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.

One April night, 19-year-old Ilionelle* was struggling to give birth at her home in rural northwest Haiti. After several hours, she began having seizures, a clear indication of pre-eclampsia, a severe medical disorder that can lead to the death of the mother and the baby.

The lives of women in five villages in Afghanistan’s Farah province are set to change and it’s all because of Pashto literacy classes. Women like 23-year-old Homira of Gerani village say they already feel empowered.

Ninety-four individuals representing 33 community-based organizations from war-torn areas of Sri Lanka’s Northern province came together over three weeks in the town of Vavuniya to participate in workshops focused on social accountability, good governance and community needs. The workshops, held in December 2012 and January 2013, marked the first time many of these organizations had the opportunity to travel outside of the northern capital of Jaffna and interact with communities from other parts of the country.

Through USAID’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization project, more than 20 young Somalis captured the city’s rebirth with a photography project they named My Mogadishu. Youth used cameras to capture daily life: exchanging money at a street bureau, buying charcoal in a local market.

When Somaliland’s local council elections sparked protests in the winter of 2012-2013, government representatives, women and young people used the new Aynabo community hall to discuss conflict resolution.

“Somalis value dialogue. There is a famous saying: ‘To talk is to reconcile.’ This venue is providing a healthy space to resolve conflict. Issues arising from election-related tension were discussed,” said Aynabo elder Abokor Farah Ismail.

As legislation in Somaliland thrives through increased constituent and legislator dialogue, everyone can follow the progress on Since the launch of the website in early 2013, staff have seen a steadily growing stream of visitors to the site, according to the non-profit International Republican Institute, which implemented the project with assistance from USAID. The site is part of comprehensive USAID support to elections, parliament and government responsiveness across Somaliland.

Somalia's new parliament, formed in August 2012, provides for two chambers--the upper house, which is pending formation, and the lower house--or House of the People, the country's national legislative body. This house, currently with 275 members,  is taking shape as parliament has established new committees tasked with considering policy issues, scrutinizing the progress and expenditures of the government, and analyzing legislation.


Through USAID assistance, a new economic corridor is emerging in a formerly isolated and war-torn part of eastern Sri Lanka. The Kiran area was cut off from the outside world during Sri Lanka's nearly 30-year civil war between the government and Tamil rebels, and its population today is largely unskilled with limited livelihood opportunities.


Last updated: December 20, 2013