Remarks as prepared for USAID Afghanistan Mission Director Herbert Smith
I also want to congratulate you on the first Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) investment conference that took place here in Nairobi, Kenya, in June of this year. During this conference, US $1.9 billion of priority water and power projects were presented to prospective investors for funding consideration.
(as prepared for delivery)
But I believe that what these voices of fear and distrust, and even hatred, don’t understand – or what they refuse to see – is that the Muslim community – here in the U.S. and around the world – is an essential part of the solution. That Muslims, like others, have played an integral part in spurring decades of progress – they’ve actually made the world a safer, more prosperous place than it has ever been before. And they probably don’t know that many of those who have been targeted so violently in Aleppo over the past couple weeks and months are heroes. And that those heroes – named after the white helmets they wear as they rush toward the sites of bombings and other attacks – are inspired by a simple belief enshrined in the Quran: to save one life is to save humanity.
I’m so happy to be here in Samburu this morning! We are here to participate in the hand-over of the Rapunye community water, sanitation and hygiene — or WASH — facility to help families in Samburu live healthy and resilient lives. This water facility has been supported by USAID to complement the excellent work the Government of Kenya and Samburu County are doing to improve people’s health and prosperity, and is one of the many activities USAID has supported under our APHIAplus IMARISHA project that operates across Kenya’s northern arid lands.
The United States is the largest single provider of Official Development Assistance, and we are committed to focusing these resources in the contexts where they are needed most. Since 2009, the U.S. has spent on average approximately 50 percent of its ODA on Least Developed Countries and non-LDC fragile and conflict-affected states. We are equally committed to ensuring that the quality of our aid is high, and ensuring that the aid we provide is transparent, accountable, results-focused and locally owned.
In the Philippines, USAID has brought together these two priorities – access to water supply access and climate resilience. As we have worked to extend access to safe water and improved sanitation we have searched out the nexus between those important objectives and our quest to foster resilience in communities.
The U.S. continues to work in partnership with the Government of Haiti to assess the extent of damage in Haiti and to prioritize humanitarian cleanup needs. The goal of the U.S. as a friend of Haiti and a partner looks beyond the day to day now, as we have for decades.
As you know, when a crisis hits or a conflict erupts, families get displaced. Children’s lives are uprooted and put under stress. The routines of daily life are disrupted. Children experience and witness violence and other traumatic events either in their home countries or en route to a safe haven. Throughout all of this, children lose opportunities to learn, play and develop in a supportive and caring environment. This is the case no matter where they seek refuge.
So tonight, just as we did ten years ago, we have an opportunity in front of us. If we continue to work together, we can end the suffering of a billion people around the world. We can end preventable blindness, reduce disability and disfigurement, and ease chronic pain. We can build healthier, stronger communities and open lasting pathways out of poverty.
I hope that we seize this opportunity together.
Last updated: April 04, 2017