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 2009, Hamsa Haji Hussain returned from the United Kingdom to the small town of Beer in Somaliland to manage over 3,000 hectares of farmland inherited from his father. He had earned a degree in business administration in the U.K. and started an enterprise there.

“But I always knew I was going to come back home and follow in my father’s footsteps,” says Hussain. When Hussain first saw his land, he was shocked at the contrast with England’s lush countryside. “But once the rain fell, I saw the river flow and realized the potential,” he says.

Abdirisaq Noor saw a fundamental problem with Somaliland livestock: branding. Noor was not referring to marking livestock with a hot iron, but the marketing of Somali livestock.

“You can taste the difference in Somali livestock meat. It’s fresh, it’s grass fed, it’s organic,” he explains. “But until now, no Somali has branded their livestock meat as organic and free range.”

He held a piece of paper to his chest and tried to explain what he had drawn: a painted wall where he used to sit and sniff glue, and a restaurant where he begged for food. “They used to kick us away and pour hot water on us,” said 12-year-old Abdi Omar Yusuf.

Abdi now lives at the Janno Jiif Street Kids & Rehabilitation Center, located on the outskirts of Somaliland’s capital city, Hargeisa. Run by Somaliland’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the center houses over 100 street children who have been displaced or fled from Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia.

For years, Habibullah, a potato farmer in Afghanistan’s northern province of Faryab, struggled to support his family. His land never yielded enough to pay for everything his three children needed. “I needed to buy wheat, oil, sugar, clothes, stationary and medicine” but there were never enough potatoes, Habibullah recalls.
For Shamim and Mohammad Hafiz, microfinance is a business partner that they cannot do without. Each received a small loan to expand their business and each says the capital made a big difference to profits and prospects. Small loans can bring about big change. Small businesses often need just a small amount to implement big changes and bring their businesses to a sustainable level. 
Insurgents killed Babo’s husband three years ago, and soon after the grieving widow’s four sons left home as well. There was little work for them in their home district of Arghandab in Afghanistan’s volatile southern province of Kandahar. Babo’s sons headed for the city but their remittances home were sporadic. “My children sent money when they can, but I couldn’t always rely on it,” recalls Babo.

In Vietnam, villagers and authorities bent on halting the spread of avian influenza are now adept at stopping infected chickens from crossing the road. And they are gaining ground on the bigger challenge of keeping hens and ducks from crossing the country's borders to prevent outbreaks which threaten vast flocks of poultry and human health.

Tại Việt Nam, người dân địa phương và chính quyền trước đây gặp nhiều khó khăn trong ngăn chặn sự lây lan dịch bệnh thì giờ đây đã rất thành thạo trong việc kiểm soát để người dân không thả rông gia cầm nhiễm bệnh. Và họ đang ngày càng kiểm soát tốt hơn nạn buôn lậu gia cầm xuyên biên giới để ngăn chặn các ổ dịch bùng phát gây đe dọa cho các đàn gia cầm lớn và sức khỏe con người.

For years, Nadir Shah Kot district in eastern Afghanistan was so badly affected by insurgent violence it was off-limits to Afghan government agencies, and crucial irrigation infrastructure and flood barriers fell into disrepair. The district depends on agriculture but the crops withered without adequate irrigation even as years of flooding laid waste to fields.


Last updated: December 26, 2013