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.

In Orya Khil Village in Kabul Province, wooden culverts were causing a problem for residents and travelers.  The structures were not sturdy enough to withstand rain, floods, and heavy traffic, leading to muddy and washed-out roads.  Residents were unable to access markets, schools, and government and basic health services, especially during the winter months.  Because the village lies on a widely traveled road to unstable and insecure provinces, it had also turned into an area of insurgent activity

Hamkari de Kandahar Lepara (cooperation for Kandahar) is the Afghan Government’s strategy to provide the people of Kandahar with security, representative governance, and social service delivery through the Afghan Government and the international community.  The plan combines improved governance with development and stabilization efforts in Kandahar City, a previous Taliban stronghold that has suffered from a lack of community engagement with the government.

Women in Hilmand Province, located in Afghanistan’s conservative south, live under extremely restrictive conditions.  They rarely leave their homes and it is difficult for development activities to reach them.  Nevertheless, the Department of Women’s Affairs has played an active role in the province since 2002, maintaining women’s centers in several locations that serve as the only resource centers where women can socialize, receive vocational training, and hold events.

For the past eight months, farmers in the southern Afghan district of Marja have lived in fear of accepting government or foreign aid.  Assassinations, road bombs, and night letters intimidated the local population.

It’s harvest time again in Arghandab, in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.  At an orchard near the village of Mian Juy, pickers on high pomegranate branches drop fruit into the hands of waiting packers.  Zahir Shah, a local buyer, moves among them, tabulating numbers on a clipboard.  He’s been buying pomegranates wholesale for seven years, and he says he’s never seen a harvest like this one.

On Friday, Super Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines with the strength of one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land. Although the toll of destruction is not yet clear, we know that millions of people have been affected, including thousands of people who have lost their lives, homes, or livelihoods. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Philippines and the humanitarian teams that are working around the clock to save lives.

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. 

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Last updated: March 30, 2015