooms for 8,000 students and 200 teachers and staff; and clinics providing approximately one million patient visits per year with access to 800 doctors and staff. Also noteworthy, the program was successfully implemented over some of Afghanistan’s most difficult terrain geographically, and most dangerous from a security perspective.