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.

In the remote Wakhan corridor in northeastern Afghanistan, efforts to protect the endangered snow leopard have proved so successful that the region now boasts a robust population of the magnificent big cats. With USAID support and some funding from the National Geographic Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society has been helping the local community in Wakhan to fit satellite-collars on the snow leopards in order to track the animals and their preferred habitats. This helps the community to understand which areas to avoid when grazing livestock, thereby minimizing conflict between snow leopards and herders, who increasingly view the cat as a threat to their livelihood.

Children face a host of vulnerabilities. Those whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS may be among the most vulnerable, and many of them have the potential to end up living on the streets outside of family care. These children are also often the most difficult to reach with services. Retrak’s mission is to work with street children and guide them back to family care, either their own families or foster families. To this end, Retrak, an NGO, works with street children in three countries with high HIV prevalence – Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya – and with families who care for the children.

With support from USAID, the International Association of Forensic Nurses sent two American nurses to Swaziland in September 2012 to advise local health facilities on how to better care for young rape survivors. 

Khatira Faizi starts every day writing news scripts at a local radio station in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. This could hardly be called controversial activity, but Khatira remains conscious that she is crossing a line by working outside her home.

Five-year-old Muqadas is lucky to be alive.  He was shot in the head during an insurgent attack on U.S. troops near his village. Though the bullet is still lodged in his brain, Muqadas has made a remarkable recovery thanks to the expert emergency medical treatment provided by the U.S. military and the wraparound after-care provide by USAID’s Afghan Civilian Assistance Program.   

Sharifa Ahmadzai’s wool and carpet-weaving business in Jalalabad is on course for a $200,000 loan to modernize equipment and market its wares better. Masomma Ibraimi’s clothing business in Bamyan has received a loan of $4,000, which has enabled her to buy embroidery machines and hire more seamstresses.

After four months without a net income, mechanic Bashir Ahmad decided to close his shop in Kandahar City. It was late 2011 and Bashir said he could no longer afford to rent the shop. “I pay rent from my own pocket. It is very difficult.” But just as he prepared to close his doors for the very last time, Bashir learned of a municipal development project that was about to begin in his neighborhood. USAID and its implementing partner, the Central Asia Development Group (CADG), were coordinating with the local authority to rebuild sidewalks and drainage ditches in several districts of Kandahar City. As luck would have it, the sidewalks in front of Bashir’s shop were to be rebuilt.

Maryam Ghamgosar, a journalist from Mazar-i Sharif in northern Afghanistan, is increasingly focused on writing about the economic opportunities opening up in her country. It wasn’t always this way.  “I wasn’t able to write articles on economics, trade agreements, or contracts that Afghanistan signed with international companies for its mineral resources,” she says.

The Haitian Government is determined to improve the quality and scope of public services, but it faces a critical problem —lack of revenue. At 9 percent, Haiti’s rate of tax receipts as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the lowest in the world. However, a recent USAID-piloted tax mobilization program in the city of Saint Marc has proven that it is possible to raise local revenues to pay for quality local services.

Building on that success, USAID expanded its work to the densely populated urban municipality of Carrefour in 2011. Working with the Groupe de Recherche et d'Interventions en Developpement et en Education (GRIDE), a Haitian nonprofit organization of public policy experts, USAID sparked a significant jump in Carrefour’s municipal revenue — taxes collected increased by 481 percent, from $309,000 in 2011 to $1.8 million in 2012.


Last updated: January 20, 2015