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.

Karim and Jamil are graduates of the vocational training program organized by USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW).

Four years ago, construction was halted on an agricultural training center in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. With no local funds to complete the project, the brick-and-mortar shell began wasting away under the hot Afghan sun. A USAID project made the training center a reality. The facility will house local agricultural extension agents and provide lecture rooms, conference rooms and kitchen space, all powered by solar energy. Greenhouses with drip irrigation will provide farmers with hands-on training in best agricultural practices.

Clean drinking water has become a reality for Barik Ab, a small town near Bagram Airbase. Till July 31, when the new water system was inaugurated, the inhabitants of Barik Ab had to walk miles to draw unsafe water from drying wells. USAID, in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, worked on a permanent solution to the problem.

Local factories in Afghanistan are now producing high energy biscuits, the crisp nutritious cookies fortified with vitamins and minerals that are used in the World Food Program’s (WFP) school feeding scheme. Local production of the biscuits, which are handed out to school children from low-income families every day, is part of the Purchase for Progress initiative. Two factories in Herat and one in Kabul have begun to make the cookies and children across Afghanistan received the first batch of local biscuits in July, just before the summer school break began.

A simple loan changed Aminullah’s life forever. He grew almonds, plums, apricots and pomegranates for years but his yield was never particularly good and his profit was always slim. But a loan from the Afghanistan Almonds Industry Development Organization (AAIDO) changed everything. For the first time, Aminullah is able to buy fertilizer and pesticide for his 12 acres of ancestral land in northern Afghanistan. Recently, he reaped a rich harvest, which was at least one-fifth more than he ever grew before. The quality of his produce is good and Aminullah is now able to sell it to an exporter, who sells fruits and nuts to India.

More than two hundred women work in ten gabion weaving centers in Pachir Wa Agam and Chaparthar districts of Nangarhar province. The centers were established by USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Development for the North, East, West (IDEA-NEW) Project.

New Rice for Africa, or NERICA, is a hardy, high-yielding rice varietal that USAID is helping bring to farmers, including Coulibaly. Through the United States' flagship food security initiative, Feed the Future, USAID works with grassroots organizations and producer cooperatives to make NERICA available on a large scale in Senegal to increase rice production, and in turn, improve families’ food security and incomes.

Twenty-year-old Hrayr Kurdian was born and raised in Aanjar, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. He has always loved the outdoors and prefers spending time in nature to surfing the Internet or playing video games like other young adults.

Kurdian moved to Beirut hoping to work, but found it difficult to adapt to urban life and missed Aanjar's natural surroundings. He ended up moving back to Aanjar but struggled to find work. With only 2,400 residents in the winter, the community offered few opportunities.

Michel Dorlean, a Haitian horticulturalist, grew up learning the family business of planting and growing flowers on hillside plots in his mountainous hometown of Furcy. Despite all the intensive work that goes into cultivating flowers, Dorlean and many other local flower producers struggled each year to reach their full earning potential. Today, thanks to assistance from Feed the Future, Dorlean is the president of a flower growers’ association in Furcy that generates US$18,000 per year. The project, implemented through USAID, is teaching smallholder farmers like Dorlean and his association how to use greenhouse agriculture to produce a higher quantity and quality of crops on smaller areas of land. 


Last updated: August 14, 2015