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.

More than 30 years of deforestation has severely damaged Ghazni agriculture. In the 1970s, most of Afghanistan’s 2.5 million hectares of forest grew in Ghazni and other provinces near the border with Pakistan. Today, nearly 90% of these forests have been lost.
“I do not have enough money to bring water from the river to my farm, so my fields are dry,” says 52-year-old Haji Lal Khan. The sole supporter of a family of 13, Haji Khan has spent the better part of his adult life as a driver-for-hire, while considering himself a farmer.

For many children in the 40 new unregistered migrant settlements outside of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, access to school is restricted by poverty and a lack of legal residency. Mamasabyt Raiyimberdy uulu is one of these children. At 13, he was illiterate and had never attended school because he needed to work in the bazaar to make money for his family. To add to the meager wages his mother earned by selling bananas, Mamasabyt needed to earn about $4 per day, which he did by collecting and selling used boxes.

To reach out to kids like Mamasabyt, USAID has started providing small grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in these settlement areas. One of the 10 participating NGOs, the Councils for Human Rights, organized a two-month Summer Education Camp for 21 school dropouts from six new settlements around Bishkek. These camps aimed to provide access to a friendly learning environment for children from socially vulnerable families, as well as to create a positive environment for studying, playing sports, helping each other and making friends.

CHALLENGE Corrupt practices are strongly entrenched and widespread in Afghanistan, leaving substantial discretionary power to civil servants at all levels, making abuse of power and position commonplace, and reducing government’s legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. There are insufficient controls or enforcement to prevent or deter these corrupt practices that promote inequality and discourage foreign investment.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti disrupted bank, microfinance institution, credit union, and remittance paying agent operations. Access to financial services required even greater travel time and longer waits due to damaged roads and destroyed financial institution buildings. The need for convenient, secure and affordable financial services became more apparent than ever.

In response, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pioneered the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI). HMMI provides incentives to encourage private sector development of mobile money services in Haiti, where only an estimated 15 percent of Haitians have access to financial institutions. At the end of 2010, through mobile phone companies Digicel and Voila, the initiative launched two mobile money services, TchoTcho Mobile and T-Cash. Clients are now able to make payments, send and receive transfers, and keep balances safely and conveniently on their mobile phones.


Ramavadh is a progressive landowner farmer in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. With limited access to extension services, he depended on resource-intensive traditional agricultural practices that did not substantially increase his yield. In 2009, in order to improve his farm yield and income, Ramavadh joined the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project that is supported by USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.

On September 3, 2012, USAID’s Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan (TAFA) project trained more than 30 businesswomen on methods to access international markets and increase their sales.


Last updated: August 18, 2014