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.

Michel Dorlean, a Haitian horticulturalist, grew up learning the family business of planting and growing flowers on hillside plots in his mountainous hometown of Furcy. Despite all the intensive work that goes into cultivating flowers, Dorlean and many other local flower producers struggled each year to reach their full earning potential. Today, thanks to assistance from Feed the Future, Dorlean is the president of a flower growers’ association in Furcy that generates US$18,000 per year. The project, implemented through USAID, is teaching smallholder farmers like Dorlean and his association how to use greenhouse agriculture to produce a higher quantity and quality of crops on smaller areas of land. 

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, who despite security threats, work tirelessly to increase access to information and serve their communities.

Water is a critical yet scarce resource in Afghanistan’s agricultural economy. Poorly maintained or destroyed irrigation systems result in low agricultural yields, affecting rural communities that are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. The Baghcha karez in Shinwar District of Nangarhar Province, servicing farmland used by 260 families, had completely collapsed as a result of periodic floods.

“This method of storing ap-ples helped us very much in extending the storage life of our produce for a longer pe-riod without any damage, thus benefiting us with a net profit nearly doubled. We really thank USAID for focus-ing on the baseline of the fruit producers,” says Haji Asadullah owner of Jalrez cool room.

“This has had a positive impact on our business,” said Ahmad Wali, a shareholder of Etemad Co. Ltd., which imports tires from China and Japan and blankets from China and South Korea. “Before, we were required to spend a lot of time and money on customs clearance. Now within a few hours, customs is releasing our containers, which is a big step toward more and cheaper imports into Afghanistan.”

With an estimated 52 million cattle, 36 million sheep, 35 million goats and 5 million camels in 2009, Ethiopia has Africa’s largest livestock population. Pastoralist communities are highly dependent on income from livestock to pay for food, health services and school fees. Since 2005, USAID has supported the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program to create a National Livestock Market Information System (NLMIS) in Ethiopia. The NLMIS helps Ethiopian pastoralists make better decisions on when to sell their livestock and earn increased income during times of economic hardship.

More than a thousand young people, many of them girls, have received jobs training in key districts of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. This is part of USAID’s Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative-East, which was launched in 2009 in selected strategic locations where unemployed young people are at the receiving end of insurgent messaging. The training includes civics education, which teaches young people their rights and responsibilities as good citizens.

Just over 500 people from Khost City - 480 men and 30 women – were recruited to repair the classrooms, 30 toilets and walkways of Bibi Halima school. They improved the electrical wiring and installed 68 ceiling fans. Till then, the students endure the summer heat in stifling classrooms. The results were dramatic. School enrolment rose – from 4,800 to 5,200. Fifteen more teachers were recruited. Both students and teachers reported vast improvements in the overall environment.

The increasing popularity of television is providing a critical source of news and entertainment for citizens across Afghanistan. Through the Afghanistan Media Development & Empowerment Project (AMDEP), USAID has supported the construction and upgrade of provincial TV stations in an effort to provide high-quality media broadcasts and expand TV access to underserved and remote communities in Afghanistan. 


Last updated: January 20, 2015