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-year-old Aidana had been sick for some time. Aileta, her mother, thought it was simply a cold. Then early one morning, the child developed a high temperature. Aidana’s breathing appeared to stop and she lost consciousness and became pale. Panicking, Aileta called an ambulance. The closest children’s hospital was 15 minutes away.
Jyldyz was among the first students to take the National Scholarship Test in Kyrgyzstan. When she learned that she received one of the highest scores, Jyldyz’s first thought was of her best friend Aisuluu, who graduated from the same remote village school a year earlier. The best student at her school, Aisuluu had wanted to study at the medical institute to become a doctor. Her dreams were shattered when she learned that she had failed the scholarship exam.
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country where only seven percent of the land is suitable for agriculture. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the previous collective farms were privatized among the communities, splitting the land into 0.04-0.20 hectare (.09 - .49 acre) allotments per person.
The yield of many crops also decreased during this transition, mainly due to the absence of agricultural knowledge of the new owners and the loss of markets.
Farmer Salijan Saibidinov owns land alongside an irrigation canal in Jalalabat Province’s Shaidan Village in Kyrgyzstan. Each spring, soon after the growing season began, Sailjan’s neighbors would throw trash onto his field while cleaning debris from the canal. His land also would flood when his neighbors overwatered their fields. Pollution and flooding were affecting farmers’ crop yields. In turn, Salijan reduced the amount of water flowing from the canal, thus causing resentment among his neighbors.
Through the assistance of USAID-funded projects, Kyrgyzstan’s agriculture sector is slowly improving, with farmers generating higher personal incomes and having more opportunities to improve their standard of living.
These days it is not unusual to see a long line of cars waiting to be repaired in the front of mechanic Uson Matysakov’s repair shop in Halmion, southern Kyrgyzstan. In June 2008, Uson transformed a once empty building into a bustling auto repair facility. He now has a thriving business thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit, several highly skilled masters, six eager apprentices and new equipment and tools he acquired through a USAID micro-loan.
Muhabbat almost didn't take the job offer. Her daughter, Shahnoza, had originally agreed to be the health outreach worker with a USAID-sponsored program for internally displaced persons in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.
The Yassy community near the city of Turkistan in Southern Kazakhstan, has been swelling in size as urban residents migrate out of the city, displacing farmers, many of whom no longer have access to reliable irrigation. Mounting tensions eased after USAID helped Yassy build an irrigation system to benefit local farmers.
The vast majority of farms in Kazakhstan lack the modern knowhow to operate as effectively and efficiently. With the fall of the Soviet Union, most of the collective farms were split into small, privately owned units that cannot afford agricultural specialists, quality inputs, or modern equipment. Farms are still operated as they were at the beginning of the last century.
Last updated: August 09, 2013