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.

 Local government in Afghanistan is challenged by limited resources, minimal infrastructure, and decades of conflict. Despite the best efforts of authorities, local communities find that many of their basic needs and requests are not effectively addressed. To support local communities to work with local government on finding solutions to local problems, an innovative radio program called “Fix It,” has been produced and broadcasted through Salam Watandar - a national programming service partnering with 47 provincial local radio stations across the provinces of Afghanistan.

Women have severely limited opportunities to education in Afghanistan. Being denied basic educational rights, as well as lacking access to new technologies and innovative communication tools, significantly inhibits progress towards gender equality in Afghanistan. This form of discrimination deafens the voice and opinion of women in civil society.

Amina Abdullahi is just one of thousands in Nigeria who have contracted polio, an infectious, viral disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Many of those who have contracted polio face discrimination in Nigeria and find it difficult to lead a normal life. For Abdullahi, the situation worsened when her father died and she became the sole provider for her family. Although trained as a tailor, she could not find employers who would let her practice in their shop. Abdullahi learned of the Kano Polio Victims Trust Association, an organization set up to provide financial and technical support, including vocational training, for its members so they can engage in cottage industries to support their families. Learning of the situation, USAID provided the association with new equipment, including 10 sewing machines, five knitting machines and two specialized embroidery machines. The news spread fast among association members, and Abdullahi and most of the other trainees returned to the center, along with 23 new members in the tailoring classes.

Kanybek Imankulov, a father of four, owns 45 hectares of non-irrigable land in Luxembourg village in northern Kyrgyzstan. A farmer since 1995, Imankulov grew mostly field crop -alfalfa, cereals, and corn-but had unimpressive results. Though average crop yields should have been around 4 metric tons per hectare, he only produced around half that. "I would spend weeks searching for available equipment and never managed to plant the crops on time," he said.

Until recently, citizen participation in government decision-making was a rarity in Iraq.  But thanks to a USAID project known as the Local Governance Program – Phase III (LGP III) –  provincial leaders have started to recognize the benefits of dialogue with their constituents.

Ali Hussain Heremish knew the Iraqi buzz about honey.  There was a huge demand for local honey and Iraqis paid a premium for imported honey.

Recognizing the need for improved governance, several members of Iraq’s Council of Representatives (COR) volunteered to take a comprehensive fiscal management course to prepare for the country’s new government, which was approved by Parliament in late 2010. The class, presented by USAID’s Legislative Strenghtening Program, used international standards to teach lawmakeers good governance skills in four crucial areas: oversight, auditing, accounting, and budgeting. Each module used texts and toolkits to present internationally recognized best practices so the concepts could be adapted for Iraq and be put into action.

 The first shipment of Iraqi dates in two decades was flown to London in September 2010 under the auspices of USAID/Iraq’s agribusiness program.  The project promises renewed export prospects for Iraq’s fresh and processed foods. 

Finding that first job always is difficult for young adults.  It’s especially difficult in Iraq where adults face 13 to 30 percent unemployment depending upon the community.  But prospects for youth employment improved in a dozen communities with the introduction of the Iraqi Youth Initiative.  The program teaches business skills to ambitious young adults aged 18 to 35 at USAID-Tijara’s network of 12 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).  

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Last updated: January 20, 2015