Marshall Plan Charities is a Texas-based non-profit corporation dedicated to “winning the peace” in war-torn Afghanistan. Founded by international freedom fighter Joanne King Herring in 2009, Marshall Plan Charities is uniquely positioned to complement the ongoing U.S. military effort in Afghanistan by rapidly and effectively redeveloping normal, healthy civilian life village by village.
An Afghan civilian population with clean water, sustainable food sources, basic health care, modern schools and real jobs diminishes the need for, or reliance upon, Taliban poppy fields or U.S. military protection. To fully capitalize on the ongoing U.S. military successes in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians must be provided with the basic tools of civilization so that a culture of self-reliance can permanently supplant a hopeless return to dependence upon a fundamentalist dictatorship. And in the process, spare the world a breeding ground and staging area for international terrorism.
Afghan villages can best be restored by following the Marshall Plan Charities holistic model of simultaneously introducing the “essential five” – clean water, food, health care, schools and jobs. Toward this end, we have assembled a team of Afghan-focused NGOs and institutions that have agreed to work together, with village leadership, to provide these civil essentials village by village rather than project by project.
The alternative to date has been existing governmental single-purpose agencies that seemingly don’t communicate with each other. Consider, for example, a U.S. AID well digging project operating independently from a U.N. farm program – and oftentimes not in the same location. This is a prescription for patchwork coverage and piecemeal results.
Although it is a Marshall Plan Charities goal to eventually be working in Afghan villages throughout each of the 34 provinces, we have chosen to begin in one. This “proof of concept” village will prove the effectiveness of our aid model and its ability to block a Taliban resurgence. The village we have chosen is Khairabad in the province of Herat.
The Marshall Plan Charities model can redevelop this village in just over a year for less than one million dollars – a modest figure for the strategic return. (Please see the attached Model Village Budget for further details.)
Our confidence is grounded in both the years of in-country experience of our NGOs and the happenstance of this holistic model inadvertently being tested in another village in Nangarhar Province for a single growing season through the efforts of a U.S. National Guard unit in 2007. (Note that simultaneous introduction of clean water, modern farming techniques and basic health clinics eradicated poppy production in a single year when a Missouri National Guard Unit implemented what they named an “Agricultural Development Team.”)
Marshall Plan Charities believes that villages can be redeveloped from the inside-out if they are given the tools and guidance to build a life that make sense for them as individuals, families, and tribes. We invite you to imagine the strategic implications if the children of these newly employed farmers went to school. Imagine what self-governing possibilities could emerge once basic health needs were met. Imagine a province that allowed neither support nor even safe passage for Taliban or Al Qaeda militants.
Marshall Plan Charities will play a pivotal role in winning the peace in Afghanistan. The simple but hard truth is this: U.S. and coalition military forces can’t stand down until Afghan villages can stand on their own. And the current patchwork efforts of existing aid organizations cannot be as effective as the Marshall Plan Charities model. Stand with us and a proud Afghan people can restore their home life – and dedicated soldiers from throughout the world can return to theirs.