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.

Providing clean running water is an essential city service.  The U.S. Government  is assisting four provincial water supply departments in Afghanistan to improve their productivity and financial performance.  Ultimately, the departments will become self-sustaining commercial enterprises that can expand services and provide safe drinking water to Afghan citizens. 

Stereotypes are fading fast in Afghanistan, where many women are occupying non-traditional positions that were long held by men.  At the USAID-funded Tarakhil Power Plant near Kabul, women are proving that they are every bit as qualified as men to contribute to the development of their country.

Over the past 18 months, Sayed Mohammad, a fruit merchant from Gomen village in Laghman province, has transformed his business from a small, one-man fruit cart into a large fruit and juice stall with employees, and has become the primary supplier of watermelons to cart vendors in the area.  This expansion was made possible when Sayed Mohammad became a member of a Sharia-compliant, USAID-supported credit union.

Afghanistan produces many premium consumer products, including carpets, leather, fresh and dried fruits, handicrafts, gemstones, and marble.  After a long absence, these products are now reaching international markets, where they are recognized for their exceptional quality and value.  Russia is one of these markets, where a recent trade fair of Afghan products kicked off negotiations on sales estimated at $15 million.

The project – a unique partnership between USAID, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club, Nangarhar University, and Afghan partners – is building computer labs with Internet access across Nangarhar province.  With financial, administrative, and operational support from USAID, “Light Up Jalalabad” recently refurbished labs at the Nangarhar Medical School and School of Computer Science.  Whereas the schools once had only a handful of functioning computers each, they now have more than 70 new computers and the equipment to maintain them.

The Mazar Water Supply Department (MWSD) is committed to providing better service to its customers by modernizing and improving its operations.  Its 65 active deep wells produce more than 7,000 cubic meters of water per day – serving more than 17,000 residents of Mazari Sharif.  MWSD is one of four urban water departments receiving support from USAID through its implementing partner International City/County Management Association (ICMA) as part of the Afghanistan Water and Sanitation Activity (CAWSA) Project.  This project helps MWSD supply water to more neighborhoods in Mazar while improving water quality and enhancing operating efficiency. 

Engineer Abdul Jamil Maseh, director of the Mazar Water Supply Department, is committed to providing the best customer service possible for water customers in the city of Mazari Sharif.  With support from the U.S. Government, Eng. Jamil created a customer care depart­ment in October 2009 and launched a customer service hotline.  Now, city residents can call the department to report service problems, leaks, or damaged infrastructure in their neighborhoods. 

Building the capacity of Afghanistan’s professionals is essential for Afghanistan’s successful future.  USAID is committed to providing both development assistance and educational programs that will allow Afghans to maintain and expand the development infrastructure in their country.  In September 2009, USAID launched the sixth round of its engineering internship program with a new class of 21 interns. 

In Afghanistan, everyday heroes risked their lives during periods of violence and repressive rule to preserve their country’s heritage.  To one professor in the Biology Department at Kabul University, each day under the Taliban regime must have held a unique degree of terror as he transferred the university’s extensive herbarium (a collection of preserved plant specimens), piece by piece, to his home for protection.  When the Taliban fell, he returned this precious scientific treasure to the university.  It remained there for years, in a dusty storeroom, waiting to be restored.


Last updated: January 20, 2015