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Building Civil Service Capacity in Afghanistan

2007-2012 || U.S. Agency for International Development


Through United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Afghan Civil Service Support (ACSS) project, Deloitte and its collaborators implemented a broad capacity building initiative, which aimed to enhance coordination across multiple service providers within the Afghan civil service, build capacity of organizations to attract and maintain competent staff, and develop a critical mass of professionals with the skills necessary to support and lead private and public sector organizations. The approach that Deloitte provided was an integrated, demand driven, and flexible capacity-building framework for public institutions to achieve their objectives and become the foundation of a new Afghanistan.

The Challenge

Since its establishment in 2001, Afghanistan’s new government has been struggling to strengthen and legitimize itself. The ACSS program was designed to assist the Afghan government in meeting some of the specific challenges it faces in the area of capacity building for core administrative functions, including raising the skill levels of Afghan civil servants to modernize, institutionalize, and harmonize common administrative systems across the ministries, and creating a system for civil service training within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).

How We Helped

Deloitte and its collaborators focused project interventions around the “Foundation Package” of core administrative, management, and strategy skills needed for solid public administration at both the national and provincial levels of the GIRoA. Recognizing the degree to which several public sector institutions had already been studied and supported by donors, the team utilized a rapid organizational assessment model that allowed for consistent reporting of the capabilities and competencies of each institution. The assessment approach also allowed for identification and analysis of root causes in order to create meaningful recommendations to build the capacity of GIRoA ministries.

The team structured its interventions around four primary areas:

  • Strategy, Policy, and Planning: This work stream focused on building counterpart capacities in strategic planning, project planning and design, monitoring and evaluation, and strategic communications within specific counterparts;
  • Financial and Expenditure Management: This work stream helped institutionalize transparent accounting, internal audit, program budgeting, budget execution, financial management, and procurement systems as well as building skills needed for government agencies to meet the requirements for USAID host country agreements;
  • Organizational and Process Improvement: This work stream focused on strengthening human resource structures, systems and skill sets within the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and related stakeholders (i.e., ministry and agency counterparts, Provincial Affairs Directorates) as well as building training capacities at the Afghanistan Civil Service Institute. It also included activities aimed at developing capacities in sub-national government offices generally, and activities specifically aimed at building the Independent Directorate of Local Governance’s organizational capacities in their sub-national office and provincial representation structures; and
  • Training Institution Support: This work stream focused on training design and delivery, training administration, and international participant training across each area of the Foundation Package.

Sample project deliverables included:

  • Capacity Development Implementation Plans and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with targeted ministries which identified the technical assistance and training plans to be provided by the project
  • An MoU signed by USAID and Afghanistan Civil Service Institute stipulating the areas of priority service (e.g., performance-based training design, staff development and certification, standards for the management of provincial training centers)
  • Training materials in strategy, policy, and planning; strategic communications; monitoring and evaluation; budgeting and budget execution; internal audit; contracting and procurement; accounting; human resource management; Afghanistan Financial Management Information System and data utilization; internet technology training and process improvement; organizational restructuring; work process streamlining; leadership; governance; basic financial management
  • Reports on senior exchange programs and their applicability to Afghanistan
  • Recommendations for expansion of courses offered by CSC Regional/Provincial training centers
  • Strategy for project sustainability and transferring project supported staff to the Ministry of Education


The organizational assessment findings and results enabled the project to collaborate with ministry leaders in preparing capacity development implementation plans that identified and prioritized institutional needs and specific activities. The team is continually working to enhance coordination and uniformity across government service providers as well as quickly and efficiently train a large number of skilled employees so they can join the government workforce, building their capacity and moving towards the existence of a strong and functional government workforce. The effort of linking training with improved government service delivery will be crucial in improving the perception by Afghan citizens of their government’s transparency and responsiveness.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, which provides strategy, operations, technology, and human capital consulting services, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, which provides financial advisory services, and Deloitte & Touche LLP which provides governance and risk oversight and reporting advisory services. These entities are separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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