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.

In northern Ethiopia, the rocky, dry Tigray region experiences high food insecurity and frequent shocks. In Mereb Leke wareda, a district within Tigray region, roughy a third of the population of 117,000 lives below the poverty line and produces only about a third of their annual food needs. They get by through market purchases and food received through a social safety net program.

The Productive Safety Net Program, or PSNP, was launched by the Government of Ethiopia in 2005 to help food-insecure families access food 12 months a year and protect community assets through public works projects. USAID is one of nine donors funding this program.

In Madagascar, the island nation off the east coast of Africa, most farmers cannot grow enough to feed their families for an entire year. Since 2009, a USAID program, implemented by CARE, works in the most rural and poverty stricken regions of Madagascar to teach farmers new farming methods and link them together to improve production.

As the world marks November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, USAID is making the United Nations’ aims a reality in Afghanistan. USAID has helped Afghanistan’s Department of Women’s Affairs (DoWA) create new opportunities for women to engage with government in Herat and Farah in the west of the country.

After decades of divide-and-rule tactics by the Qadhafi regime, intense fighting among communities during the revolution, and a series of human rights abuses and retaliations, the Libyan Government is now focused on stabilizing basic governance and security. Simultaneously, civil society is working to create a holistic transitional justice strategy.

In the remote Wakhan corridor in northeastern Afghanistan, efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard have proved so successful that the region now boasts a robust population of the magnificent big cats. With USAID support and some funding from the National Geographic Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society has been helping the local community in Wakhan to fit satellite-collars on the snow leopards in order to track the animals and their preferred habitats. This helps the community to understand which areas to avoid when grazing livestock, thereby minimizing conflict between snow leopards and herders, who increasingly view the cat as a threat to their livelihood.

Children face a host of vulnerabilities. Those whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS may be among the most vulnerable, and many of them have the potential to end up living on the streets outside of family care. These children are also often the most difficult to reach with services. Retrak’s mission is to work with street children and guide them back to family care, either their own families or foster families. To this end, Retrak, an NGO, works with street children in three countries with high HIV prevalence – Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya – and with families who care for the children.

With support from USAID, the International Association of Forensic Nurses sent two American nurses to Swaziland in September 2012 to advise local health facilities on how to better care for young rape survivors. 

Khatira Faizi starts every day writing news scripts at a local radio station in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. This could hardly be called controversial activity, but Khatira remains conscious that she is crossing a line by working outside her home.

Five-year-old Muqadas is lucky to be alive.  He was shot in the head during an insurgent attack on U.S. troops near his village. Though the bullet is still lodged in his brain, Muqadas has made a remarkable recovery thanks to the expert emergency medical treatment provided by the U.S. military and the wraparound after-care provide by USAID’s Afghan Civilian Assistance Program.   


Last updated: January 20, 2015