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.

Bhim Bahadur, a poor farmer in the rural Kaski district of Nepal, had given up hope that his life would ever improve. The yield from his small piece of land earned him so meager an income that he could not support his family of eight. His annual income amounted to just $57.

“When I come to visit the village, women say ‘Mira is coming, she must have something new for us,’” says Mira Sunar, a female community health worker, describing her relationship with the villagers of Ramnagar, Nepal. “I feel proud and empowered by my popularity and recognition in the village.”

Man Maya Lama and her husband own a small tea shop in Manikapur village in Nepal's mid-western Banke district, but they struggle to earn enough to feed their two children. When USAID's Flood Recovery Program started its income-generation activities in their district, Lama jumped at the opportunity to get involved. She desperately wanted to improve her family's finances, and the only solution apparent to her was optimizing the use of the family-owned land. The acreage was small but that wasn't the main problem; her agricultural skills and knowledge were rudimentary and obsolete.

13 MARCH 2012 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
 
Unlike their male counterparts, it is difficult for female students in Afghanistan to hold part-time jobs where they can apply their education in real-life experiences. A fourth year architecture student explained, “Being a woman, we face lots of challenges in this field. The most common problem for women is that we have less opportunity for site visits and meeting professional people.”
 

The village of Yazgulam in Gorno Badakhshan District was one of the hotbeds of Tajikistan’s civil war from 1992 to 1997. Although the war ended years ago, Yazgulam’s inhabitants were still afraid of the militants that continued to wander around the village. “Safety was the main concern. I didn’t have high hopes that this place would ever improve,” said resident Khafiz Azoraev.

12 MARCH 2012 | HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
 
After anchoring “Our City, Our Home,” a radio show made possible by USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP)-South, Ozra Ahmady found her voice, as well as a platform to promote citizen engagement in municipal services. 
 
11 MARCH 2012 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
 
“What I have seen and learned here has given me courage. Now I want to open my own computer business in Kabul.”
 
When Mariam Jawad arrived at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in the fall semester of 2010, she entered a library for the first time in her life. She also used a computer for the first time and eventually sent her first email. For a 19-year-old woman who speaks three languages and dreams of becoming a businesswoman, this is surprising.
 

In the villages of Nepal, where most people live without access to health care, USAID has supported the training of 46,000 female community health volunteers (FCHVs) to deliver basic health care. These women have made Nepal the first country to deliver vitamin A supplements every six months to 3.5 million children nationwide (ages six months to five years) preventing at least 12,000 child deaths annually.

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Last updated: February 27, 2014