Data Gathered Date: 

Sunday, March 31, 2013 - 16:00

People in western Ghor province vow to participate in the upcoming elections to help address their challenges, including unemployment, insufficient schools and lack of health services.
Located 980 kilometers from Kabul, mountainous Ghor province has nine districts.
This report was based on interviews conducted with three women and six men from four districts and the capital of the province.
There are fifteen seats in Ghor provincial council with four of them allocated for the female members; almost 75 people including six women are running for the provincial seats.
Village woman: No schools and health clinics
Negina, 31, from Dehmard village of Dawlatyar district of the province, has studied to seventh grade, and she criticized the lack of schools and the educational challenges in the area.
She complained that the school in their village has no proper building; children are studying under tents where they get sick and dehydrated because of the weather.
There is only one health clinic in the village where she lives; she said the clinic had no medicine and there was only one doctor who is often absent.
She is persuading most of the women in the area to cast their votes and participate in the upcoming elections.
"All women should participate in the elections so they can elect a just, honest and Muslim president who respects women's rights and their demands," she said.
Driver: Police take bribes
Mohammad Nasim, 25, from Dolina district of the province, earns his living driving a passenger bus. He said his life had been worsening due to the increasing prices of food and insufficient income.
The road in their area is poor, so his vehicle breaks down a lot and he has to spend his income in fixing it.
He complained that police checkposts take money from the drivers under different pretexts.
Nasim had gone to the polling center in the last election, however this time he is not ready to cast his vote: "Voting in the last elections didn’t bring about any positive changes in my life."
Government employee: Low salaries
Muhammad Sardar Amiri, 34, from Dahane-Kasi in the provincial capital Chighchiran, said there was no employment five years ago, but currently there are employment opportunities in the governmental institutions.
However, he said, “the salary is meager and can't suffice” to cover basic expenses.
This government employee said the roads heading to the villages were not paved.
When asked why he wants to participate in the upcoming elections, he said: "To bring about a positive change, healthy administration and clear of corruption."
In the past five years, the government made no efforts for reconstruction in their province, he added.
Illiterate woman: Afraid of violence
Gul Feroza, 42, from Badgah village of provincial capital Chighchiran, said no positive changes have come in her life in the past five years. She is afraid that unless the election goes as expected, war will erupt.
When asked if she will participate in the elections, Feroza replied: "No, because I fear the situation on Election Day may turn violent."
She asks that the next president construct roads, schools and bridges in their village and sweep out the Taliban from the areas where they have disrupted education.
Young man: Life has improved
Noor Agha, 20, from Chighchiran, has studied through 12th grade. He said he is satisfied with the current administration. "There are schools in our village and the children are going to school," he said. 
Noor Agha, who knows seven of the presidential candidates by name, said he choose the person who envisions a good plan for future and could avoid corruption.
Under the current government, “the schools for the girl have opened and the girls can learn despite the fact that there are no proper school building, professional teachers and sufficient schools," he said.
“I want security and reconstruction from the upcoming president,” he said.
Education director: Teachers are not professional
Nizamuddin Noori, 50-year-old resident of Teura district and education department director of the district, said the salary of the teachers is meager and so the professional teachers with higher education degrees don’t intend to serve as teachers.
Complaining about the lack of textbooks, proper school buildings, health clinics and paved roads, Noori said he will vote for a president who has plan for economic development and infrastructure.
A number of development projects including wells, protection walls and roads through the National Solidarity Program of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry have been implemented in their village, he said.
Head of Shopkeepers Union: Business development must be encouraged
Nazar Mohammad, a resident of Chighchiran, said his live had improved compared to five years ago - but the government didn’t help this change, he promoted his own business, he said.
He will not participate in the elections because he believes votes do not count, that the support of foreigners elects the next president.
Nazar Mohammad listed the lack of paved roads, electricity, and drinking water, as well as poverty and unemployment, as major challenges in their area. He added: "Unemployment and poverty have increased and the price of food rises on a daily basis; people can't afford basic foods."
His first demand from the next president will be establishment of fair and corruption free government, Nazar Mohammad concluded.
Worker: There has been no positive change in my life
Muhammad Qurban, 29, a resident of Charsada district, said he labored in Iran five years ago and still works as laborer in this country.
If employment could be found, no one would leave Afghanistan, because being abroad has a cost, he said.
He complained that there are no paved roads, health clinics and jobs in his area. 
People have to walk for three hours to get from the village to district center, he said.
He has the voter registration card, but said there is no polling station in their village and so he cannot participate in the elections.
Qurban dose not believe the slogans of the candidates and said they are chanting to attract votes and will not do anything practical when elected.