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.

Afghanistan has become much more a part of the global marketplace with the adoption of the internationally recognized system of tariff nomenclature for trade products. Transition to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which is used by more than 190 countries, began late last year with crucial assistance from USAID’s Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan (TAFA) project.

When apple and grape growers in the Shakardara district of Kabul province contacted the Provincial Governor, it was to seek help in the fight against a very particular enemy – the seasonal disease that can blight farmers’ lives and livelihoods.

‘We are here to support women in protecting their rights, and to raise aware-ness with all of the Afghan people to support their rights to inherit land’ Hussan Bano Ghazanfar, minister for women’s affairs

When taxi driver Faridullah headed for Jalalabad airport in the hope of picking up passengers, his family was unaware they would never see him again. It was dawn and a vehicle packed with explosives was hurtling towards the same destination. The 28-year-old father-of-two died, along with five others, in the Taliban suicide attack. His devastated family was left to cope with the loss of a husband, father, brother and breadwinner. The taxi was the family’s only asset which they depended on to earn an income.

For the first time in a generation, thousands of young people across Panjshir are learning the tools that will enable them to join the workforce in the global village. Three-thousand students, including 900 girls, study English, computer skills, math, physics, chemistry and biology at educational centers in the Shutul, Rukha, Hesa Awal, Dara, Anaba, and Paryan districts.

In northern Afghanistan, change can sound a little like this: “Previously, I was opposed to female education, I thought that it was unlawful, not in accordance to Islam and the holy Quran. After watching the TV shows on Friday nights through Arzu TV, I realized that in a democratic environment, both women and men have equal  rights  and  according  to  Islam.”

With a 5,500-kilometer border that often snakes through remote and volatile territory, Afghanistan faces the challenge of in-creasing trade with neighboring countries while preventing illicit activities such as drug trafficking. A partnership between the country’s two key border agencies at the busy hub of Hairatan in northern Afghanistan is serving as a model for border man-agement that contributes to a thriving licit economy.

With Afghanistan home to valuable natural resources such as gas, minerals, gems and marble, journalists are turning the spotlight on the country’s economic potential.

Tawoz is a farmer from the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. He and his family of 40 depend on a two-acre farm for survival. Six years ago, under pressure from local warlords, he shifted from wheat to poppy production.The income from poppy was better than what he made when he farmed wheat, but it also put him in debt to the Taliban.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015