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.

A recent annual perception survey ranks Afghanistan as the second most corrupt country in the world, with only Somalia ranking worse.  Despite this reputation, Afghan governmental officials are making efforts to reduce corruption.  This has included the Afghanistan Supreme Court establishing the country’s first Anti-Corruption Tribunal.

Located in northeastern Afghanistan, Nuristan Province is one of the poorest and most remote provinces in the country.  Few non-government organizations operate there because of poor security and the lack of infrastructure.  The province is unconnected to the national grid.

For five days a week from August to December 2010, Khanom Ghul, a homemaker and a mother of six, attended training on food processing.  She and 234 other young women and housewives from Dast-e-Barchi in the western part of Kabul City learned how to make pickles and jams, while another 321 women from Arzan Qeemat district in Kabul trained on the production of handicrafts.  The women derived income from their newly learned skills at the end of the day by selling their products on the local market.

Afghanistan began importing power from Uzbekistan via the North East Power System and desperately needed engineers with a background in the operation and maintenance of transmission and distribution systems.

Children in Paktya Province face several significant challenges to getting an education.  Many schools in the province lack sufficient infrastructure and are forced to hold classes wherever space can be found, such as in private homes or even outdoors.  Often times, families cannot afford the costs associated with attending school, such as purchasing school supplies.  This lack of service delivery can have a destabilizing effect in Afghan communities.

Situated at the convergence of the Kabul and Alinghar rivers in Laghman Province, Qarghayi District has enjoyed a long tradition of agricultural productivity, supported by an extensive network of canals. However, decades of war left the canal system in a state of disrepair. Floods quickly eroded the canal walls and farmers in the area lost thousands of hectares of arable land, resulting in a shift to subsistence agriculture and a state of enduring poverty.

Because of poor soil and arid growing conditions in the southern Afghan province, fertilizer is crucial for successful harvests. But quality fertilizer, when it can be found in local markets, is cost-prohibitive for most farmers.

Maiwand is a farming community located in the northwestern part of Kandahar Province, in the area where opposition to the government and support for the Taliban has traditionally run deep. That attitude has been changing lately, thanks to the efforts of a progressive district governor, Obaidullah Bawari, and coalition force leaders based in the area.  In the past two years, Maiwand has benefitted from various projects proposed by the governor and supported by USAID.  These initiatives have greatly improved prospects for long-term stabilization and sustained economic growth in the area.

Like many other Afghan pomegranate farmers, Haji Wali Muhammad sold his pomegranates on the local market but did not receive a price that would make his Kandahar-based trading business sustainable.  He and other Afghan producers needed to increase the quality of their pomegranates through proper sorting, grading, and packing procedures and to find outside markets that would offer a competitive price for Afghanistan’s sweet and juicy pomegranates.

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Last updated: January 06, 2015