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 remote district of Jani Kheyl in Paktika Province is home to approximately 35,000 people belonging mainly to the Molalzai, Jani Kheyl, and Malzai tribes. The Jani Kheyl bazaar, located in the district center, serves more than 500 people per day and includes four mosques, two schools, and approximately 215 shops. It has no connection to an electric grid.

Traditionally, seed producers deliver wheat seed to seed companies from May to July. However, they do not receive payment until February, which constitutes an economic disincentive and prevents seed producers from purchasing the appropriate quantities of inputs for the fall planting season.

Continued war and conflict in Afghanistan has caused a disintegration of services within the state justice sector. To make up for this loss, traditional alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) have re-emerged across the country. These informal justice systems – usually based on interactions and decisions between village elders at a localized level – are the standard in many areas for delivering justice in Afghanistan.

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.

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Last updated: January 06, 2015