Creating a Stronger Diplomatic Agency in Afghanistan Through Institutional Reform

MSI supported capacity building and training for Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff and helped strenghten library, technology and communications services.

Afghanistan’s diplomatic service, traditionally a source of pride and strength to the country, suffered setbacks beginning in the period of Soviet domination. After decades of “brain drain,” deterioration and dysfunction were evident at all ministry levels.  Language and diplomatic skills were degraded, as were training, financial management, research and communications systems, and information, communication and technology (ICT) infrastructure. The consequences ranged from sub-standard representation abroad to unacceptably slow visa processing.

In a critical time for Afghanistan, the USAID-funded  Afghanistan Foreign Affairs Institutional Reform (FAIR) project provided support to the country’s top institution for diplomatic relations.

MSI achieved tangible and significant results, producing a revised and updated new entry orientation program for diplomats, staff training of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MoFA) Center for Strategic Studies in research and policy analysis, and examination of the ministry’s needs to automate and update financial management and administrative systems.

MSI experts created a multi-level English language-training program for the Institute of Diplomacy, tailoring it for the non-traditional adult learner. FAIR technical experts delivered training for the Institute’s library-in-training program, supporting improvement of service delivery to the diplomatic corps.

The project also built a new training center for the Institute of Diplomacy. Speaking to media that reported on the opening of the center, the Director of the Institute of Diplomacy Hazrat Wahrizdirector said, “We are genuinely grateful for this assistance from the people of the United States to Afghanistan. This new center will allow us to conduct more standardized training for our staff, including English language education.”

The project’s objectives were to enhance ministry officials’ capacity to conduct ministry business in policy and administration, to improve the functionality of MoFA headquarters and to provide the ministry with equipment and business processes to accomplish both objectives.

The project also reviewed and suggested improvements of human resource procedures and job descriptions, and built new classrooms and library facilities for the Institute of Diplomacy. It modernized the ministry library and trained officials in library management and process improvement.

FAIR was instrumental in developing a plan to upgrade visa and immigration processes.  Along with producing a comprehensive review of MoFA’s ICT infrastructure and software needs, it modernized and rewired ministry ICT equipment and infrastructure.