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.

Panjwai District, located west of Kandahar City, is a rural area that relies heavily on agriculture to sustain its economy. During the preceding three decades, its irrigation system had fallen into disrepair. The municipality lacked the resources to address Panjwai’s infrastructural development, including its canals. Worse, intense insurgent activity coupled with feuding local tribes prevented significant infrastructural improvements in the district.

Among the Afghan tribes, the Kuchi people are famous as nomads, walking their livestock from lowland pastures along Afghanistan periphery, to highlands in the center of Afghanistan and back each year. However, the Kuchi people near Pul-i-Alam District in Logar Province are among the estimated 15 percent of tribe members who have broken this pattern by settling in a fixed place. Benefiting from a long-standing land grant, the Kuchi people in Pul-i-Alam diversified into farming. Over time, area farmland provided sufficient grain for livestock, enabling the Kuchi community to stabilize and expand.

The USAID project to rebuild the school included a wastewater treatment facility. This wastewater system uses chlorine to disinfect drinking water and the wastewater is treated with a biological treatment system on the school property. USAID has included wastewater treatment installations in seven Kabul high schools, not only to modernize the campus, but to promote health and safety issues.

Everyone at El Shalateen Preparatory and Secondary School celebrated when their Environment Club was selected as the top winner of a USAID-sponsored environmental awards program. Headmaster Nasser Ismail Mohammed praised the club members’ initiative, saying, “Students have involved their parents and others in the club activities, and are raising environmental awareness through their activities and by organizing public talks.”

Halla Ramadan has good cause to smile. She learned to use art to depict her natural and cultural environment and produced several beautiful paintings that were displayed in an exhibition in Marsa Alam. On top of that, she won an award that was presented to her at a public event attended by local authorities, her friends, and her family, as part of a USAID-funded effort to raise environmental awareness among children in Egypt’s Southern Red Sea area.

“Just imagine the difference,” said Ahmed Hussein, the director of the renovated Hamata School, in the far south of Egypt near the Red Sea. “Before summer break, we left a school with broken walls and doors, no floors, windows, toilets, or playground. We returned to new walls and fresh paint, windows that close when there is a dust storm, a yard where students can play away from the highway and that keeps the goats out, toilets, water, floors. Students and teachers have more self-respect. The students have even begun to make paintings to decorate the walls,” he said.

Any parent will tell you that raising children is hard work, but rewarding. Some children, however, have a special ability to change those around them. Despite his Down’s Syndrome, George was not only able to bring his family together, but he also inspired his mother to become a volunteer at a USAID-supported organization that helps other families of children with disabilities.

Egypt’s world-class coral reefs are both an ecological treasure and a major tourist attraction, but the reefs are threatened by heavy tourist traffic and lack of environmental protection. USAID developed and helped implement an environmental management system in order to help the Red Sea region protect the reefs.

“Since starting the program, there has been more than a 20 percent decline in the number of people walking on the reef,” said Mahmoud Azizz, Environmental Manager for an eco-resort on Egypt’s Southern Red Sea.

The USAID-funded Integrated Reproductive Health Services Project conducts community-level training to increase knowledge of, and change attitudes towards, specific health practices in Egypt. Included in community training programs are male and female religious leaders, literacy facilitators, Ministry of Health and community development association outreach workers, and agricultural extension workers. These trainings not only empower individuals to function as agents of change, but also ensure that community members hear consistent health messages from various sources.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015