National Institution Building Project (NIBP)

UNDP Afghanistan: To train disadvantaged teenagers in Afghanistan with basic ICT skills, NIBP designed a programme called ICT4Youth with the Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs (DMoYA).

Decades of conflict had a destructive impact on the Afghan civil service. Many skilled civil servants left the country during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the civil wars in the 1990s. At the time, 43 percent of government employees were women. Most of them lost their jobs during the Taliban regime.  By 2002, major government institutions lacked qualified staff and many of them had to be more or less rebuilt from scratch.

While there has been progress in rebuilding an efficient and effective civil service, insufficient capacity still exist at all levels. Some of the major challenges at the organizational level are a government structure with overlapping functions across government ministries; outdated work processes, procedures and systems; patronage and nepotism in appointments; gender imbalances; and the absence of well-defined mechanisms for carrying out policy and strategy formulation, project management, financial management, procurement and human resource management.


To bolster the Government of Afghanistan’s ability to effectively deliver public services to its citizens, UNDP launched the National Institution Building Project (NIBP) in 2010.  Through the project, key Afghan civil servants at the national and sub-national levels improved their skills with the assistance of regional and international experts. NIBP directly supports 15 ministries and Government institutions and the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, its main government partner.

From 2012, NIBP has placed a renewed emphasis on developing the capacity of civil servants at the sub-national level. Towards this end, national and international capacity development advisors have been placed in Bamyan, Balkh, Herat, Kabul and Kandahar.

NIBP has continued the expansion of this strategic support in areas which have had little or no previous development assistance, particularly in the functioning of the provincial-level civil services in crucial sectors, such as the economy, labour, the Civil Service Commission, and piloting elements of e-Governance.

One-Ministry Approach: NIBP has pioneered the “One Ministry Approach” which links the central ministry with the provinces through joint training sessions and other capacity building activities. This has led to better coordination and delivery of services both at the central and provincial levels. It has been piloted with the Ministry  of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).

South-South Cooperation: In 2012, NIBP facilitated or conducted over 150 training programmes and workshops, of which 40 were abroad, using South--South cooperation agreements in an effort to capitalize on regional and international expertise. Once an issue is identified for support through capacity assessment, exposure visits are organised as a mean to learn best practices and adapt them to the Afghan context.  Among them are visits by MAIL to the Philippines to study agriculture co-operatives, training in India for the Central Statistics Office and workshops on women participation in leadership and development in Turkey for the Gender Units of 15 ministries.

Gender: In an effort to address gender disparities in the civil service, NIBP is committed to utilizing gender mainstreaming approaches in training programs as well as conducting workshops to raise awareness on gender. NIBP also supported the professional development of women in leadership, management and technical skills.

Policy Development: The international development advisors placed at the ministerial level have extensive expeperience in national and institutional policy formulation. NIBP provides key support in areas from identification of issues and defining strategic interventions, to the strategic policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.

Key Results to Date


  • In 2012, over 3200 civil servants were supported through 152 national and international training programmes, workshops and exposure visits, of which approximately half were tailored for civil servants in the provinces. Nineteen percent of all Afghan civil servants trained or supported were women.


  • Forty international and regional training programmes and exposure visits took place to leading institutions in Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Turkey . They were carried out through South-South governmental collaboration agreements to support organizational capacity and aid policy development.
  • Eighteen national or institutional policies were developed with NIBP support. Three examples are the National Saffron Policy designed to promote saffron as a high value alternative to poppy; the National Policy on Child Labour; and the national policies on Literacy and Open Schooling.


At a Glance
Start Date:
January 2010
End Date:
December 2013
Implementing Partners:
The General Director of Programs’ Design and Management (GDPDM) is the lead department of Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) for undertaking institutional capacity development of public sector in Afghanistan
Other Key Partners:
Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation; Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs; Deputy Ministry of Information and Culture; Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled; Central Statistics Office; Ministry of Mines; Ministry of Public Health; Ministry of Communication and Information Technology; Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice
Total Budget:
USD $115,019,355.00
US$ 23,928,094
Implementation Modality:
Direct Implementation
Government Partner:
The Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC)
Azerbaijan, India, Italian Development Cooperation, Japan, Swiss Development Corporation
Open Data

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NIBP Project Summary

The Project Summary of National Institution Building Project (NIBP) covers in a two-page PDF document the issues, responses and achievements of this UNDP project in Afghanistan.

Project Brochure
  • The National Institution Building Project: A Snapshot English
Project Document