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 hardships Iraqi widows endure on a daily basis is often tragic and devastating.  Many are without a job, without the basic essentials for life and many are raising children they must feed and care for in horrendous conditions.  The loss of their husbands and loved ones have left many without any opportunities for a better life because of the lack of education or job skills to earn a monthly income.

Saad Abdul Ridah Hassan grew up poor in Diwaniyah, an impoverished town of 450,000 about 100 miles south of Baghdad. At age seven he began selling newspapers to motorists stopped at traffic lights. It took 17 years for him to scrape together enough money to rent a tiny space for a stationery shop at the city’s Al-Tujar Market.

Under the previous regime, the Iraqi people had no voice in their government and no say in the formulation of the policies that directly affected their lives. But the passing of the new Constitution in 2005 changed that, establishing the roles and duties of the various executive offices in policy making.

During the two years Awaz Ahmed worked as a producer for Kurdistan Satellite Television she always felt vaguely unfulfilled. “My life largely consisted of doing what people told me,” she explained. “I had good ideas and wanted a life where my opinions would count.”

The olive industry in Iraq is beginning to grow and prosper, and much of the credit for the growth belongs to the USAID-InmaAgribusiness Program. In 2009, in accordance with Congressional mandate to work with religious minorities in Iraq, USAID-Inma specifically targeted funding to help an olive producer in Ninawa province called the Al-Zaytoon Olive Association. The funding, which totaled $700,000, helped fund new equipment, technical assistance and other development needs.

The fish industry in Iraq floundered over the past decade.  Farmers were faced with a multitude of problems including disease, the lack of electricity, poor feed quality, lack of water and several economic hardships, such as high operations costs, low prices and transportation issues. 

Mahmmon Majeed, a young and eager farmer, wanted to expand his Dahuk feedlot business to add a butcher shop for the residents of Dahuk.  This wasn’t an easy operation for Mahmmon to create the Blann Butcher Shop.  The skills involved in breaking down carcasses takes time and effort in order to have the types of products consumers want to buy. 

The Hameediyah Mushroom Farm was established in 1984, just west of the city of Ramadi. The company is privately owned by the Khirbit family. 

Tragedy struck in 2004, when a bomb destroyed a house on the property. The explosion also killed one of the Khirbit brothers and forced the family to shut down the company for good. 

Melons are big in Diwaniyah governorate and getting bigger, thanks to the USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program. 

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Last updated: August 21, 2013