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.

Kétia Jean Juste is 16. She lives with her father in the South Department of Haiti. A maternal orphan and the youngest member of her family, she has been struggling to attend school. The cost of education in Haiti is low compared to some countries; but still, 70 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. Kétia's father is at the mercy of these harsh economic conditions. Even temporary work is scarce and economic security is rare. Food is vital. Education is important, but often secondary. Kétia does not have the income to support her school fees.

Although it is unusual in Haitian culture for women to confront authority, unemployment and underemployment have spurred some to resort to extraordinary measures.

Jules Anne is one of 5,000 people in Haiti receiving anti-retroviral therapy, the drugs that fight HIV/AIDS, through a USAID program run in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She has been receiving treatment at Grace Children’s Hospital in Delmas, a poor community on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, since March 2006.

Forty-year-old Pierre Alexis Cantave has never allowed life's lemons to turn him sour. All five of his children go to school because, he likes to say, "one of the most important objectives of my life is to get all my children educated." And despite losing an arm in a childhood accident, Pierre aggressively farms two hectares of land for maize, beans, cassava, peanuts and sweet potatoes. And as with Haiti's thousands of small farmers, he wrestles to gain productive yields from the exhausted Central Plateau, where poverty and malnutrition are rampant.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is working hard to modernize the country's financial sector. In 2009, an important milestone was achieved when USAID assisted it in drafting legislation that met international standards in combatting serious financial crime. The Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism bill was successfully passed and established a Financial Monitoring Service (FMS) that was charged with enforcing the new financial sector requirements.

Honey has traditionally been an important part of the Haitian diet. However, over time it became harder to obtain honey. The political destabilization of 1986 eliminated public and private institutions involved in production and training of beekeeping skills in Haiti. The industry, comprised of individual beekeepers, also suffered a blight which eliminated more than three-quarters of the bee population. Honey production in Haiti was almost nonexistent. As a result, honey became more expensive and had to be imported. Producers and consumers alike helplessly let the industry and its assets dwindle.

The refurbished water kiosk not only brought water to the people, it brought the central government to the people. Representatives of the national water authority worked closely with community members to complete the work as well as devise a plan for maintenance and sustainability. These relationships have restored faith in the government, and the community is now participating in plans for improving the city, including restoring a public market aroundone of the water kiosks.

Bacchus lives on the east bank of Guyana’s Demerara River, thirty miles from the capital of Georgetown. He takes his sweet cassava and sweet potatoes to his farm gate and unloads his harvest to a buyer. It was hard to get by. He did not have any impact on prices despite efforts to improve quality. He constantly fought to make a reasonable living.

Brenda, a 25-year-old mother, attended her first antenatal visit for her second pregnancy. During the group counseling, the health visitor discussed HIV/AIDS transmission from a mother to her child and ways to reduce this transmission. Brenda, who was about twelve weeks pregnant, underwent individual pre-test counseling on HIV and agreed to take the HIV test.


Last updated: January 12, 2015