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.

The turmoil of the past 30 years has taken its toll on rural Afghanistan. Daman District relies heavily on agriculture to sustain its economy, but due to the destructive forces of war, nature, and neglect, its karez system – an essential source of groundwater – had fallen into disrepair. The municipality lacked the necessary resources to address infrastructure reconstruction and maintenance. Without urgent rehabilitation, resident farmers and nomads would see their only source of livelihood continue to degrade.

To help broaden horizons for students from all over Afghanistan and enhance their chances of attaining better educational opportunities at universities abroad, USAID sponsored a five-week legal English program. As part of the curriculum, students presented legal research topics on one of sixteen human rights problems facing Afghanistan.

In supporting traditional dispute resolution as a community peace-making mechanism, USAID has developed numerous educational programs designed to increase elders’ knowledge in a range of Afghan laws, including family law, which addresses the rights of girls and women. In addition, USAID sponsors community discussion sessions to explore alternatives to baad. Network meetings promote sharing of local best practice and lessons learned through USAID legal training

Infrastructure in the district is in dire need of repair. The roads that connect key towns in Passaband are in a deplorable state, being practically impassable to cars and trucks. Limited transportation means an inability for the local people to access markets or medical care in the area. Passaband has also suffered from draught, which led to limited harvests and few work opportunities in agriculture

Tirin Kot, the capital of conflict-ridden Uruzgan Province in southern Afghanistan, is a serious concern for those who strive to end the conflict and establish peace in Afghanistan. Due to its isolation and volatile environment, foreign assistance rarely reaches the city. Those trying to end the conflict and build peace agree that trust and cooperation between Afghan citizens and their government are cornerstones for lasting peace.

Communities in the district depend on the sale of agricultural products for their livelihoods. Due to its remoteness, the local government has had difficulty addressing community priorities and grievances in this district. During seasonal rains, water in Sar Boghandi Village was wasted due to a lack of storage. As a result, the community requested USAID funding to rehabilitate a storage dam and irrigation canal to store a sufficient amount of water to meet the community’s needs.

When Amir Ahmad was a child, he picked up an unexploded Soviet grenade, thinking it was a toy. He doesn’t remember the explosion. In the twenty years since then, he’s adapted to living without hands. He can hold a pen and write a letter. He can pour a cup of tea and ride a motorbike. However, he’s never been able to make a living, relying instead on the support of his family.
 

Years of neglect and a lack of funds have taken their toll on infrastructure across Afghanistan. Roads across the country are in deplorable condition, especially in the mountainous Ghor Province, where harsh weather and extreme temperatures have left many rural roads impassable during the wet winter months. For much of the year, markets and public services like hospitals in the provincial capital Chaghcharan are closed off to the people who live in the rural areas.

In Charborjak Village, a dirt road laces its way through a riverbed and into a neighboring village before arriving at an array of shops and trading stalls near the district governor’s office. During the fall and winter months, farming families using this road enjoy an easy walk from Charborjak Village to the main market in Guzara District.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015