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 March 2013, Mohammad Asef received an unusual request. It was about his daughter, Amena, who was all of 21. USAID’s Afghan Workforce Development Program (AWDP) wanted to know if Mr Asef was willing for Amena to receive financial management training as well as the basic skills required to find a job. Mr Asef agreed, happy that Amena would learn how to write a resume and how to explore Afghanistan’s competitive jobs market, where unemployment is estimated to be more than 30%.

Abdul Basir Hotak’s plans for Afghanistan’s cashmere sector include some evolution and a small revolution. Hotak, whose cashmere processing company supplies hand spun yarn to American designer brands such as Kate Spade and clothing retailers such as J. Crew, says the sector needs to be industrialized and Afghanistan should stop exporting raw cashmere.

The jar of honey in your cupboard is more than just a tasty sweetener. Many believe that a spoon of this ancient remedy per day improves overall health. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that market demand for organic honey have been constantly growing.

Shazia Mehmood* and her husband are now role models in promoting awareness on family planning in Tehsil Thull, Jaccobabad district of Sindh, Pakistan. The couple talks confidently about their decision to limit their family size to three children and wait for two years before their next pregnancy. They are convinced that families must learn about these topics to take better care of their health. 

Entrepreneurs from across Afghanistan flocked to the Access to Finance exhibition organized by the Afghanistan Banks Association with USAID support. Over the course of two days, 36 banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies and mobile network operators interacted with small businesses and women entrepreneurs from across the country. The objective was to link those in need of capital with institutions that might be able to provide it.

Christina Blurtsian is a 22-year old ethnic Armenian student passionate about the arts. She paints, sings, plays guitar and even makes costumes for one of the local theaters in Tbilisi.

Agriculture is Kosovo’s biggest industry, but the economic growth of the sector is constrained by a lack of equipment, a limited variety of crops, outdated methods of production, and smallhold farms. To overcome those challenges, USAID is introducing new crop varieties and supporting farmers in production, branding and marketing.

Since 2009, USAID has provided nearly 80 scholarships to aspiring journalists with the qualifications and drive, but not the means to attend the 12-month program, which combines classroom and field-based training in both print and electronic media. Media experts offer lessons and mentor students, who enjoy current affairs discussions and mingling with editors, on-air presenters and fellow students from different backgrounds.

With the end of the 26-year conflict in 2009, the need was clear for journalists to explore challenges faced by local communities. Working with a local organization—People’s Service Council—USAID helped 15 young women like Mela undertake media training from September 2010 to February 2011 in Trincomalee. As part of the six months journalism course and a three months IT and language course, young female “aspiring” journalists from different ethnic, religious and geographic backgrounds received training on language and computer skills, thus improving the quality and scope of their reporting skills.


Last updated: January 20, 2015