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.

On the edge of the Zomba plateau in southern Malawi, just as the land begins to slope up into an imposing peak, is a pretty patch of land covered with indigenous forests. Past the grass and into the trees there are signs of a careful intervention: a small irrigation canal and a meticulously kept stone wall. A few hundred bees are buzzing.

July 2014—In December 2009, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) killed 321 civilians and abducted more than 250, including 80 children, in a massacre in Makambo, an isolated village deep in the forested area of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was one of the worst massacres in the LRA’s 23-year history. However, news of the event took three weeks to reach the outside world.

July 2014—Salonga National Park, located in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is home to the endangered bonobo, one of the closest relatives to humans. This national park, in the heart of the Salonga landscape, is a World Heritage Site and home to significant populations of forest elephants, bongos, pangolins, Congo peacocks and hippopotami.

USAID partners with the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee to collect patrol data and wildlife surveys within the park.

July 2014—After years of political instability in Côte d’Ivoire, citizens want to strengthen linkages between their communities' prioritized needs and the government’s ability to deliver services.

Curtailing Kyrgyzstan’s school racketeering culture is not a simple task—myriad forces work against progress. Some insist that the education system reflects problems within Kyrgyz society at large, including ethnic conflicts, civil unrest and powerful organized crime syndicates. 

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.

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Last updated: July 31, 2014