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.
In Bohol province in the Philippines, a weary mother watched as a midwife approached the rickety hospital bed where she sat. Her newborn lay feverish in a corner at the edge of the bed beside two other newborns and their mothers; one infant possibly with a rising infection. This was typical in government-owned hospitals, but for Corazon "Azon" Paras, the attending midwife, it did not seem fair that mothers and their infants should be in this plight.
Born to a poor family herself, Paras knew the frustration of not being able to afford quality health care. Upon becoming a registered midwife, she began her career caring for the poorest of communities in Bohol. At the government hospital, Paras worked within the limits of the public health system. Congestion was one of the pressing challenges.
Santa Rosa City, located close to Metro Manila, was in the headlines in 2009 because of the high number of H1N1 flu cases: 37, including 1 fatality. The city also registered high incidence of diarrhea among children under 5. Because of this, the city government decided to implement a campaign to promote the practice of handwashing, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhea by more than 45 percent. The USAID Philippine Sanitation Alliance assisted the city in developing the campaign using the USAID 10-Step Promotion Toolkit to improve hygiene and sanitation as a guide.
Women in rural Liberia are often unaware that Liberian divorce law grants them the right to half of all property amassed during marriage. Even if they know about the law, many women are deterred by the high costs and social stigma associated with taking a case to formal courts. With support from USAID, the Carter Center and Catholic Justice and Peace Commission now support 45 community legal advisors in seven counties around Liberia. Approximately half of all cases involve female clients. Through this program, USAID is helping to make the rule of law a reality for ordinary Liberians, often for the first time.
In a small village in southeastern Madagascar, a group of 20 single women are working together to increase their incomes and their independence. For the past two years, they have benefited from a USAID program to improve food security and nutrition among nearly 100,000 vulnerable households.
10 JULY 2012 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
Last updated: January 08, 2014