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.

Hafasa Aubi, an Afghan economics graduate, is defying the country's trend of women’s unemployment. Working as an mHawala (mobile money) agent for Etisalat, a telecommunications company, Aubi is paving the way for other women seeking employment. As an electronic payment system, mHawala allows Afghans to pay utility bills and transfer cash by cell phone.

Ahmad Wasim, a shopkeeper in Faizabad, a city in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, started selling an assortment of artificial flowers and decoration services for weddings and banquet halls in 2010. But his business was seasonal and barely earned enough money to support his family.

In addition to Afghanistan’s social, political and traditional problems, youth in rural Kandahar province, especially in districts far from the city, live in a state of despair, with a strong feeling of future uncertainty. Their major challenge is unemployment, resulting from high rates of illiteracy and lack of bankable skills.

Surrounded by almost 2,000 quacking ducks, Le Thanh Thuong reflects on the changes he has made on his duck breeding farm and hatchery in Can Tho, Vietnam. Previously, his ducks were free range—they drank water from a nearby pond and grazed on small fish and shrimp from rice paddies, which left them undernourished and susceptible to diseases like salmonella and parasites. Poor sanitation and insufficient separation between residential and production areas put his family and workers at risk for picking up diseases from the ducks.

Albania's textile and garment sector accounts for 45 percent of total exports and provides employment to a large number of workers. The government is now looking to the industry to increase employment opportunities, particularly for youth and women.

“When we took office, we didn’t just have an energy problem, we had an ‘energy corpse,’” said Albania’s Minister of Energy and Industry Damian Gjiknuri. “In the distribution sector, there was a total lack of investments and the system operator had accumulated $1.1 billion in debt. We knew we had to do something and we knew we needed outside support.”

Albania has a troubled history with electoral conflict, and the 2013 election was considered an important test for Albania’s democratic development. With a history of corruption scandals and alleged voting fraud, the country looked to technological assistance to avoid the problems of the past.

It’s not easy standing up for gay rights in a country where the government and most citizens see nothing wrong with a Facebook campaign that incites violence against fellow citizens and “outs” certain women as the “five most wanted lesbians in Sarajevo.”

Julijana Tičinović and her husband Bernard filed their first complaint exposing the secret sale of public land in Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in early 2012. At first they fought “the system” alone: three legal venues, three dismissals. Then they approached USAID's anti-corruption network for help—and this time they won.

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Last updated: March 11, 2015