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.

Afghan women have limited opportunities to work outside the family home. Those who take the initiative and start a business, find themselves disadvantaged because they lack knowhow and the networking opportunities available to male counterparts.

Across Kosovo, there is no missing the thousands of children. Kosovo isn’t just one of Europe’s poorest countries, it’s also the youngest. More than 35 percent of its population is under 18. 

Just 10 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 5 attend preschool. Among 5- and 6-year-olds, 70 percent go to school, below the 100 percent target. While tradition accounts in part for the low participation rates, insufficient capacity also plays a role. Indeed, parents say it is harder to get into a public kindergarten than into the University of Prishtina.

The ability of the Georgian fruit and vegetable sector to compete in foreign markets is crucial for the long-term economic development of Georgia. And packaging directly influences just how well the produce can compete.

Wooden boxes, used since the Soviet era, are too heavy and inconvenient for modern handling. As a result, inappropriate packaging was one of the main reasons that Georgian agricultural products could not gain direct access to higher-value market segments such as large supermarkets and food retail chains.

It was still early on a Friday morning at the University of Gafsa, in southwestern Tunisia, but it was easy to spot the newly opened campus career center by a throng of enthusiastic students crowding by its doors. Dozens came to attend the opening ceremony on May 3, 2013, despite hectic end-of-the-year schedules. Within two hours, 70 students had signed in.

“We had one of the most popular bazaars in all of Helmand, then the Taliban came,” Naim Mohammed recalls sadly. As he recounts the story of once-bustling Naw Zad bazaar in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, he describes its metamorphosis into a scene of intense fighting. “It was very bad,” he says. Over the course of a year, the bazaar was destroyed. By 2006, more than 700 shops had been leveled and all but a few of the district’s 50,000 residents fled. The bazaar had been the social and commercial heart of the community, but once the bakery, motorcycle repair shop, tailors and fruit-sellers were gone, there seemed little reason for people to stay. It seemed a grim – and final – postscript to the life of a community.

Arbër Ibrahimi and Korab Zhuja have a finger on the pulse of Kosovo’s dynamic media market. In a little over a year, the business partners (and cousins) have established Kosovo’s only comprehensive media-monitoring company. Their firm, PrimeDB, offers a professional service sought by anyone with a need to know what the local Albanian-language media are saying about everyone and everything.

PrimeDB’s 12 employees monitor Kosovo’s main television, radio, print and online news sources 24/7. The firm also digitizes every word, sound and image.

More than 70 of Kosovo’s most promising up-and-coming entrepreneurs gathered at a first-of-its-kind fair held May 16-18, 2013. The Young Entrepreneurs Fair provided a unique opportunity for these businesses, many of them newly established, to showcase their goods and services before clients, investors and the media.

The fair was sponsored by USAID in partnership with Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. 

In May 2013, USAID began a project management training program for the Georgian State Electrosystem (GSE), a state-owned, profit-making electric company that serves all of Georgia.

At an introductory seminar, 29 mid-level GSE managers were introduced to basic project management methodologies, discussed differences between process and project management, identified project phases, and produced documents and communications. Tests taken before and after the training show a 28 percent increase in participant knowledge. 

Kyrgyzstan's June 2010 constitutional referendum, which came only weeks after violent political change and interethnic violence, was intended to increase government accountability and transparency, and increase citizen participation in initiating and discussing draft laws with the newly formed parliament. By the following year, however, 77 percent of the population still did not understand how to work with the parliament, according to a 2011 survey by the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015