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.

“Women don’t have many places to socialize,” says Sharifa Azimi, Director of Faryab Women’s Affairs. “The only place for women to socialize is when some women gather in the cemeteries on Wednesdays to pray,” she added.

Governors of three volatile districts along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan visited the most remote areas and spoke to local communities about  their concerns. The governors’ visit to Khas Kunar, Marawara and Sarkani in Kunar province in the northeast of the country is part of an initiative by USAID’s Office of Transtion Initiatives. USAID launched the Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative-East (ASI-East) project in 2009 to support government in volatile regions where communities are vulnerable to indoctrination by anti-government elements. 

In Afghanistan, where 80 percent of the workforce is engaged in farming, agricultural training is vital. But how do you teach the latest horticultural techniques in a country where farmers are scattered and transportation is difficult?

Season Honey, a company based in Nangarhar province, prides itself on supplying 100 percent pure, high quality honey, while providing earning opportunities to hundreds of rural households. While still a modest operation, Season Honey now competes in quality and price with Indian, Iranian and Turkish companies, which also supply the Afghan market. 

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.


Last updated: January 20, 2015