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.

Six new community centers opened their doors this fall to villagers in Nangarhar and Kandahar provinces.  The centers are the first of their kind in both provinces, offering citizens access to legal awareness and public outreach resources, along with classes to build technical skills and a space to host community meetings.

The Foroshgah-Bozorg Shopping Center was the first mall of its kind in Afghanistan and a symbol of the country’s future. After it was damaged in a Taliban attack, USAID worked with the Afghan Government to rebuild the center and to help individual shopkeepers recover their businesses.

Zulaikha is a community health worker (CHW) in the village of Lay-Lay, one of the most remote areas of Bamyan Province. Lay-Lay is almost an hour and a half away from the nearest health clinic and it is difficult for villagers to travel such a long distance to receive medical care. CHWs like Zulaikha -- village residents trained in first aid and basic medical care -- provide essential health services to the members of their community thanks to training and assistance from USAID’s Health Services Support Project. 

The Governor, as part of the Hamkari Baraye Kandahar (Cooperation for Kandahar) initiative, wanted to show that the city’s municipal government can respond to residents’ needs. The Kandahar municipality took the lead and identified projects that would make life better for average Kandaharis, such as improving the city sidewalks, also demonstrating that the government can provide basic services to the nearly 850,000 residents.

Sardar Mohammad has been a sheepherder for most of his life.  Now he works for the government, shepherding a different type of flock.  As Kuchi Department Director, he is responsible for more than 350,000 Kuchi nomads in Kandahar Province and is intimately in tune with the needs of his people.  However, government resources are limited, and aid programs aimed at Kuchis are few.

Dasht-e-Barchi is a poor community located to the west of Kabul.  Although a two-lane road was recently constructed, the streets are almost too narrow for a car to pass, and the dilapidated houses on either side of the road suggest that no one could afford to own a car here anyway.  However, there is hope for economic improvement in the community and it resides with a vocational training program for women.

Arghandab, in war-torn southern Afghanistan, has a humble rural economy and fierce local pride.  However, youth unemployment threatens local stability.  Most young men are out of work and feel pressured to earn money any way they can, making them vulnerable to recruitment by illegal militia groups.

Attaulhaq is the advisor to the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Energy, known as ICE.  Funded by USAID’s Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program, ICE coordinates donor support for energy infrastructure development as well as energy policy and best practices that maximize the country’s energy resources.  ICE also supports the commercialization of energy so that Afghanistan can pay for the energy that it needs.

Mrs. Parigul has a great deal in common with the women in her community – she also lost members of her family, including her husband, in the civil war and now supports her children on her own.  With one practical idea, she saw an opportunity to change the dire situation faced by women like her.


Last updated: January 05, 2015