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.

Built by USAID’s Afghanistan Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program, the new 105-megawatt Tarakhil Power Plant has trained workers at every skill level, helping to ensure sustainable operations of the plant that provide a reliable source of electricity to the region.

Before Abdul Wahab signed up for a USAID-funded AVIPA Plus training course in animal husbandry, the farmer, who has no formal education, took his knowledge of the subject from family tradition and neighbors’ advice.

Since 2008, ongoing violence in the Bajaur region of Pakistan has caused scores of Pakistani families to seek refuge in Afghanistan.  Many of these displaced families have settled in Kunar Province’s Sholtan Valley, joining Afghans returning home from decades spent as refugees in Pakistan.  Approximately 630 of these displaced and refugee families are living in Shigal District, with more arriving each month.  Most of these families do not have the basic household goods that are essential for day-to-day living.

Culminating three years of construction and intensive capacity building, on June 27, the U.S. Government handed over to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan the 105-megawatt Tarakhil Power Plant in Kabul, a state-of-the-art thermal facility consisting of 18 medium-speed diesel engines.  It can serve more than half a million residents at peak periods and can back up the country’s North East Power System.

Having sufficient and qualified health care workers to address the pressing health care needs of women and children in rural communities across Afghanistan is an enormous challenge.  Cultural barriers make it hard for women to leave their homes and travel to seek the health care they need.  With 85 percent of the population living in villages, there are few options to provide proper care and advice to these rural families.  However, one of them seems to be working very well: community health workers (CHWs).

Tirin Kot is the capital and center of business and commerce for all of Uruzgan Province.  Recently, the network of storm ditches in the city’s business centers deteriorated, causing severe flooding and forcing shopkeepers to close their stores.  A community-supported USAID effort to repair the damaged ditches is bringing business back to the market and improving Afghan perceptions of foreign aid.

Like many Afghans, Gul Marjan has been enthusiastic to tackle the challenges facing his country.  As director of the city of Gardez Water Supply Department, Marjan and his 15 employees faced overwhelming issues, including a lack of financial resources, equipment, and office space.  Moreover, the department could only cover about a third of its operating costs because too many customers were not paying their utility bills: Some customers had not paid their bills in 10 years.

Kishim has long been a stopover for truckers and passengers exhausted from trips on nearly impassable roads in northeastern Afghanistan. Long-haul and delivery trucks crowded each other and interfered with foot traffic. Clay and dust, stirred up by traffic, coated the merchandise.

After 30 years of war, many Afghan families lost their primary income earners: their fathers, husbands, and sons, leaving widows and children to fend for themselves with limited skills or resources.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015