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.
It is an upbeat statement and Mr Mohammad goes on to explain why the building work was so important. The school was so badly damaged, he recalls, that most of the classrooms and toilets were unusable. “The doors and windows were broken,” he adds. It made for low morale among students and teachers alike. Every day, fewer children came to class and many teachers sought work elsewhere. Shamal High School’s decline was a matter of great concern because it was the only one in the district.
It took just $2,000 to transform Bibi Sediqa Musawi’s house. But it changed her life and that of her soldier husband and their three children. Till she heard about home improvement loans, the family lived in a cramped windowless house without a kitchen or a front door. It was all they could afford.
Abdul Matin is hard at work in his ceramics workshop in Kabul but he regards each turquoise bowl as so much more than a piece of pottery. To Mr Matin, it represents the history and traditions of Afghanistan, more than 400 years of creative skills passed down from generation to generation.
Like many Afghan refugees who fled Taliban rule in the 1990s, Laila returned from Iran in 2011, glad to be home but worried about the future. The mother of five was unsure how she would keep her family fed. It took two classes in rearing silkworms for Laila to realize that this might be the answer.
Until recently, farmers in eastern Afghanistan dreamt of a good harvest but were unable to make it a reality. Their orchards suffered from poor management and irrigation practices, and crucially, the inability to control winter pests. Then USAID started to educate them in February 2012 on the benefits of a pesticide called dormant, or winter, oil.
Virus-resistant citrus plants are offering healthier prospects to farmers in eastern Afghanistan. Diseased rootstock has been replaced by 500,000 seedlings planted across 1,500 acres in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar provinces between 2010 and 2012. Five years from now, they are expected to yield a rich harvest every year, earning an estimated $3 million in combined fruit sales.
Last updated: January 20, 2015