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.
For decades, conflict-affected communities in Burma have experienced limited international assistance. However, the country's recent political reforms have reversed that trend—but with a cost. Despite the best of intentions, the newfound assistance has the potential to shift power dynamics and exacerbate local conflict by inadvertently shifting power dynamics and introducing new resources to be competed over.
In 2012, the mayor’s office in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, imposed a yearly licensing fee of $50 (25,000 CFA) on each transporter and taxi driver. Revenue from the licensing fee was intended for road repairs and other improvements to transportation infrastructure in Bouaké. However, the roads remained in a state of complete disrepair, and attempts to collect the fee triggered protests and refusals to pay among transporters and taxi drivers who saw the fee as unreasonable since they did not see the funds put to good use.
When word of the demonstration spread through Facebook, Inas Miloud was ready to act. Sitting at a USAID-supported information center in western Libya’s Nafusa Mountains, Miloud got online and exchanged messages with other activists who were planning to rally for women’s representation on the committee that will draft the nation’s new constitution. On June 1, 2013, she traveled to Tripoli, took to the street, and made her voice heard.
“Without the information center, I would not have heard about the demonstration or been able to take part,” said Miloud.
Vesa Gashi has a plan for anyone and everyone in Kosovo with a reason to celebrate. Whether you’re getting married, celebrating a birthday or just hankering to party, Gashi, 26, is here to help. Since Gashi began her own event management company in 2012, she has planned more than 150 bashes, soirées and other parties.
“I offer everything and even if I don’t have it, I find it,” says Gashi. “I make it happen.”
Egmend Daija has always made an art of his work as an artisan, designing and creating by hand one-of-a-kind purses, briefcases and just about every other kind of product that can be sewn from leather. Daija has replaced the leather interiors of antique cars, upholstered barber chairs and even fabricated cases used to cradle gifts from the Kosovo Government to the White House and the Vatican.
“When I design something, I see it already made before I even start,” says Daija, who excelled in painting and drama before starting as a leatherworker’s apprentice at age 14.
Working diligently inside heated greenhouses built with USAID assistance, Pleurat Buçaj hustles to fill orders pouring in from all quarters.
There are petunias for export to Italy, and cyclamens for Serbia. And for the Kosovo market, Buçaj readies thousands of geraniums, propagated from cuttings, for sale through local supermarkets and flower stands. Imported ficus, palms and other ornamental plants account for a third of his fledgling business.
In late April 2012, the mayor of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, issued a resolution to extend Monuev Street by 480 meters—which would displace 22 houses in the process. On May 22, Osh’s chief architect announced the plan to local media and informed them of ongoing community meetings and housing appraisals to compensate those to be affected by the city development efforts.
Last updated: December 06, 2013