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.
Small farmers in Honduras have traditionally planted corn, beans and coffee, mostly for subsistence. Any surplus was sold on the local market, earning small profits. With the possible ratification of international trade agreements, Honduran small farmers need to become more competitive to remain viable and profitable in the global marketplace. And while sweet potatoes were traditionally grown in small volumes for the local market, farmers did not have international networks or the expertise to produce a high-quality crop.
Fidel Caballero owns the cheese plant Lácteos Palmares and is one of many artisan cheese producers in Honduras who struggled to provide quality products for local and international markets. Although his plant has been around for more than 40 years and is considered a pioneer in cheese production, it has grown slowly due to poor infrastructure, equipment, expertise and marketing.
Since 1992, the population of Villanueva, a city located about 10 miles from Honduras' industrial capital San Pedro Sula, has doubled. The number of people migrating from rural to urban areas to work at manufacturing plants has increased substantially over the same period and spurred most of Villanueva's growth. Without a long-term growth and development plan, within the next 15 years, Villanueva could become a chaotic city of people demanding services that the municipality cannot provide. Improving access to potable water and sanitation services is critical to Villanueva's development.
In the Taulabe, Comayagua region of Honduras, small sugar processors make a product called rapadura - a hard brown sugar that is sold in the local market. Traditionally, sugar cane processors had burned firewood as their primary source of fuel - however, firewood was becoming increasingly scarce. Processors shifted to the burning of old tires for fuel, causing environmental pollution, a low quality product, and serious health hazards to those who tend the fires and nearby communities.
Luis Flores was a sales manager for a small produce distributor in La Esperanza, a rural town in the highlands of central Honduras. Through this experience, he became aware of the market demands and requirements in the major Honduran cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. He observed that the main problem was not the lack of demand, but the lack of supply of locally produced cold climate vegetables.
Rabbits are an important source of food and income in remote places like Cajun. They are easy to manage, require little space, breed prolifically, and are a good source of protein. The people of Cajun had attempted to raise rabbits before, but failed due to disease, parasites, and other problems they could not diagnose.
Juliette Luesée is a 21-month old girl from Poussière, a rural village in the county of Jeremie, southwest Haiti. She has pneumonia. It is her third bout of the illness since she was born.
This time, Juliette is being treated at one of 60 USAID-supported mobile medical clinics that make monthly visits to villages near Jeremie in an effort to curb the fatality rates for pneumonia-related deaths. Pneumonia is the second leading cause of death in Haiti among children under five. In southwest Haiti, USAID’s program has cut those rates in half.
Naomi Jean runs around like a typical 5-year-old. Her chocolate-colored eyes reveal a bright mind, curious about everything she sees. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago she was lying in a hospital bed in critical condition.
Last updated: January 12, 2015