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.

2 APRIL 2013 | WARDAK, AFGHANISTAN
 
It was a fair unlike any other in Wardak, eastern Afghanistan. More than 800 attended the event in the provincial capital Maidan Shahr that showcased government and private-sector services available to the community.
 

Charles Majura used to spend days speeding through the congested streets of Dar es Salaam on his motorbike collecting stamps from various government offices spread around town. Even when he found the proper office, he couldn’t be confident that the government officer would be there. Failure to collect the proper stamps cost freight forwarders like Majura time. That time translates to lost money for East African businesses, congestion for the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) and lost revenue for the government of Tanzania.

Selamawit Teklu lives on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a town known for the high numbers of traditional weavers from southern Ethiopia settling there. Traditional weavers are respected for their skills and tradition, yet Teklu and her neighbors are viewed as social outcasts with little upward mobility. They work from home to produce traditional Ethiopian wraps called gabis, which they sell to the local market through a series of middlemen.

The mission of Rural-Urban Development Initiative (RUDI), a Tanzanian non-governmental organization, has been to help smallholder rice farmers in central Tanzania increase profits through better farming and increased access to markets.

In 2009, RUDI approached the USAID Competitiveness and Trade Expansion (COMPETE) Trade Hub with a grant proposal for training, improved storage facilities, access to finance, collective marketing and high quality machines to process rice.

The African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), in partnership with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and USAID COMPETE, held its 7th annual Kenya National Taste of Harvest (ToH) Coffee Competition at the Coffee Research Foundation in Ruriu, Kenya, Jan. 28-30, 2013.

Rocky Rhodes, renowned coffee roaster and quality instructor from the United States, led a team of seven certified Kenyan “Q” Graders or qualified coffee cuppers, to examine and evaluate 74 Arabica coffees from 52 producers. “The Kenyan coffees rise above most others,” Rhodes said. “This coffee is magical.”

“Amazing, but I have to put some of my villagers on the waiting list,” smiles Shalva Grigalashvili, plumber and tile-setter from Kvishkheti community in Khashuri municipality. “More and more people in Kvishkheti feel a need to put appropriate tourism infrastructure in place and start to upgrade their houses to attract more visitors,’” explains Shalva. As a popular tourist destination inGeorgia, the income of the Kvishkheti population significantly depends on the tourism revenues accrued each summer.

Each year, thousands of women die during pregnancy and childbirth in Mali. Among those who do not die, an unknown number suffer from obstetric fistula, a maternal injury with perhaps the most devastating aftermath. Obstetric fistula can lead to chronic incontinence and severe nerve damage, which can affect a woman’s ability to walk. In addition to the physical damage, women also endure a heavy psycological toll. In up to 90 percent of cases, the baby is stillborn or dies within weeks. And women suffering from this condition are often ostracized by their communities, religious houses of prayer and even their families.

One woman’s dream to help feed her home country is becoming a reality. What started as a home-based business selling small amounts of seeds to neighboring farmers has sprouted into a leading seed company that is advancing food security in Mali.

For many families displaced multiple times during Sri Lanka’s 26-year conflict, they have only recently resettled and restarted their lives. Frequent water scarcity is an extra burden to bear.

Sarifa Fathima is a 56-year-old mother of four and grandmother of three. She lives with her husband and daughter while her son lives with his wife and three children in an adjoining house. Their main income comes from rice farming.

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Last updated: August 19, 2014