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.

Building trust and leadership among Burma’s nascent civil society is key to a lasting, peaceful transition. But after decades of repression and division, those leading Burma’s reforms often face personal and professional obstacles affecting their ability to bridge gaps and forge alliances.

To be effective advocates for peace, these civil society leaders need to better understand how personal perceptions can affect professional relationships, and how these relationships can steer Burma’s political reform.  

Arab uprisings across the Middle East in recent years were built on the hopes and aspirations of a new generation of the region’s youth. However, due to high unemployment and struggling economies across the region, many college graduates find it hard to get a good job.

In March 2013, the unthinkable happened in Benghazi—a group of female leaders from six cities gathered to talk about women’s involvement in drafting the new constitution, ending violence and discrimination against women, and conducting grassroots advocacy campaigns to protect women’s rights. As the people strive to build a democratic future, a new voice is being heard—the voice of Libyan women.

With USAID assistance, 518 student leaders in Sri Lanka broke ethnic and religious divides to participate in a five-day Future Leaders Conference to Stand Up Against Hate Speech in June 2013. The students came from 58 high schools in all 25 districts of the country and were led by university students representing schools countrywide.

To see Ana* today, poised and pretty at 15, it is almost impossible to imagine her as a starving baby, jostling along the rutted roads of her Georgian village in a handmade wheelbarrow full of junk.

Ana’s father had little choice. His wife had abandoned the family, leaving him sole caregiver for four children, including baby Ana. He struggled with mental illness, making him irascible and explosive—and hard to employ. So he took the baby with him on the rare occasions when he found odd jobs.

The Kabul Public Library, Afghanistan’s largest and oldest, has more than 200,000 books, but none evoke more pride than its newest acquisitions. They are the first locally published books in the library to bear ISBNs, the unique 13-digit International Standard Book Number that identifies each title’s country of origin, publisher and edition.

Haiti faces many challenges—some of the most serious being unemployment and waste management. For the latter, the growing piles of plastic, tin, aluminum, cardboard, Styrofoam and other trash pollute and diminish the natural beauty of the country's landscape.
 

The youth of Kosovo, including activists with political party forums, are using social media more frequently for their campaigns. Stepping further away from traditional media, their aim is to raise awareness about issues using networks like Facebook, Twitter and other forums to create community pages with photography, logos and visuals.

Active citizens are at the core of a vibrant democracy. With USAID support, municipalities are directly engaging with citizens in decision-making processes. Holding public hearings during municipal budget development is one of the main ways officials are incorporating citizen input in a meaningful way.

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Last updated: January 16, 2015