Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

July 2014—Maria Paula Santamaría died for reasons that were entirely preventable. When she needed urgent medical attention, she was turned away from a hospital in her hometown of Cali, Colombia, because she was transgender or “trans.” Santamaría was assigned male at birth, but identified as a woman. The hospital refused to serve her, discriminating against her because she did not fit society’s definition of gender.

July 2014—Colombia has seen many gains in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights in recent years. Although these gains have been developing quickly, there is still a long way to go, especially for the transgender community.

Like many transgender individuals, Tatiana Piñeros Laverde had to work harder than most to overcome discrimination and mistreatment throughout her life. For example, when Piñeros was in the final stages to be hired for a secretarial job, she was denied the position when her employers found out she was transgender.

July 2014—Mohammad Anwar, a construction materials wholesaler in the western city of Herat, Afghanistan, gloomily recalls the construction of a road in 2003 that fell prey to damage in under six months. With a poor rating from Herat residents, the local municipal government recognized that reforms to Herat’s construction monitoring practices were overdue.

July 2014—Two-thirds of Peru’s territory is covered by forest with potential for permanent forest production. This production, however, is threatened by illegal logging, one of the country’s most significant environmental, economic and social challenges.

July 2014—Forests hold a wealth of biodiversity. Peru’s Amazon rainforest ranks third in the world for biodiversity, and is the basis for the survival of hundreds of native communities. In these communities, women are the gatekeepers of ancestral knowledge for the use of non-timber forest resources such as seeds and medicinal plants.

Коррупция в судебной системе сводит на нет усилия по укреплению принципа верховенства права во всей стране. С учетом этого, при поддержке Программы USAID-IDLO по укреплению судебной системы Кыргызстана, противодействие коррупции стало краеугольным камнем в работе Верховного Суда.

July 2014—Jessie Lebanan, Elizabeth Entienza, and Emerlita Balasbas are clearing a path for Filipino micro-entrepreneurs and cooperatives to better manage their money and receive loan proceeds through a new, unconventional method.

With high transportation costs and long travel times, many Filipinos lack access to financial services. As a result, they miss opportunities to manage and grow their money. So USAID has engaged local governments, businesses and financial institutions to deliver banking services via the one tool that nearly all Filipinos possess—their mobile phones.

July 2014—Maylene Reyes, 21, is a mother and full-time micro-entrepreneur. She lives in the rural town of Benito Soliven in the Philippines’ Isabela province. She runs a sari-sari store—a convenience store that sells a variety of goods that serve the daily needs of her community. Sari-sari stores are typically operated inside the storeowner’s home and are found in most neighborhoods in the Philippines. In the afternoon, Reyes travels around her village selling banana que, a Filipino snack made of fried bananas coated in caramelized sugar. 

July 2014—Rather than pursue a risky migration abroad, or simply become resigned to a life of extreme poverty, landless youth in a chronically food insecure district in Ethiopia are staying in their families’ villages, while also earning an income. How?

These young men and women in the Dodota district are participating in the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program, a USAID-supported project to restore their local watershed and rejuvenate degraded land. It is also dramatically changing their lives.

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Last updated: July 21, 2014