Volume Four, Issue Five
This year's International Women's Day theme was A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence against Women. A human rights violation that often targets the most vulnerable among us, gender-based violence (GBV), limits individual and societal development with high human and economic costs. Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of abuse reaching 70 percent in some countries. Men and boys also experience sexual violence, increasingly documented in countries experiencing conflict and especially when gender identity conflicts with gender norms. GBV also affects other marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities and the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community.
This cannot stand. Last year, USAID worked with our partners across the government to establish the first-ever United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally [pdf 1.82 MB]. This strategy pledges to improve coordination across U.S. Government agencies that work on this issue, to improve the quality of our programming, and to strengthen our impact. While we are proud of the commitment implicit in this strategy, we know that it must translate into expanded and meaningful efforts on the ground. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we are promoting community awareness and supporting GBV survivors by increasing access to medical and psycho-social care, legal assistance, and income generating activities. In Pakistan, we are incorporating GBV prevention efforts into education programs. In Bangladesh, we've launched a pilot project to test diverse approaches to prevent child marriage by focusing on community sensitization through partnerships with local religious authorities, members of the media, local NGOs and civil authorities. As our implementation gains speed, we recognize a collective responsibility to ensure our aspirations translate into concrete results for individuals, families, and communities around the world.
Check out some blogs on women's empowerment on Impact:
Video of the Week: Empowering Women in Haiti
Raising the Bar: Combatting Gender-based Violence in Emergencies
Freeing Women from Violence Leads to Healthier Lives
Guatemala's 24-Hour Courts: Changing the Way Women Access Justice
South Sudanese Women Becomes a Role Model
Delivering Real Results for Women and Girls
A Time for Action and Working Together to Improve Women's Lives
Mark Feierstein Launches #AskUSAID Expert Hour series on Twitter
On March 8, Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean Mark Feierstein took part in our first-ever #AskUSAID Expert Hour on Twitter. He answered questions from the Twitterverse on USAID's work in the region. Questions touched on a variety of topics including: mobile technology, innovation and mobile money. Check out this Storify feed that highlights the Expert Hour.
#AskUSAID Expert Hour will be held on a monthly basis on Twitter. Anyone interested in international development is invited to ask our assistant administrators and others about our current projects, established programs and other efforts in regions throughout the world.
Haitian Leadership Visits USAID
On Feb. 28, Gerald Oriol, Haiti's Secretary of State for Disabilities, visited Washington to meet with donors, including USAID, and congressional leaders. During his visit, USAID hosted a working lunch for Oriol to discuss key issues.
Also on March 4, Haiti Minister of Agriculture Thomas Jacques visited USAID to participate in trilateral discussions with the U.S. and Brazilian Governments. Afterward, he presented his agriculture strategy to an audience including USAID partners, the Interamerican Development Bank and World Bank. Photos from his visit can be viewed here.
USAID Administrator Speaks at Global Health Conference
On March 14, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah delivered the keynote address at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health annual conference in Washington. Speaking to an audience of over 1,200 students and global health experts, Shah highlighted the importance of innovation and partnerships in the pursuit of challenging, yet achievable, global health goals like eliminating preventable child deaths within two decades. The conference is expected to continue over the weekend with participation from Assistant Administrator for Global Health Ariel Pablos-Mendez and Science and Technology Advisor Alex Dehgan.
Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid Meets
The Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) held its first public meeting of the year on March 14 at USAID headquarters in Washington. ACVFA members, Administrator Rajiv Shah, Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg and others participated in two panels: "ACVFA Recommendations on Local Capacity Development" and "Elevating Science, Technology, and Innovation for Development."
Approximately 150 people attended the meeting and engaged in discussions about ensuring sustainability for innovative programs and increasing local ownership so people can thrive with less assistance. The meeting report and transcript will be available soon on USAID's website. The ACVFA Report on Best Practices in Local Capacity Building is available now. The next public ACVFA meeting is scheduled on June 12.
USAID In the News
Can't get enough of USAID? Business Ghana reports that at the Duffor R. A Primary School in Ghana, USAID, in-collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, celebrated International Women's Day with students, teachers and assembly members under the theme "A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Gender Based Violence in School."
In response to the March 5 front page story in the Washington Post, "Project's Key Step is Left to Afghans," Assistant to the Administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs Alex Thier wrote a letter to the editor which appeared in Sunday's paper. The letter challenges the article's claim that USAID is "walking away" or "scaling back" efforts to complete the Kajaki Dam, but, in fact, USAID is tapping into the "increased capacity of the Afghans to take on responsibility for their own economic and social development."
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Last updated: March 18, 2013