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.

Haitian mango farmers like Gardien Saintvil receive the best price for their fruit by selling it when ripe. But Saintvil has a powerful incentive to harvest too early and sacrifice much of the value of his mangoes.

“I often had to choose between selling my mangoes before they are ripe, or selling a goat when the price is low,” said Saintvil, who lives near the city of Hinche in central Haiti. “I’ve always appreciated the value of mango trees, so I try not to sell my mangoes early, but sometimes I had no choice.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently facing a complex food security situation, exacerbated by a rapidly deteriorating economy, a decline of overall agricultural production, plant diseases and years of armed conflict, which have limited the availability of staple crops such as cassava, maize and plantain. Childhood stunting and growth faltering is highly prevalent. High rates of childhood stunting are common across most regions of the DRC, but particularly high in rural regions. 

Almost half of all the children in Madagascar under age 5 are stunted due to poor nutrition. Inadequate nutrition in the first few years of a child’s life will have negative, long term physical and mental consequences. A Catholic Relief Services (CRS) development food assistance program funded by USAID aims to combat malnutrition in 592 different villages in Madagascar.

Mauritania, located in the Sahel region of West Africa, experiences high levels of food insecurity with 42 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The majority of people in eastern and southern Mauritania survive on subsistence farming and herding. In 2012, a severe drought and resulting high food prices further reduced food security among many communities and households. A food assistance program implemented by Counterpart International (CPI) supported the creation of Village Development Committees throughout Mauritania to improve food security. 

In northern Ethiopia, the rocky, dry Tigray region experiences high food insecurity and frequent shocks. In Mereb Leke wareda, a district within Tigray region, roughy a third of the population of 117,000 lives below the poverty line and produces only about a third of their annual food needs. They get by through market purchases and food received through a social safety net program.

The Productive Safety Net Program, or PSNP, was launched by the Government of Ethiopia in 2005 to help food-insecure families access food 12 months a year and protect community assets through public works projects. USAID is one of nine donors funding this program.

In Madagascar, the island nation off the east coast of Africa, most farmers cannot grow enough to feed their families for an entire year. Since 2009, a USAID program, implemented by CARE, works in the most rural and poverty stricken regions of Madagascar to teach farmers new farming methods and link them together to improve production.

As the world marks November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, USAID is making the United Nations’ aims a reality in Afghanistan. USAID has helped Afghanistan’s Department of Women’s Affairs (DoWA) create new opportunities for women to engage with government in Herat and Farah in the west of the country.

After decades of divide-and-rule tactics by the Qadhafi regime, intense fighting among communities during the revolution, and a series of human rights abuses and retaliations, the Libyan Government is now focused on stabilizing basic governance and security. Simultaneously, civil society is working to create a holistic transitional justice strategy.



Last updated: January 07, 2014