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.

Virus-resistant citrus plants are offering healthier prospects to farmers in eastern Afghanistan. Diseased rootstock has been replaced by 500,000 seedlings planted across 1,500 acres in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar provinces between 2010 and 2012. Five years from now, they are expected to yield a rich harvest every year, earning an estimated $3 million in combined fruit sales.

Matiullah’s orchard produced nearly 60,000 kilos of apricots last season. It was a remarkable harvest from just two jeribs, says Matiullah, using the traditional Afghan unit, which equals 4,000 square meters. He says the yield is the result of professional pruning techniques. “We can easily control growth…not only do we get higher yields, harvesting is much easier.”

Sara Hurtado has been in love with the forest ever since she was a little girl.

"I would always go to the jungle in Cuzco where my parents lived, and every venture into the forest was amazing, " she says remembering her childhood vacations.

The daughter of Brazil nut producers and a single mother of three, Hurtado acquired her own concession of over 1,200 hectares in the early 1980s and now has 550 Brazil nut trees. The tallest in the Amazon Forest, Brazil nut trees can reach 50 meters in height, making harvesting the nuts no easy task. 

Llamely Tejedo will never forget the day she told her brother that she wanted to open her own business.

“He looked at me and said, ‘If you choose to be poor, I feel sorry for you,'” she recounts with a steady gaze.

But Tejedo, who has degrees in accounting and foreign trade, forged onward and opened a business in 2007 selling artisanal handicrafts that she and another brother made from precious Amazonian woods and a special resin she discovered while studying in Brazil.

Haji Nazar Mohammad, chairman of the Kandahar Fresh Fruits Association, peers into a refractometer. He’s checking the sugar content of fruit, a skill newly learnt at post-harvest training provided by USAID’s Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA).

Adela Estrada Carrera, 28, lives in the rural community of La Victoria (the Victory) in the district of Shunté in Peru's San Martin region. The mother of two children, she begins each day at 4:00 a.m. by cleaning the house, preparing food and attending to her family’s needs. Once she is finished, she hurries off to start her visits to the homes of neighboring families in the community.

In response to the considerable needs, USAID is partnering with NGOs and international organizations to implement flexible, cash-based food assistance programs that reach food insecure Somalis, particularly those displaced internally. 

An intensive, month-long media course supported by USAID changed all that. It taught Mr. Faiz and nine other volunteers of the Badghis Film Association in northwest Afghanistan the basics of cinematography, graphics and post-production. This training will help the Association improve its productions, including documentaries which focus on social issues.

September 2013Less than a year after their country's liberation, nearly 2 million Libyans participated in the country’s first free elections in over 40 years on July 7, 2012. Voters of all ages celebrated the event, showing off their electoral stain, which quickly became known as “patriotic henna."

While the road to electing a General National Congress was relatively smooth, the upcoming step of forming a commission to draft a new constitution is an impending challenge in the transition.


Last updated: January 20, 2015