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.

May 2014—Fereshta Abbasi always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Now, as a law graduate, adviser to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the first Afghan national to serve as a judge in the world’s largest international moot court competition, she has actualized her ambitions.

In the past, many Afghan women did not have access to a university education and the chance to develop the skills needed for a public service career. Abbasi is one of a growing number of exceptional Afghan women who are breaking new ground.

In Haiti, roads in rural communities are often damaged by floods and lack of maintenance, affecting people’s well-being and livelihoods. USAID is currently upgrading up to 126 kilometers of roads in northern Haiti, where many households earn a living from agriculture, in addition to over 100 kilometers of roads in the Cul de Sac area, near Port-au-Prince.

May 2014—Picture a strawberry. Now picture 200 tons of strawberries. That’s how many strawberries are produced annually by Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. Unfortunately, this delicious fruit is only available for a few weeks of the year.

Or is it? Al Salam, a Palestinian agribusiness company that produces frozen vegetables, has embarked on an initiative to freeze strawberries so that Palestinians and others in the region can enjoy the vitamin C-rich fruit year round.

A once-in-a-generation typhoon made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, leaving a trail of devastation. Category 5 typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, affected 14 million people, or 17 percent of the population. Yolanda killed 6,000 people, displaced 4.1 million others and caused billions of dollars in damages to local infrastructure and livelihoods.

May 2014—Most poor families in Bangladesh who marry off their daughters before they turn 18—the legal age of marriage for girls—say that poverty forces them to make the choice. The result, for most girls who marry early, is more poverty, higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, and increased susceptibility to violence and disease.

But what happens when a poor family makes a different choice—to keep its girls in school rather than marry them off?

Through stabilizing and improving the health status of Angolans, USAID is creating a foundation for the long-term reconstruction in the country. This is helping achieve Ministry of Health goals to reduce Angola maternal mortality by 75 percent and newborn mortality by 30percent by 2015.

May 2014—Rwanda is on the move. It’s one of the only countries expected to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and is already a leader on the continent in the areas of health care and economic growth. The successes are remarkable, but in order to be sustainable over the long term, Rwanda’s local institutions have to be healthy and high-performing.

May 2014—Founded by Angolans, the NGO Prazedor is a trusted actor in the area of public health. Since the end of the Angolan civil war in 2002, transportation and communications have gradually improved, enabling Prazedor and other NGOs to start operating on a provincial scale.

May 2014—Pascal Habababyeyi, 25, is a radio journalist in Rwanda’s Southern province at Huguka Radio, a community station. Radio is the most popular form of media in Rwanda, and Radio Huguka alone reaches an estimated audience of over 1 million listeners.

Although Habababyeyi has university training in journalism, he still lacked some basic journalism skills. This is the case for the majority of Rwandan journalists, who have never had formal journalism training.

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Last updated: May 30, 2014