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.

Today, Indonesia is recognized as an international leader in family planning and reproductive health. It has one of the world’s most successful programs. As a result, women like Rubeha Purwanto are now able to space the births of their children, improving the health of both mother and child.

In the late 1990s, when the last independent magazine in Indonesia was closed down, journalists reacted by forming an underground society to promote uncensored dissemination of news. After political changes brought greater press freedoms in 1999, the journalists continued honoring their commitment to a free and independent media, this time out in the open. With help from a USAID grant, they launched an independent radio station: Radio 68H. Today, the station promotes free speech and a free press through trusted news coverage.

The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Rising Sun are some of the 3,000-plus novels and textbooks that the Indonesian Mitra Netra—or “Friends of the Eye”—Foundation has in stock. What makes the library so impressive is that the books are in Braille or on tape. “We’ve been developing audio books since 1992,” says the deputy director, Irwan Dwi Kusnanto, who is visually impaired. With help from USAID, the foundation distributes 100 cassettes per month to 15 special schools where they are enjoyed by visually impaired adults and children.

Mothers and pregnant women in Wonokromo, a town in northeastern Java, worried that when time for delivery came, they could not get to the hospital. They also worried there was no guaranteed supply of blood in the event of an emergency requiring a transfusion. Now, thanks to a USAID-supported health initiative, Wonokromo mothers can stop worrying.

About 40 percent of the earth's land area is currently threatened by desertification. Asia, in terms of the number of people affected by desertification and drought, is the most severely affected continent.

Throughout Tibetan regions of China, resources for promoting local businesses, education, and healthcare are extremely limited. The socio-economic situation in Tibet is on par with some areas of sub-Saharan Africa. As the economy grows, rural Tibetans desperately need new skills and opportunities for living.

In 2010, USAID assistance established the Mandala Business Development Center, a community resource that will provide comprehensive services to Tibetan entrepreneurs such as Aré as they navigate through the various stages of designing, building, and managing a business.

Sam Bunnath is a journalist in Cambodia’s Battambang province. In 2005, he attend a workshop for journalists that USAID sponsored as part of its effort to battle corruption in Cambodia. After the initial training effort, he and 11 other participants received one-on-one mentoring on investigative journalism. Sam and his colleagues were encouraged to put their training to practice and pursue leads on corruption — even on their own time, if necessary. They each received a small scholarship to offset the costs of investigative reporting.

Lom, a woman of 35, lives in Tanuk village in the district of Kravanh, western Cambodia. Lom, who has one daughter, lives with HIV/AIDS. Her husband died three years ago, leaving her as the sole breadwinner. But because of her health condition, she found herself unable to make a living: nobody would buy the produce she grew. She was also excluded from community events and was forced to spend most of her time alone.

USAID Helps Cambodian Partners Find Local Solutions for Local Problems

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Last updated: February 27, 2014