NSP Definitions
NSP Definitions Posted Date: 08/06/2013

 Here are definitions of a few of the words and phrases commonly used in NSP operations.

  1. Afghan Calendar Year
  2. Block Grant
  3. Block Grant Disbursed
  4. Block Grant Utilization
  5. CDC Ready for Handover
  6. Community
  7. Community Categories
  8. Community Code
  9. Community Development Council (CDC)
  10. CDC By-Laws
  11. Community Development Plan (CDP)
  12. Community Implementation Phases
  13. Facilitating Partner(s)
  14. Family
  15. Installment
  16. Jirga/Shura
  17. NSP I
  18. NSP II
  19. NSP III
  20. Public Notice Board
  21. Sign Board
  22. Sub-project Code
  23. Sub-project Closed
  24. Sub-project Changed
  25. Sub-project Completed
  26. Sub-project Failed
  27. Sub-project Ongoing
  28. Sub-project Proposal Approved
  29. Sub-project Proposal Returned
  30. Sub-project Proposal Rejected
  31. Sub-project Proposal Submitted
  32. Village

 

 

Afghan Calendar Year: This is based on the solar calendar. Year 1390 corresponds to the period 21st March 2011 to 20th March 2012; year 1391 corresponds to 21st March 2012 to 20th March 2013, and so on. NSP III runs from October 2010 to September 2015, roughly corresponding to the period from mid-1389 to mid-1394.

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Block Grant: The grant provided by NSP to eligible communities, used to fund approved sub-projects. It is calculated based on AFN 10,000 (approximately US$ 200) per family, subject to a maximum of AFN 3,000,000 (approximately US$ 60,000) per community. The block grant ceiling per community will apply irrespective of the size of the community and will not be accepted as a reason for splitting a community into two or more communities to avail of more block grants.

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Block Grant Disbursed: Part or whole of the block grant of a given community is said to be “disbursed” when the NSP HQ Finance Department places the first disbursement order for the same to the DAB HQ in Kabul. There will usually be a gap of time ranging from a few days to up to 2 weeks between the disbursement date and when the money is physically available in the CDC bank account in the province. (Note: The latter date is not used for defining block grant disbursement dates although they are monitored by the NSP. Also, a community and its approved sub-projects are said to be “financed” when the first tranche from that community’s block grant entitlement has been disbursed.

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Block Grant Utilization: A community is considered as having fully utilized its block grant when its total block grant entitlement minus the sum of expenditures in all its approved final Sub-project Physical-cum-Financial Reports is equal to or less than AFN 50,000, and this is verified in an approved Community Financial History Form (CFHF).

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CDC Ready for Handover: The CDC of a community is considered ready for handover when it has completed all NSP Programme Phases satisfactorily and has completely utilized the community’s block grant entitlement, or a community has been closed for other reasons stated in this Manual, and the IMI Form has been completed.

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Community: A community (in NSP) must have at least 25 families to be eligible for a block grant. NSP does not allow establishment of CDCs in rural settlements/ villages with less than 25 families. No exaggeration in numbers to reach the minimum number is allowed either. Small villages with less than 25 families are encouraged to join with neighbouring villages to benefit of the NSP. Given that the block grant ceiling per community is AFN 3 million even when the communities have more than 300 families, large communities (with over 300 families) have a tendency to try to split into smaller communities to avail of more block grants. Consistent with the principle of solidarity, communities are only allowed to divide if at least one of the following criteria is met and a waiver is approved by the NSP: the community sub-group has a separate council/shura existing for several years; and/or the community sub-group was listed as a separate entity in the nomination of representative(s) for the Loya Jirga. FPs are responsible to ensure that no division of a village into 2 or more communities for NSP should be allowed for whatever reason except where the exceptions mentioned above apply.

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Community Categories: As a quick means of assessing work progress in contracted communities, NSP classified them into the following categories for both the initial and repeater block grant phases:
• A: Communities that have fully utilized their block grant entitlement. The assumption is that work in these communities (with the possible exception of the community handover but with the approval of the CFHF) has been completed.
• B: Communities that have received their full block grant entitlement. The assumption is that over 70% of the work in these communities has been completed.
• C: Communities that have received only part of their block grant entitlement. The assumption is that over 70% of the work in these communities has been completed.
• D: Communities that have not received any part of their block grant entitlement. The assumption is that less than 50% of the work in these communities has been completed.

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Community Code: A 3-part numerical code assigned to each NSP community by the Facilitating Partner indicating the province, district, and community. While the province and district codes are provided by the NSP, the community code is added by the FP is sequential order of community mobilization.

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Community Development Council (CDC): A group of community members (including both men and women; See the Annex H for exceptions) elected by the community to serve as its decision-making body. The CDC is the social and development foundation at community level, responsible for implementation and supervision of development projects and liaison between the communities and government and non-government organizations. The CDC is to be governed by the CDC by-laws.

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CDC By-Laws: This by-law is ratified as per MRRD Rules & Regulations Article 14 and forms the legal basis of the CDC. It was passed by the President of Afghanistan as a decree in November 2006 (Afghan calendar date 13/8/1385) and comprises 7 chapters and 33 articles that cover issues such as CDC formation, eligibility for membership and election, responsibility of CDC members, etc. The CDC by-laws is an integral part of this Manual.

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Community Development Plan (CDP): A plan that identifies community development priorities and associated sub-projects. It is prepared by the Community Development Council in consultation with both male and female members of the community. The CDP should include all development priorities of the community, i.e. those that may be financed by the NSP block grant entitlement of the community, those that the community members can undertake themselves, and those that may need to be financed by third parties. Because the CDP intends to cover community priorities beyond what might or will be funded by the NSP block grant, a CDP can include priorities that are not eligible under NSP and inclusion of ineligible (as per NSP regulations) priorities does not mean that a CDP should be rejected. The preparation for the CDP should also facilitate linkages with neighbouring communities.

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Community Implementation Phases: These phases differ from the NSP Phases, and primarily refer to the different stages of work within the community. These include 1) community mobilization, 2) CDC elections, 3) preparation of a Community Development Plan, 4) submission of a sub-project proposal, and 5) sub-project implementation and monitoring.

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Facilitating Partner(s): These are institutions (mostly NGOs) contracted by the MRRD to facilitate the entire NSP processes in the community. Unlike other development programmes, these partners are not referred to as ‘Implementing Partners’ (or IMs) as NSP tries to enable the community members to be the implementers themselves. The FPs are tasked instead to facilitate the processes by training and supporting the community members in the various NSP activities. NSP FPs are thus not considered contractors or sub-contractors in the typical sense.

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Family: consisting of a husband, wife (or wives), and unmarried children; or a single head-of-household (male or female) and his/her unmarried children. The number of families in each targeted community is counted to determine the block grant amount. A family can be counted as part of a NSP community if (a) it has been resident in that community continuously for the preceding minimum 12 months from the time of the NSP census, (b) is recorded in any of the village records (such as records of payments to the local mosque), and (c) has not been counted as part of a NSP community elsewhere in the country. Families of returnees or new settlers to a community that is formed of IDPs or refugees that are expected to remain in the given community in the foreseeable future are also to be included in the family-count of a given community, regardless whether or not they have been residing in the community for more or less than 12 months prior to the census.

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Installment: Each disbursement (transfer of funds) to a community. In the earlier disbursement policy, the total value of each sub-project was disbursed in 2 or 3 instalments. In the current disbursement policy, the instalments are made on the basis of the total block grant entitlement of the community and not on the cost-value of the individual subprojects.

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Jirga/Shura: This refers to a traditional Afghan village council comprised of elders. Under NSP, communities are free to elect community members of their choosing to their Community Development Council (CDC), which may or may not include members of existing jirgas or shuras.

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NSP I: This is the first phase of the NSP and covers the period from the start of the Programme, i.e. 09th May 2003 (which is the effective date for the first NSP FP contracted) to 31st March 2007. During NSP I, the Programme covered around 17,300 communities. It should be noted here that the work around 10,000 of these communities was not completed during this time and was then extended into NSP II.

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NSP II: This is the second phase of the NSP which started on 01st April 2007 and ended on 30th September 2011. In addition to the work carried forward from NSP I, NSP II involved the rollout to an additional 6,000 communities bringing the total rollout to around 23,200.

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NSP III: This is the third phase of the NSP and is currently approved for the period from October 2010 to September 2015. It has two key sub-phases: A) the rollout to cover the remaining estimated 16,000 communities nationwide with a first block grant, bringing the total number of communities to around 39,200; and B) the rollout to a select 12,000 communities that have satisfactorily utilized their first block grant with a second (or “repeater”) block grant.

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Public Notice Board: A report on sub-project status, proposed budget, and actual expenditures, posted by the CDC in a public place(s) accessible to both men and women to promote transparency. It may be on A4-sized paper. This is a crucial instrument in terms of social audit, promoted by NSP and its donors as an important part of all community-led development initiatives.

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Sign Board: A sign announcing the community’s participation in NSP, often installed at the entrance to the village or near the sub-project. It should be constructed in accordance with MRRD’s design specifications and as shown in the Annex of this Operational Manual. The financing for this may be included as part of the sub-project block grant funds. The FP concerned may opt to finance these signboards on behalf of the community but are not obliged to do so. Signboards are required in all NSP communities except when it is deemed by the community, CDC or FP that they might give rise to a security concern.

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Sub-project Code: A sequential alpha-numeric code assigned to each sub-project and appended to the community code. The subprojects financed under the first block grant entitlement are designated by the number 1 (i.e. 1a for the first sub-project, 1b for the second sub-project, etc.); those financed under the second block grant entitlement by the number 2, etc. Those sub-projects that have received exceptional additional block grants for repairs caused by natural disasters are referenced by the number 3. Those sub-projects that have received exceptional additional block grants under the Food Price Crises Response Trust Fund (FPCRTF) for irrigation or related sub-projects are referenced by the number 4.

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Sub-project Closed: A community sub-project is considered ‘closed’ when the final Physical cum Financial Progress Report of the given sub-project has been finalized and approved by the NSP PMU. A closed sub-project may have a status of “completed”, “changed” or “failed”.

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Sub-project Changed: A community sub-project is considered ‘changed’ when a sub-project proposal has been approved (with or without block grant funds disbursed from the NSP block grants unit to the community’s NSP bank account) but the community decides to change the sub-project before any block grant funds have been utilized even if the community has begun the sub-project implementation from other resources. A sub-project final status report is still required for changed sub-projects. A changed sub-project has no actual outputs.

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Sub-project Completed: A community sub-project is considered ‘completed’ when the sub-project has been finalized according to the approved sub-project proposal. NSP issues a completion certificate to the community after the approval of final Physical cum Financial Progress Report. A completed sub-project has actual outputs that are roughly the same as the planned outputs. (Note: Sub-projects completed according to other agreements between the community and the NSP may be considered “completed sub-projects” provided the differences in the sub-project from the approved sub-project proposal have been agreed to by the NSP PMU before the changes were introduced into the sub-project implementation. Unless there is written approval from the PMU prior to the changes being introduced in the sub-project implementation, the completed sub-project will be analyzed against the terms of the approved sub-project proposal, and may be termed ‘failed’).

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Sub-project Failed: A community sub-project is considered ‘failed’ when a sub-project proposal has been approved and block grant funds disbursed but the community decides to discard the sub-project (or does not have sufficient funds to complete the sub-project) after some or all of the block grant funds disbursed have been utilized. A Physical cum Financial report is still required for failed sub-projects. A general guideline is that a failed sub-project has actual primary outputs that are significantly lower than planned. (Note: If under exceptional circumstances and for particular types of sub-projects, if only a percentage of the approved sub-project costs were expended and a corresponding percentage of primary output was achieved, then the sub-project may be considered as completed, rather than failed. For example, a sub-project for 10 hand pumps was approved for a sum of AFN 40,000 but if the community decides to make only 5 hand pumps utilizing AFN 20,000 and use the remaining money for another sub-project, with consultation and prior approval from the NSP, the hand pump sub-project can be considered completed, rather than failed. However, it should be emphasized that these are exceptional cases and would be closely reviewed.)

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Sub-project Ongoing: A community sub-project is considered as “ongoing” for reporting purposes when at least partial block grant funds for the same have been disbursed by the NSP HQ Finance Department, and the sub-project status is not recorded as ‘Changed’, ‘Failed’ or ‘Completed’ in the NSP database. (Note: The average time taken from date of disbursement order being issued to the DaB HQ to funds being available at the CDC bank accounts in the provincial DaB branches is currently 1 week. NSP acknowledges that the actual start of the sub-project implementation is most likely only after receipt of the funds at the CDC bank accounts. However, once the disbursement order is issued to the DaB HQ, NSP lists the sub-project as ongoing until a final physical cum financial report for the same is also received and approved). This definition is based on the assumption that the community does undertake sub-project implementation as soon as funds are disbursed and money is received by the CDC in its bank account or through the hawalla system. If there is substantial delay between when the funds are received and the sub-project implementation begins, the FP concerned should monitor the situation and report to the NSP on the reasons for this delay. Delays may be acceptable only in the events of unfavourable climatic conditions and/or insecurity. Delaying project implementation for reasons such as harvest, etc. is not acceptable.)

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Sub-project Proposal Approved: Most community sub-project proposals are considered ‘approved’ when the NSP PMU has completed the review of feasibility, scope of work, technical design and maps where applicable, bill of quantities (BoQ), cost estimate & budget, schedule completion period, resources mobilisation, work plan, Procurement Plan in CDC Form7, etc. included in the proposal, has found the package satisfactory, approved the same, and informed the FP accordingly. The usual timeline allocated for a sub-project proposal approval at the PMU is two working weeks from the date of submission, with the submission date as defined below. (Note: Those sub-project proposals that require the review of other line ministries at the central level, may be considered “approved” only after the written approval of the line ministry is received. Thus the time required for the review and approval of such sub-project proposals will generally take longer than 2 weeks and NSP will not be held accountable for any such delays. (Note: The NSP cannot specify the time taken by other line ministries for such review/approval/rejection but is working closely with them to ensure speedy processes and to ensure the relevant PMU receives information of the decision of the line ministries promptly).

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Sub-project Proposal Returned: When the FP or community first submits a sub-project proposal for review to the PMU, the PMU will examine whether the documents are complete and all required blanks are filled satisfactorily. If otherwise, the proposal will be returned and not recorded as submitted. Such proposals are simply referred to as “returned proposals”. Also, after acceptance for review, the proposals may be “returned” for additional information or corrections in the technical design. Again, this does not constitute proposal “rejection”. (Note: The PMU is expected to “return” proposals for non-technical corrections/ completions within 2 working days of first receipt of the proposal. Returning proposals for technical corrections/ completions should be done by the PMU within 2 weeks from first acceptance of the proposal for review). The FP is expected to submit the proposal (with the corrections/ completions required by the PMU) back to the PMU within a maximum of 2 weeks of receiving the “returned proposal”. “Returned proposals” may not be included in the count of “submitted proposals” in NSP and FP reporting until it is re-accepted by the PMU with the corrections required for technical review.

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Sub-project Proposal Rejected: If at the preliminary review, a sub-project proposed is found to be in the NSP negative list or does not meet other eligibility criteria, it will be “rejected” by the PMU and not accepted for review. This type of rejection will be within 2 working days from receipt of the proposal. Also, if after the preliminary review, when the proposal is accepted as “submitted” by the PMU, the proposal may still be rejected for specific technical reasons. In such cases, the PMU will advise the FP of the same within 2 working weeks from the date of acceptance of the proposal for review. (Note: Communities and FPs may avoid such rejection by ensuring that subprojects selected fall within the NSP sub-project eligibility criteria and that the NSP technical manual is followed. Failure to mainstream gender in the sub-project cycle may also result in rejection). Certain sub-project proposals that require the approval of line ministries at the central level may then be disapproved by the same. (The timeline for these rejections cannot be stipulated here as this is dependent on external stakeholders). These too will then be considered as “rejected proposals”. All “rejected proposals” cannot continue to be included in the count of “submitted sub-project proposals” in FP and NSP reporting.

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Sub-project Proposal Submitted: A community sub-project proposal is considered ‘submitted’ when the concerned FP or the community has submitted all the required and completed documentation to the concerned PMU; the PMU has examined and verified that all documents are completed and in place, and has issued a receipt for the proposal. (Note: Returned and rejected proposals cannot continue to be included in the count of submitted proposals). The NSP PMU is expected to complete this initial review within the same working day when possible and within a maximum of 2 working days from receipt.

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Village: As of 2007, it is estimated that 42,000 villages, also referred to as "rural settlements", exist in Afghanistan . Previous estimates were as low as 20,000. No accurate census data is available and it is unclear if consensus has been reached on a working definition of "village". Ground evidence shows that several of these "villages" comprise of less than 25 families. Going by the NSP requirement that a "community" must comprise a minimum of 25 families, and experience during NSP Phase I, it is estimated that the villages would translate to around 28,500 NSP communities, thus creating the average of 1 NSP community = 1.474 rural settlements. However the current average used is 1 NSP community = 1.583 rural settlements.

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