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.

Distributing accurate and unbiased information in a country without a tradition of free press is a challenge.  However, USAID, through the Journalist Training Program under the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), developed a tri-language website (English-Dari-Pashto) that delivers content related to politics, society, and the history of Afghanistan.

Livestock and livestock products are the main source of income for many remote communities throughout Faryab Province.  Improving their health is of primary importance to increase prospects for licit sales growth in the northern region of Afghanistan.  However, worm parasite infections of livestock reduce fertility, weight, and milk production, leading to significant economic loss.  Additionally, access to veterinary care in rural Afghanistan is limited

The Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture Plus (AVIPA Plus) distribution of vegetable seed, fertilizers, and vegetable row cover material in Nad-e Ali district is helping bring a new level of prosperity to thousands of farmers in this central district of Hilmand province, Afghanistan

USAID, through its Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture Plus (AVIPA Plus) program, has delivered the first batch of 4,000 irrigation pumps to Marja district in Hilmand province, Afghanistan.  The pumps will benefit rural farm families by bringing much needed water to fields that will soon see a distribution of red onion, spinach, turnip, radish, carrot, and cauliflower seeds, and fertilizers.

When water is scarce, rural Afghan communities often have to compete with their neighbors for the vital resource, leading to tension between communities.  Four villages in Kunar province with a long history of conflict were recently brought together by a USAID-funded pipe network to bring running water to communal pumps throughout the village.  The project has increased access to clean water and removed many of the causes of discord between these communities.

For the last decade, talc miners and traders have operated individually in the sector resulting in less productivity and lower revenues.  The lack of coordination has also resulted in insufficient exposure necessary for obtaining assistance from government and development programs.  That is expected to soon change as talc miners and traders from across Nangarhar Province founded the industry’s first ever Talc Association in Jalalabad.  During the opening event, more than 250 members elected the director, deputy director, and other board members of their association.

Forty thousand hectares of land in Kandahar are covered with dark green fruit and nut tree orchards, a vivid contrast to the candescent sand dunes and ashen gravel plains in other parts of the province.  These trees date back to pre-Soviet times, when Afghanistan contributed 65 percent of the world’s dried fruit and nut exports.  Over the decades of war in this area, however, many of the trees were burnt down or cut for fuel.  Today, many of the remaining trees have grown old, while the knowledge of tree care, handed down from one generation to the next, has grown old too, or vanished altogether

The famous Kandahari orchards in times of peace boast Kismish and Ayta grapes, apricots, figs, almonds, and the most illustrious of them all – pomegranates, whose succulent fruit has been a long-standing emblem of this region.  Orchards are vulnerable to the vicissitudes of war: trees that have taken years or decades to develop may be destroyed in an instant.  However, not all enemies of the trees are human: insects can be more dangerous to a tree than a thousand bullets.

The beauty of central Bamyan province’s six cobalt-blue Band-e-Amir lakes always stuns visitors.  Natural travertine dams, created by calcium deposits over many years, support the lakes.  They stretch across the valley in long graceful arcs, and merge into a strikingly beautiful landscape of stone, desert, and water.  The vistas rival those of national parks anywhere in the world.

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Last updated: January 16, 2015