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.

Bacchus lives on the east bank of Guyana’s Demerara River, thirty miles from the capital of Georgetown. He takes his sweet cassava and sweet potatoes to his farm gate and unloads his harvest to a buyer. It was hard to get by. He did not have any impact on prices despite efforts to improve quality. He constantly fought to make a reasonable living.

Brenda, a 25-year-old mother, attended her first antenatal visit for her second pregnancy. During the group counseling, the health visitor discussed HIV/AIDS transmission from a mother to her child and ways to reduce this transmission. Brenda, who was about twelve weeks pregnant, underwent individual pre-test counseling on HIV and agreed to take the HIV test.

Few topics may seem as uninteresting to Caribbean teenagers as market economics, yet few are likely to be as critical to their future. This is why USAID helped sponsor a month-long educational campaign in Guyana in February 2006 that aimed to educate young Guyanese about an important step the Caribbean community had taken: the launching of a single market.

In the 1980’s, the United States passed laws requiring all fresh-caught shrimp sold there to be caught on boats equipped with "turtle excluder devices" known as TEDs. The device helps prevent turtles from being trapped in shrimp nets. A metal grid with openings is attached to the trawling net. Larger animals, such as sea turtles, can easily escape, while the shrimp remain caught.

John is a special program officer and president of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association’s (GRPA) Youth Advocacy Movement. GRPA is a non-governmental organization funded by USAID. Before taking on this leadership role, John had little experience educating the community about HIV/AIDS.

The poultry market in the Caribbean Community's 15 member countries is valued at an estimated $350 million. The size of this market signals exciting prospects for the growth of Guyana's poultry sector. But, Guyana's poultry farmers cannot begin exporting poultry until they meet strict sanitary and health standards and regulations imposed by other member states.

“Don” Felician Castellanos, a subsistence farmer in Guatemala, believes it is a miracle that he survived the massacres and disappearances caused by the violent civil war that hit his region. Although he never went to school, don Feliciano knew he wanted to read and write. He taught himself to read at the age of twenty-three using an adult literacy primer.

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Last updated: August 13, 2013