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.

Years of erosion had turned the entrance to Barakzo village, in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, into a swampy quagmire. An adjacent canal had expanded its banks until the road was no longer accessible to large produce trucks from the nearby Panjwayi District markets. With the construction of a115-meter erosion protection wall funded by USAID, large trucks now have no trouble getting out to area farmers, and a greater volume of irrigation water is reaching local farms. The project provided two months of short-term employment to more than 50 village laborers.

Afghan youth have been deprived of educational opportunities and forms of expression due to decades of political and economic turmoil. USAID funds the Youth Voices Festival, which provides a forum for youth across the country to express themselves through art, poetry, photography, and a variety of new and tradional media tools. In 2011 alone, the Festival worked directly with over 2,000 young men and women, providing them with a crucial platform to amplify their voice.

For as long as anyone can remember, a ”spinsar”,  or old man,  went to work every day at the Afghanistan Supreme Court to manually bind pages of books and periodicals that announced progress and developments within the Supreme Court. Using only a hammer, string, wires, and glue, he meticulously assembled each item page by page. After thousands of hours of manual labor, the hand-bound publications were then sent out across Afghanistan to help spread news and information about the rule of law and the justice system. 

Amna Mohamed Awad Hussein, a fifteen-year-old from Shalatin in the south of Egypt gained a new perspective on a life and a new set of skills when she attended a USAID funded school for tourism service workers.

“Our life is very simple,” Amna said. “Most people are poor. This school has changed me a lot. When I went to school in my home town, my dreams were very simple. I had no goals to achieve. There I had the feeling that I don’t have a future at all.”

Through USAID-funded Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resources Management Project, 13 local stove makers in Badakhshan and Bamiyan provinces were equipped and trained to manufacture fuel-efficient stoves.

USAID’s assistance enabled ZRM, a local Afghan carpet weaving company, to complete a big order from a Canadian buyer. Carpet weaving, an Afghan profession prevalent in northern Afghanistan, has only recently been adopted in the country’s eastern parts. There are a few carpet production companies in the east, but due to their limited recourses, they have no direct access to international markets. The lack of trained carpet weavers to meet the buyer’s demands for new designs is another challenge they are facing.

Potato production is the mainstay in Bamyan province. Until 2010 productivity was low due to two fundamental factors: the high price and questionable quality of fertilizers available in the province, and the use of recycled and low quality seed.  While farmers were generally aware of the potential benefits of the appropriate use of fertilizers and the use of certified seed, they lacked the financial capacity to purchase them, and credit was simply not available.

Rural communities often have to vie with their neighbors for vital natural resources, creating tension. Three villages – Tort Kol, Faizabad and Rahmatabad – in Shirin Tagab District of Faryab Province, with a long history of conflict over irrigation water were brought together through a USAID-funded Community Based Stabilization Grants Project.

This USAID-sponsored activity will help the Afghan Government identify geological data for sites not surveyed since the 1960s Afghanistan’s mineral and hydrocarbon resources will be an important source of employment and revenue for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), with 25 percent or more of GDP generated directly or indirectly by the mining / hydrocarbons sectors. In order to maximize the future benefits of Afghanistan’s mineral resources, USAID is assisting the Ministry of Mines (MoM) gather and evaluate geological data. 

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Last updated: January 12, 2015