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.

When Helmand in southern Afghanistan organized a sports tournament to give young people the chance to test themselves and learn teamwork, it was a first for the province.

When a recent survey of residents of Herat revealed they knew little or nothing about municipal services, local officials realized it was time to get creative. With support from USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations West (RAMP UP) program, Herat municipality organized a documentary film competition titled Herat From a Citizen’s Perspective.

Experts brought in by USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) project suggested Amir and other farmers in Parwan try growing broccoli instead of giving all their land over to cabbage, carrots, radishes, cauliflower and wheat. The farmers learned frost-protection techniques, how to apply fertilizer and drip irrigation. Amir says it was the most important training session of his life. Until then, he had used traditional farming methods.

The Middle East and North Africa face their own baby boom. More than half of the region’s population is under the age of 24, and more than one-quarter of its young people are unemployed.

The Arab baby boom is both an opportunity and a challenge. USAID invests in young people so they have the skills, knowledge and attitude to succeed in today’s society.

Abdul Raqib’s veterinary service covers 320 villages strung across five districts in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Laghman. For Dr Raqib, it is a dream come true. The veterinarian had long wanted to expand veterinary services in the province.

Building trust and leadership among Burma’s nascent civil society is key to a lasting, peaceful transition. But after decades of repression and division, those leading Burma’s reforms often face personal and professional obstacles affecting their ability to bridge gaps and forge alliances.

To be effective advocates for peace, these civil society leaders need to better understand how personal perceptions can affect professional relationships, and how these relationships can steer Burma’s political reform.  

Arab uprisings across the Middle East in recent years were built on the hopes and aspirations of a new generation of the region’s youth. However, due to high unemployment and struggling economies across the region, many college graduates find it hard to get a good job.

In March 2013, the unthinkable happened in Benghazi—a group of female leaders from six cities gathered to talk about women’s involvement in drafting the new constitution, ending violence and discrimination against women, and conducting grassroots advocacy campaigns to protect women’s rights. As the people strive to build a democratic future, a new voice is being heard—the voice of Libyan women.

To see Ana* today, poised and pretty at 15, it is almost impossible to imagine her as a starving baby, jostling along the rutted roads of her Georgian village in a handmade wheelbarrow full of junk.

Ana’s father had little choice. His wife had abandoned the family, leaving him sole caregiver for four children, including baby Ana. He struggled with mental illness, making him irascible and explosive—and hard to employ. So he took the baby with him on the rare occasions when he found odd jobs.

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Last updated: February 05, 2016