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.

In 2008, francophone Rwanda instituted an audacious education policy to support its development goals. The government purported that shifting from French to English was key to regional and global business and trade, as was joining the anglophone East African Community and the Commonwealth of Nations.   

The year 2013 marked a number of achievements in Rwanda. First, the national airline announced its first female pilot. Then the World Bank ranked Rwanda as the third easiest economy to do business with in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is on a positive path.

These achievements would not have been possible without individuals with lightning-quick problem-solving, logic, and intelligent decision-making skills—all developed through mathematics, which begins in primary school.

New, wild forest seedlings are finally seeing the light again in Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park. They are slowly taking back areas previously covered with a layer of opportunistic ferns. After a wildfire, the forest soil is quickly colonized by a thick, persistent layer of ferns, which thrive in disturbed areas. The ferns dominate, impeding the ability of other wild species to germinate.

Diogène*, 37, lives in Rwanda’s Eastern province. In March 2012, he began to feel ill. He was short of breath, couldn’t walk up hills, and had chest pains. Luckily for Diogène, he holds community-based health insurance (CBHI), which enabled him to see a doctor at the Ngarama district hospital, where he was diagnosed with heart disease.

Jean Ndayishimiye, 21, lives in Rwanda’s Kirehe district, where he bought a piece of land in 2012. He soon found out that Jean Marie Vianney Nteziryayo, 27, had purchased a piece next to his. Each was interested in increasing the size of their plot, but the only way to do so was to expand into the plot of the other. Both wanting to maintain the full piece of land they’d purchased, a dangerous feud was sparked between the neighbors. 

It took just one flyer to get Leyaqat Khan thinking about his rights and responsibilities as a citizen and what he could reasonably expect from the municipal authorities in Jalalabad. His was one of 800 households the city targeted by 50 young volunteers to raise public awareness about local government.

At 26, Ahmad Shah Aazami thought his life was over. A landmine had blown off both his arms and the young man felt despondent and helpless.

When Helmand in southern Afghanistan organized a sports tournament to give young people the chance to test themselves and learn teamwork, it was a first for the province.

When a recent survey of residents of Herat revealed they knew little or nothing about municipal services, local officials realized it was time to get creative. With support from USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations West (RAMP UP) program, Herat municipality organized a documentary film competition titled Herat From a Citizen’s Perspective.

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Last updated: December 31, 2014