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.

On a snowy day in Kabul, 40 area farmers gather at the Badam Bagh demonstration farm. For most of them it marks a transition from centuries-old animal-drawn farming to 21st century mechanization. They’re here to purchase two-wheel tractors and implements subsidized by USAID.

Once an active cotton plant, the Hirat Cotton Mill, located in the Pashtun Bridge area of Guzara District in Hirat Province, stood idle for more than 30 years. USAID and global development alliance partners were looking for a cost effective location to house their cashmere processing facility instead of building something new.

Bibi Gul Jamal works tirelessly as a community health worker to improve the health of women in her village of Komak-e-Omar Khan in the Jawzjan Province of northern Afghanistan. A few years ago, Bibi Gul tragically lost two daughters who both died from bleeding after childbirth. Both had experienced retained placenta, which is a common cause of postpartum bleeding. They lived at home without the assistance of a skilled provider, and far from the health facility. Bibi Gul says, “My heart is filled with the pain of losing my young daughters. No mother should ever suffer such pain.”

Perhaps the greatest challenges to educating Afghans on their legal rights are an inherent lack of educational legal materials at the local level, and the inability of most people to read them. With a nationwide illiteracy rate of more than 60 percent, getting the message across to Afghans about their legal rights is a daunting task.

Panjawai is a major city that lies in the heart of Kandahar Province, a long-time Taliban stronghold. In 2010, Afghan and international military forces conducted clearing operations that drove the Taliban out of the area to protect the people of Panjawai from Taliban interference, intimidation, and violence.

Ongoing conflict has caused a gradual deterioration of Afghanistan’s state justice system. Despite this, Afghans have retained a centuries-old informal justice system that is based on deliberation and decisions between elders at localized levels.

Media is fundamental to building a strong, democratic Afghan nation, particularly during this time of transition. In the western province of Hirat, there are now more than 30 media outlets operating including radio, TV, online, and print publications. However, despite the growth in the popularity of the media, there has not been a corresponding increase in professional training courses for journalists to ensure quality keeps up with quantity. Journalism skills are often self-taught or out-dated and programming income drives content over audience needs.

When Iqbal Ahadi graduated from Kabul University with a de-gree in civil engineering, he wanted to build roads, but he had minimal experience. Nine years later, after working with USAID infrastructure projects throughout the country, there is hardly a road engineering job that Iqbal has not held.

Baghlan Province suffers from the intrusion of insurgent elements, which are creating problems for Afghan and international security forces by contributing to drug trafficking and launching suicide attacks. The situation requires stabilization efforts to ensure security and prevent the spread of insurgency to neighboring provinces.

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Last updated: January 06, 2015