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.

July 2014—In the rural outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi, a 9-year-old boy named Jofati Levison stands in front of a wall with giant letters written across it. David Kaphikire, a parent from the same village, stands next to him. A crowd gathers as Jofati takes a breath and begins to speak in a loud, clear voice.

June 2014—A new opportunity for Kosovo’s farmers has sent up its first tender green shoots, only to see them quickly harvested, cooled, packaged and sold to an enthusiastic public.

Kosovo produced its first asparagus crop in 2014, marking the culmination of a three-year effort by USAID to introduce cultivation of the spring delicacy.

During this debut eight-week season, 11 local growers sold more than 2 tons of asparagus spears. The growers cooperatively marketed the asparagus under the brand name Viridis, which is Latin for young, green and fresh.

June 2014—While Rwanda has made dramatic progress in decreasing child mortality, chronic malnutrition remains high among children under the age of 5. This hurts not only the economy, but also the welfare of the young. Some people are standing up against the odds, however, taking on the fight against malnutrition.

One such person is Verdiane Mushimiyimana, 41, who lives in a rural district about two hours outside of Kigali, the capital.

June 2014—On a sunny Monday afternoon, dozens of children have gathered just outside the small village of Mbeti, Malawi. One group sits in a circle, reading a story about a hippo and a hare. Another group practices syllables out loud: “dwa, dwe, dwi.” Another plays an educational version of hopscotch, calling out names of letters written in each square.

June 2014—Like many girls in Malawi, 7-year-old Stella Chibonga did not feel safe at school. She hadn't yet mastered the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, and she performed far below grade level. She had trouble keeping up with the curriculum. Her first grade teacher, Melia Swaleyi, said that other children laughed at her because, when she tried to write, she “held her pencil with five fingers as if she was holding a fresh tilapia fish from the Shire River. She could hardly recognize the letters she was trying to write.”

The fertile soil of the West Bank provides an ideal landscape for dozens of Palestinian fresh herb companies to grow their crops. Most of these companies aim to export their products to the global market, but not all of them have the tools and resources needed to meet global standards and demands.

The town of Al-Mafraq—"the crossroads" in Arabic—was a major intersection of civilizations throughout history. Today, with the conflict in Syria only 10 kilometers away, the town is at a new “crossroad” as it has received a large influx of Syrians fleeing violence. During the two years since the conflict began, Jordan opened its border to more than 540,000 Syrians—housing the majority in local communities rather than refugee camps—straining Jordan’s already limited natural and financial resources.

June 2014—In Mali, women-owned and -operated farms for sorghum and millet crops are common, but it is rare to find women managing the companies that transport and process these grains that are staples in Malian diets.

June 2014—In Peru, the forestry sector has the potential to become one of the most dynamic sectors within the domestic economy. With more than 70 million hectares of Amazonian forest, sustainable timber harvesting can benefit both the region’s workers and its companies.

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Last updated: July 15, 2014