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.

The communities in Bié Province’s commune of Cassumbi have been producing honey for a number of years. They perfected their methods to produce good quality honey, but had no way to sell it. It was a wasted resource.

“We spend a lot of time and have a lot of skills in producing honey, but the problem is we don’t know who to sell it to. The roads are so bad here that even if there were people who were interested in buying it, it is hard for us to go to market to sell it,” said Domingos Cassinda.

Toward the end of the colonial era, Angola was an agricultural powerhouse. Self-sufficient in food production, the country was also the world’s fourth largest exporter of coffee. Today, coffee is like a fond memory among Angolans, whose coffee fields were abandoned during the war, many replaced with crops such as maize and cassava. However, a sign of recovery for this industry glimmered when Angola made its first shipment of coffee to Europe after many years.

Joining Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA) as a trainer in 2005, she had limited experience in teaching English and computer courses. From 2005 to today, her career trajectory was straight up. These formative years were essential for her to understand and embrace advocacy for women’s rights. She dynamically contributed to awareness campaigns, capacity trainings, and conferences at national and international levels. Exposed to eminent activists inside and outside of Afghanistan, she solidified relationships beyond her province of Herat.

Until recently, female condom distributors in Zimbabwe received female condoms in cartons of 1,000. Delivering the goods to individual clinics was a painstaking exercise because teams had to count out product in quantities ranging from 20 to 12,000 per delivery. To improve the situation, USAID is helped by its partner JSI to repackage each box of 1,000 into 50 smaller clear plastic bags containing 20 female condoms each. 

Mai Paraziva's children can attest to the fact that she is not the typical mother and grandmother. For one thing, she spends most of her days riding a motorbike around rural Zimbabwe - rain or shine, fair weather or foul.

Every morning, 56-year-old Abby Ncube of the Matobo district in Zimbabwe spends at least an hour in her garden before doing household chores. Her homestead garden has become a source of livelihood for her family of 11; they get nutritious vegetables for every meal and are able to sell a surplus, meeting some basic household needs.

Edmond Munengiwa was always a successful farmer, but he jumped at the chance to get USAID–sponsored “farming–as–a–business” training and to gain access to buyers through USAID’s partner on the initiative, the Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA).

Mr. Munengiwa lives in Gokwe South (Midlands Province), where communal farmers are often obliged to sell their produce at very low prices to “runners” who serve as their link to the local market. These markets are often flooded with low–cost produce.

Lucas Kaseke lives with his wife, children, and four grandchildren in Gwezere Village in Bindura district, located in northeast Zimbabwe. Kaseke is a farmer, and in recent years the family of eight has struggled to get by due to drought and difficult economic conditions. This year, however, things are looking up thanks to the USAID-sponsored Africare Mashonaland Livelihoods Program.

At the Presbyterian Church in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe, 15-year-old Lovemore and other children crowd around tables in a small room, leaning over their workbooks. Their uniforms are clean and worn with pride, and in many ways it would be difficult to distinguish this classroom from any other.

These are children like Lovemore, who lives at the Mbare bus terminal, a crowded, dirty and dangerous place for anyone, especially at night. They live among illegal vendors, thieves and prostitutes, and are under constant threat of harassment, even by police.

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Last updated: March 17, 2016