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.

Municipalities in Afghanistan do not receive funding from Kabul. They finance a hundred percent of their budget from their own revenues.  Improving collections and finding new sources of revenue is critical to long-term sustainability and the delivery of services to residents.  With the assistance of USAID’s RAMP UP West project, the municipalities of Chaghcharan, Farah, Herat and Qaleh Naw analyzed their revenue collection process, identifying bottlenecks and weak points.  They also examined under-reported and uncollected sources.  Based on this analysis, each municipality developed its own, locally appropriate strategy to increase revenues and took action accordingly.

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.

Nestled against the Pakistani border to the east and the highly-kinetic north Barmal region, Shkin’s youth are particularly vulnerable to messaging and recruitment by anti-government actors. USAID’s Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative (ASI) worked on building Shkin’s youth capacity by connecting them  to the Afghan government and community elders. Initially, the youth from various tribes and sub-tribes in the region was invited to a two-day youth jirga also attended by several tribal leaders from Shkin, including the Shkin Shura Chief, the de facto government representative in the area.

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.

In June 2012, these  businesswomen, who variously run fleets of trucks, supply construction material, design software programs and make furniture, went to India to seek new deals, training and technology from Indian companies. The three-day Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan drew 124 Indian businesses representatives – more than twice the number expected to attend.

Municipal officials in Taloqan, Takhar Province, have enthusiastically embraced the responsibility to keep their city clean, following a trash collection project supported by USAID. For three days starting on August 27, 2012, the municipality funded and organized a cleaning campaign for the city’s market and business areas, and mobilized over 300 citizens, civil society members, and business owners to join in.

After spending years working in Kabul to turn Afghanistan into a global market player, Safir Sahar has taken his mission to the next level. In August, the former USAID project manager began working to promote his country’s economic interests as Afghanistan’s first Commercial Attaché in Geneva, Switzerland, home to the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and hundreds of major multinational corporations. 

While pregnancy and childbirth are traditionally the domain of Filipino women, decisions surrounding these issues are often strongly influenced by their male partners. Recognizing the role of men in household decision making, USAID spearheaded a congress on family health to encourage and reinforce male involvement in family planning and maternal and child health. The Alban Men's Congress, dubbed “Macho Talk: Responsible Father, Caring Husband,” took place in Tabaco City in 2010 with 110 male participants—local officials, teachers, farmers, fishermen, vendors and others.

The Afghan government is struggling to extend its presence at the national, provincial and district levels and gain legitimacy in the eyes of a disenfranchised population.  This is particularly true in Khogyani District, where recent political turmoil, allegations of corruption, and repeated replacement of the district governor have significantly undermined the public’s perception of the Afghan government’s ability to govern.  Khogyani residents view the lack of adequate education for their children as a major problem in their community.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015