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.

Kadia Bagayogo is a 39 year-old woman who lives in the working class neighborhood of Bamako, in Mali. She was married to Seyba Fane when she was only 14 years old. Since then, Kadia has been pregnant 11 times, with two sets of twins and one miscarriage. The couple rents a room where they live with their surviving nine children. Seyba works as a chauffeur but is currently unemployed. Kadia, in addition to her role as a housewife, sells charcoal to earn extra money. The children are unable to attend school because the family cannot afford it.

Feroce - ferocious in French, and he carries his name well - wears a thin blue shirt and sits in the shade to direct his four workers with wide swipes of his wooden cane. His workers are assembling plows and pumps, welding metal together. He has to speak loudly to cover the rat-rat-tat of his generator, isolated in a clean, cool hut at the edge of his large courtyard, packed with green foot pumps and ploughs. Feroce's workshop is the only house with electricity for miles. Through a USAID-funded program, CARE International installed reliable and hardy foot pumps in villages scattered throughout Amboasary and Ambovombe districts, in Madagascar. As part of the project, experts trained Feroce on how to build, sell and maintain these high-quality pumps. His business has grown so swiftly that he works fulltime for his workshop.

During the 14-year civil conflict in Liberia, the health system virtually collapsed. The health system’s fraglity coupled with the difficulty women face in getting to health facilities in emergencies due to no roads or means of transportation in largely rural Liberia, has led to one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world: 994 deaths per 100,000 live births.

USAID is teaching women in Liberia how to properly take care of their children. The women learn which healthy foods to prepare for their children; how to avoid malaria; how, when and where to wash hands; when they should go to the nearest health clinic or hospital; how and when to use Oral Rehydration Salts to stop diarrhea, and other important health tips.

Saah Fassi is a professional blacksmith in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. Although he does not know his exact age, Fassi does know that he apprenticed in his youth for almost a decade. He estimates he has been a master blacksmith for more than three decades and might be in his late 50’s. He is married, and he and his wife have five children, two boys and three girls.

Charity Prayer Band is not a musical group but a group of about 40 women and a few men on the outskirts of Monrovia’s largest market district who banded together for spiritual and social self-help which includes a “susu” or a pooled savings and loan fund.

With a wide grin, twinkling eyes, and no-nonsense nature of a retired school teacher, Peace Corps Response Volunteer Gloria Reichmann welcomes students into the USAID Learning Resource Center in Bong County, Liberia. She points out story books and explains the new “Reading Lion’s Club”- read 10 books and receive a pencil, candy, and your name recorded on the reading room wall.

USAID and the Presidential Malaria Initiative work with local partners and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in all 15 of Liberia’s counties to cure and prevent malaria. With malaria medicine and bednets now available, one of the most challenging aspects of the fight against the disease is public awareness and door-to-door outreach to persuade people to use mosquito nets correctly and to seek treatment from qualified providers.

Luki Muia of Machakos, Kenya, used to keep eight cows that gave barely enough milk for her and her five children, with no surplus to sell. Now, she says efforts by a USAID public-private partnership have given her a clear road map out of the poverty that had always been part of her life. She grows bananas, has learned mango grafting, and was chosen to receive an improved breed of cow.


Last updated: May 15, 2015