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.

Everyone at El Shalateen Preparatory and Secondary School celebrated when their Environment Club was selected as the top winner of a USAID-sponsored environmental awards program. Headmaster Nasser Ismail Mohammed praised the club members’ initiative, saying, “Students have involved their parents and others in the club activities, and are raising environmental awareness through their activities and by organizing public talks.”

Halla Ramadan has good cause to smile. She learned to use art to depict her natural and cultural environment and produced several beautiful paintings that were displayed in an exhibition in Marsa Alam. On top of that, she won an award that was presented to her at a public event attended by local authorities, her friends, and her family, as part of a USAID-funded effort to raise environmental awareness among children in Egypt’s Southern Red Sea area.

“Just imagine the difference,” said Ahmed Hussein, the director of the renovated Hamata School, in the far south of Egypt near the Red Sea. “Before summer break, we left a school with broken walls and doors, no floors, windows, toilets, or playground. We returned to new walls and fresh paint, windows that close when there is a dust storm, a yard where students can play away from the highway and that keeps the goats out, toilets, water, floors. Students and teachers have more self-respect. The students have even begun to make paintings to decorate the walls,” he said.

Any parent will tell you that raising children is hard work, but rewarding. Some children, however, have a special ability to change those around them. Despite his Down’s Syndrome, George was not only able to bring his family together, but he also inspired his mother to become a volunteer at a USAID-supported organization that helps other families of children with disabilities.

Egypt’s world-class coral reefs are both an ecological treasure and a major tourist attraction, but the reefs are threatened by heavy tourist traffic and lack of environmental protection. USAID developed and helped implement an environmental management system in order to help the Red Sea region protect the reefs.

“Since starting the program, there has been more than a 20 percent decline in the number of people walking on the reef,” said Mahmoud Azizz, Environmental Manager for an eco-resort on Egypt’s Southern Red Sea.

The USAID-funded Integrated Reproductive Health Services Project conducts community-level training to increase knowledge of, and change attitudes towards, specific health practices in Egypt. Included in community training programs are male and female religious leaders, literacy facilitators, Ministry of Health and community development association outreach workers, and agricultural extension workers. These trainings not only empower individuals to function as agents of change, but also ensure that community members hear consistent health messages from various sources.

Often impassable during winter months, Nasrallah Road in Abu Hommos District of Beheira Governorate was the only option for many citizens of Berket Ghittas Village to reach neighboring communities, schools, markets, the workplace, and health services.

Along with other utility services, reliable telecommunications enable businesses to flourish and meet the needs of citizens. Faced with an aging analog infrastructure, Egypt saw an opportunity to increase its people's standard of living by modernizing its system. With support from USAID, Telecom Egypt switched to digital, improving and expanding telecommunications networks in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities. Hundreds of thousands of new telephone lines have been installed, which now serve more than four million Egyptians, even in the poorest areas.

Farmers and residents living along the canals in El-Gededa om El-Resh and El-Seds in Egypt’s eastern El-Sharkia province, used to throw their garbage and sewage into the open canals. This would pollute the water and clog up the water flow, depriving downstream farmers of water when they needed it for their crops. Farmers frequently tried to compensate for the lack of water by using ground water supplies. The problem was that the ground water in the region is highly saline. Using that water deteriorated the soil and brought low crop yields.

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Last updated: August 19, 2013