NAWA, Afghanistan --
Do as much good for as many people possible.
That’s been a driving force behind the planning of dozens of construction projects taking place at the Nawa District Governor’s Center in Nawa, Afghanistan.
From the larger projects like construction on a brand new shura hall, to the smaller painting jobs and air conditioner installation, Master Sgt. Sean Sargeant, along with the rest of the 3rd Civil Affairs Group and Nawa government, has been able to provide more than 500 Afghans with job opportunities.
“The majority of workers are all local,” Sargeant, the 3rd CAG team chief, said. “They come right out of Nawa. I see people moving from workforce to workforce, and you get to know them by their name and personality.”
Through ongoing construction, the CAG identifies skilled laborers who expand the local workforce. A larger workforce means greater potential for future projects and more jobs for the region’s citizens, Sargeant said.
Along with providing employment to as many as possible, Sargeant has been able to establish a reliable base of local contractors to work with. Rather than have a construction company complete a building from start to finish, Sargeant will have the larger companies complete the primary construction. Local contractors complete the final touches, and other Afghans are hired to complete simple labor, such as basic janitorial work
“By granting contracts this way, instead of paying ten people, you pay twenty — and then thirty — and it creates a much happier atmosphere to get everyone involved,” he said.
Once construction on the larger projects has been completed, the new buildings will create a need for permanent positions.
“You need cleaning crews and maintenance crews, which creates more and more jobs,” Sargeant said. “These projects give us the opportunity to employ many people.”
Sargeant will be leaving Afghanistan soon. After his half-year in Nawa, he’s seen a transformation, but it isn’t just construction projects and fresh paint.
“I don’t even know how to characterize the change I’ve seen,” Sargeant said. “I can tell you about the new buildings and square footage, but it’s not just physical change. You look at the changes in personalities, people, relationships, atmospherics … I think we’ve established a great relationship with everybody. We treat them with respect, and I think they appreciate that.”