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.

To bridge the gap between Afghans and the justice system, USAID has established 34 Community Cultural Centers in six of the country’s provinces. The centers rely on trained local volunteers to educate their fellow citizens about their legal rights and how to defend their rights in Afghanistan’s formal and informal justice systems.

Several years ago, there were only three produce merchants in the Baharak Bazaar, a market in Afghanistan’s remote northern province of Badakhshan. Today, there are 30 traders selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers are growing more diverse crops and enjoying larger harvests as they take advantage of lower transportation costs resulting from a massive USAID program to build and improve roads.

In western Afghanistan’s Farah Province, women have few opportunities to go to school or work outside of the home. Even when they possess a useful, income-earning skill like tailoring, many women stay at home during the day for cultural or security reasons.

In eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, infrastructure is poor and many villages lack good roads, access to clean water, and other basic necessities. USAID and U.S. Forces are working together to ensure that Afghan citizens receive the development assistance that they need to improve their livelihoods and quality of life.

Consumers in Europe will soon be savoring the sweet taste of Afghanistan. The United Kingdom’s leading pomegranate juice company, Pomegreat, recently agreed to a pioneering deal with Afghanistan’s first juice concentrate facility. It is the first international company to purchase juice concentrate from Afghanistan, committing to import a minimum of 500 tons of pomegranate concentrate and 500 tons of fresh fruit from Omaid Bahar Fruit Processing Facility, a stateof- the-art facility established with the support of USAID.

Imagine trying to learn to use a computer with an English keyboard, having never seen the English alphabet. Add to that the fact that you've never seen a computer in your life and you're in middle age. That's the challenge for employees of the national electric company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) who work at hydro power stations in Afghanistan. Many of them have worked at the same power station for more than 15 years.

Miriam has four children, although she has given birth six times. Two infants unfortunately died within days of birth. However, her most recent birth was different in that Miriam and her female relatives had learned from the local female community health worker (CHW) about the importance of keeping the baby warm.

An old custom of washing a newborn soon after birth is being discounted with the knowledge that infants were becoming sick. Instead, a baby should be gently dried with a towel and placed next to the mother's skin. Washing should wait until later.

In January 2005, a majority of Afghan civil society organizations lacked the capacity to design quality projects and proposals or professionally liaise with donors. The Afghan Women's Educational Center is an example: although it had been in operation for 15 years, it was still managed like a new organization. There were no clear reporting lines and no long-term strategic planning to guide its activities. As a result, the center was implementing approximately five projects annually with an operating budget of $500,000.

Livestock, both for traction and for sustenance, are crucial to the development of a country’s agriculture. Afghanistan suffers from a shortage of fodder crops that are preventing the country’s farmers from realizing their full potential. The solution may lie in the production of alfalfa which is widely recognized as an important crop for its resilience, yield, and use as high-protein and high-fiber feed for farm animals.

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Last updated: August 09, 2013