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.

Sharifa Ahmadzai’s wool and carpet-weaving business in Jalalabad is on course for a $200,000 loan to modernize equipment and market its wares better. Masomma Ibraimi’s clothing business in Bamyan has received a loan of $4,000, which has enabled her to buy embroidery machines and hire more seamstresses.

After four months without a net income, mechanic Bashir Ahmad decided to close his shop in Kandahar City. It was late 2011 and Bashir said he could no longer afford to rent the shop. “I pay rent from my own pocket. It is very difficult.” But just as he prepared to close his doors for the very last time, Bashir learned of a municipal development project that was about to begin in his neighborhood. USAID and its implementing partner, the Central Asia Development Group (CADG), were coordinating with the local authority to rebuild sidewalks and drainage ditches in several districts of Kandahar City. As luck would have it, the sidewalks in front of Bashir’s shop were to be rebuilt.

Maryam Ghamgosar, a journalist from Mazar-i Sharif in northern Afghanistan, is increasingly focused on writing about the economic opportunities opening up in her country. It wasn’t always this way.  “I wasn’t able to write articles on economics, trade agreements, or contracts that Afghanistan signed with international companies for its mineral resources,” she says.

The Haitian Government is determined to improve the quality and scope of public services, but it faces a critical problem —lack of revenue. At 9 percent, Haiti’s rate of tax receipts as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the lowest in the world. However, a recent USAID-piloted tax mobilization program in the city of Saint Marc has proven that it is possible to raise local revenues to pay for quality local services.

Building on that success, USAID expanded its work to the densely populated urban municipality of Carrefour in 2011. Working with the Groupe de Recherche et d'Interventions en Developpement et en Education (GRIDE), a Haitian nonprofit organization of public policy experts, USAID sparked a significant jump in Carrefour’s municipal revenue — taxes collected increased by 481 percent, from $309,000 in 2011 to $1.8 million in 2012.

One afternoon Abdul and two of his sons were killed when their car struck a roadside bomb.  They left behind their wives and seven young children, including four babies.  Insurgents planted the device on a road used frequently by U.S. and coalition military forces.  The incident happened in the Shah Wali Kot District in Kanahar province.

Limited access to libraries and the internet continues to pose problems for Afghan students that are trying to continue their education.  In Kandahar, young people face many hurdles in their efforts to gain access to such resources such as traveling long distances, insecurity, and long queues at most public facilities further limiting access to only a few individuals. USAID-funded Initiative to Promote Civil Society, IPACS II Project has established the Resource center in Kandahar which is accessible eight hours a day, six days a week, and provides a much needed resource for many young people few available options and low income.

Serving sweet candies with tea in social gatherings or in other occasions is a common practice in Afghanistan. These colorful delights are usually imported from other countries despite the potential to produce them locally. However, some firms, like the Shadmehr Candy Production Company in Mazar-i Sharif, have started producing candies locally.

During a recent “Youth and Municipality” seminar in Herat’s Mahjooba Herawi Girls High School students listened attentively as Herat’s Revenue Manager, Provincial Environment Director and Administration Director discussed municipal budget and GIRoA’s approach to environmental issues. Following the presentations, Administration Director Abdul Ahmad Khan opened the floor to questions.

Sayid Hamrah fled Pesta Mazar Village, Sar-e-Pul Province to Iran from the Taliban. “They killed my brother in-law and looted my harvest including 700 kg of wheat and barley,” said Hamrah.


Last updated: January 20, 2015