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.

Anyone who was in Sarajevo the night the team came home has witnessed the power of sport to unite the people of BiH. More than 50,000 people took to the streets in Sarajevo and throughout the country to celebrate the victory of their national youth basketball team.

 

The escalation of violence after the disputed 2010 presidential elections led to the worst humanitarian crisis in Côte d'Ivoire's history. Violence devastated families across the country, with an estimated 3,000 deaths, numerous arrests and hundreds of thousands forced to flee as internally displaced persons or refugees.

A natural disaster is 30 times more likely to occur in the Pacific Islands than in the United States. Floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and other extreme weather events have forced people to cope with the devastating effects of a changing climate. Many of the region’s villages have not developed formal disaster response training, leaving families unprepared to survive catastrophic events.

The program is designed to reduce the time and cost of establishing youth farm startups and help small producers increase their profits by diversifying their agricultural products. A majority of farmers in the region concentrate on grains, which bring less revenue per hectare than vegetables.

Each time a case of sesame seeds left the Barakat Bazr factory in Herat, Masood* knew that it was a lost opportunity. The seeds were sold unprepared, making them 40 percent cheaper at just $1,350 per metric ton.

The Peace Through Sports project, led by the American University of Nigeria with support from USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, has been hosting a six-month sports tournament to recognize and build youth self-esteem, resilience and tolerance. Youth participants, diverse in geographic origin, attend local secondary schools or were identified as vulnerable to violent extremism. Over 1,500 local youth from the northeastern state of Adamawa have been competing on 104 soccer, basketball and volleyball teams.

Looking back, it is clear that a lack of understanding of the electoral process and the regulations governing the elections by the youth in these neighborhoods contributed greatly to the violence. This lack of knowledge on their civic rights and responsibilities made them vulnerable to manipulation to perpetrate acts of violence. With the next presidential elections on Oct. 25, 2015, many feared that the situation could repeat itself if nothing was done.

For the June 2014 National Assembly elections, USAID, through its Increasing Inclusion and Mitigating Violence in Electoral Processes project, fielded 230 PwD to monitor access in all facets of the electoral process. This included not just voting on Election Day, an achievement in itself, but a landmark program—the first of its kind in the world—to also monitor the preceding political campaigns. The project is implemented in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and two local organizations, HandiKOS and the Kosovo Democratic Institute.

Alban Koçi was teaching a classroom-based legal clinic course for years at the University of Tirana’s Law Faculty, and yet he says his students time and again expressed the desire to improve their skills and knowledge with hands-on experience—a desire he too shared. In fact, legal education in Albania is characterized as based on overly theoretical curricula and rote learning. As a result, law school graduates come out of schools and join the legal profession with little or no practical skills.

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Last updated: January 05, 2015