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.

USAID is working with the Ministry of Public Health to combat maternal mortality and support sustained improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes by enhancing the role of health workers and midwives in rural communities.

The farmers of Panjshir Province, a two-hour drive north of Kabul, have tree after tree laden with sweet, ripe mulberries. The berries were simply a nice treat for villagers in the past, but now, the fruit is translating into income for the farmers and may boost Afghanistan’s exports.

Fruit juice is a popular drink in the eastern region, especially during the hot, dusty months of the summer. However, most commercially available fruit drinks are imported, and there is a large demand for high-quality fruit drinks that cater to Afghan tastes. In 2009, The Ibrahim Malikzai Food and Beverages Company began producing mango juice under the "Fresh Up" brand, selling it mostly in the local shops in Jalalabad.

Roads are one of Afghanistan’s largest assets. They enable families to reach hospitals, schools, and services; they improve security and access to remote, unstable areas; and they encourage economic growth by allowing farmers and merchants to transport products to markets.

After learning that tons of mulberries were going to waste—up to 70 percent of the total crop—members of the U.S.-led Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team worked closely with the Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock and extension agents to bring to market a new product, mulberry juice. This solution would generate much-needed farm revenue.

The campaign for a nationwide rollout of “mobile money” in Afghanistan moved a step closer with the founding of the Afghan Mobile Money Operators Association in May 2011. The association is the first such trade organization in Afghanistan and among the first in the world. For Afghanistan, which ranks at or near the bottom in nearly every World Bank economic measurement, mobile money would be a solid foundation in a functioning market economy to help accelerate economic growth.

Two USAID projects recently collaborated to install a solar-powered water pump at Shaikhan Girls School in the Mir Bacha Kot District of Kabul Province. 

Five years ago, teachers in high schools struggled with a lack of knowledge and students found it hard to grasp concepts in tedious lectures. A few years before that, females were banned from teaching and studying at all. Now, classrooms in Afghanistan are starting to feel full of life as young men and women study with confident, skilled teachers who present up-to-date materials in an interesting way.

Paktika Province sits on Afghanistan’s southeast corner along the Pakistan border. Living in an area hotly contested in recent decades, Paktika residents must deal with long-neglected infrastructure. Subsistence farmers using rundown irrigation systems struggle to keep their crops alive. The return of émigrés and a stream of refugees from Pakistan further strain the local economy.

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Last updated: August 12, 2013