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.

Although they are largely preventable, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and measles are the main diseases that kill children under age five in Timor-Leste, which has among the highest child mortality rates in southeast Asia. To improve the diagnosis and treatment of sick children, USAID lends support to a project working to improve skills and health services at all levels within the Ministry of Health.

Through the Timor-Leste Integrated Health Assistance project (known locally as TAIS), USAID has taught health workers to assess, classify, and treat the most common types of childhood illnesses. Last year, more than 15,000 children were treated for pneumonia by USAID-trained health workers.

Oumalkaire Omar Djama is a dynamic and passionate 22-year-old woman from the district of Arta in the Republic of Djibouti who has made the journey from a hopeless, out-of-school youth to a successful truck driver and supervisor at one of the country's largest private construction companies. Djama signed on and completed a four-month driving program last year, supported under USAID/Djibouti's Assistance to Education program, and implemented in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and a private sector driving school called Zaki. The goal of the program is to assist out-of-school youth acquire skills that are in demand in the job market. Djama passed all her courses and obtained a driver's license for heavy equipment vehicles, a field traditionally dominated by men.


Haiti struggles to raise tax revenue. In fact, the country has one of the world’s lowest percentages of tax receipts as a share of GDP, at approximately 9 percent. This hinders the ability of municipalities to provide basic public services, such as waste management. With an expanded tax base, the Haitian Government seeks to improve the quality and scope of its services and decrease dependency on foreign aid.

Dang Tran Khanh runs his fingers along his motorcycle chain. “My father bought this plastic-coated chain to prevent abrasions,” he said. “It used to be for chaining me [so I could not leave home in search of drugs]. Now my dad and I use it to lock up the motorbike, to keep it from getting stolen at lunch.” Khanh is a former Hanoi drug user, who appears among the more than 100 photos in “Face-to-Face with Drugs”—Vietnam's first photo exhibition on the lives of drug users. The event was organized by USAID and its partners and launched with PEPFAR funding in June 2011 in Hanoi and November 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Bonobos are a great ape species found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are an important part of the ecosystem but threatened by poaching and inadequate natural resource management. In the Salonga National Park in the Congo Basin, USAID supports the work of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) to protect the endangered ape. 

C. Elilmegawarnan gazed happily at her new temporary identity card, scarcely believing that she had received it within a week of applying.

Elilmegawarnan is one of the thousands of residents in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka who lost their identity and legal documents because of multiple displacements during the country’s 26-year civil conflict.

CHALLENGE Women have severely limited opportunities to education in Afghanistan. Being denied basic educational rights, as well as lacking access to new technologies and innovative communication tools, significantly inhibits progress towards gender equality in Afghanistan. This form of discrimination deafens the voice and opinion of women in civil society.

Amina Abdullahi is just one of thousands in Nigeria who have contracted polio, an infectious, viral disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Many of those who have contracted polio face discrimination in Nigeria and find it difficult to lead a normal life. For Abdullahi, the situation worsened when her father died and she became the sole provider for her family. Although trained as a tailor, she could not find employers who would let her practice in their shop. Abdullahi learned of the Kano Polio Victims Trust Association, an organization set up to provide financial and technical support, including vocational training, for its members so they can engage in cottage industries to support their families. Learning of the situation, USAID provided the association with new equipment, including 10 sewing machines, five knitting machines and two specialized embroidery machines. The news spread fast among association members, and Abdullahi and most of the other trainees returned to the center, along with 23 new members in the tailoring classes.


Last updated: December 20, 2013