The purpose of the Initiative to Strengthen Local Administrations (ISLA) Program is to strengthen the sub-national government system in Afghanistan to enable the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) to improve provincial governance in the areas of fiscal and development planning, representation of citizens, and enhanced delivery of public services. USAID ISLA will strengthen subnational systems in the areas of planning, operations, communication, representation, and citizen engagement. Improvements in these areas, along with the passage of legal frameworks for sub-national governance by GIRoA will improve the government’s ability to prioritize service delivery and develop central plans and budgets that represent provincial interests. This will lead to services that more closely respond to all citizens’ needs in health, education, security, justice, and urban services. As all citizens benefit from public services, their perception of government legitimacy will increase. The program will work within the existing system to improve its functionality. This will be done by fostering a combination of top-down and bottom-up consultative processes between central and provincial levels to formulate plans and budgets that align with local community priorities, national developmental priorities, and available resources.

At the central level, USAID ISLA’s key counterpart is the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), which was established in 2007 for the purpose of strengthening good governance, provision of services, and consolidating stability, accountability and transparency at the sub-national administration level. IDLG’s main objective is to facilitate good sub-national governance in Afghanistan, and as a result bring positive change to people through a more effective delivery of government services.  USAID ISLA will cooperate with five IDLG directorates: the Directorate of Local Programs and Coordination (DLPD); the Capacity and Institutional Development Directorate (CIDD); the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (M&E); the General Directorate of Local Council Affairs (GDLCA); and the Directorate of Policy and Planning (PPD). These Directorates are responsible for all activities related to local administration at provincial level including developing and maintaining liaison with relevant line Ministries, and departments. Other counterparts of ISLA at the national level include the Ministry of Economy (MoEc) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF).