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.

BEFORE - The file room at Lalitpur District Court was in disarray. Locating and retrieving files was difficult and usually depended on whether the court staff remembered a file’s location. Case files were often held together with string or stuffed in cotton sacks on the floor.

Throughout the Gobi and much of Mongolia, the Bactrian camel has become a symbol of Mongolia, for tourists and locals alike. Almost two-thirds of Mongolia’s camels are in the Gobi region. The camel is perfect for the conditions and the lifestyle of the nomads, where temperatures range from 40 degrees Celsius in the summer to -40 degrees Celsius in the harsh winters. Camels can travel long-distances, carry heavy loads, and survive up to two weeks without water and a couple of months without food.

“We moved to the city to find jobs and be closer to opportunities,” said Suren, one of thousands of Mongolians who in recent years have made the difficult transition from the countryside to life in Mongolia’s capital city - Ulaanbaatar. Several successive harsh winters have accelerated the pace of migration from rural Mongolia to the capital city.

One-year-old Aidana had been sick for some time. Aileta, her mother, thought it was simply a cold. Then early one morning, the child developed a high temperature. Aidana’s breathing appeared to stop and she lost consciousness and became pale. Panicking, Aileta called an ambulance. The closest children’s hospital was 15 minutes away.

Jyldyz was among the first students to take the National Scholarship Test in Kyrgyzstan. When she learned that she received one of the highest scores, Jyldyz’s first thought was of her best friend Aisuluu, who graduated from the same remote village school a year earlier. The best student at her school, Aisuluu had wanted to study at the medical institute to become a doctor. Her dreams were shattered when she learned that she had failed the scholarship exam.

Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country where only seven percent of the land is suitable for agriculture. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the previous collective farms were privatized among the communities, splitting the land into 0.04-0.20 hectare (.09 - .49 acre) allotments per person.

The yield of many crops also decreased during this transition, mainly due to the absence of agricultural knowledge of the new owners and the loss of markets.

Farmer Salijan Saibidinov owns land alongside an irrigation canal in Jalalabat Province’s Shaidan Village in Kyrgyzstan. Each spring, soon after the growing season began, Sailjan’s neighbors would throw trash onto his field while cleaning debris from the canal. His land also would flood when his neighbors overwatered their fields. Pollution and flooding were affecting farmers’ crop yields. In turn, Salijan reduced the amount of water flowing from the canal, thus causing resentment among his neighbors.

Through the assistance of USAID-funded projects, Kyrgyzstan’s agriculture sector is slowly improving, with farmers generating higher personal incomes and having more opportunities to improve their standard of living.


Last updated: January 07, 2014