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.

For a local policeman, joining efforts with a USAID program to address sexual and gender-based violence in his community was a welcome challenge.

“I have daughters myself and am concerned about this issue. I had heard about sexual and gender-based violence before, but honestly, when USAID came and talked to the entire community about it for the fi rst time, much of the information was new – particularly the connection between sexual and gender-based violence and HIV transmission,” said Okot Paul, the sub-country police post in-charge.

Farmers near Kayunga, Uganda, rely on the income generated from sun drying fruit and selling it in bulk to local and European markets. Fruit takes two to three days to dry completely, and even a small amount of rainfall during the drying period can damage a harvest. The absence of basic access to information in developing countries limits the ability of rural populations to receive warnings, forecasts, and observations of hydro-meteorological conditions to improve their livelihoods.

One gray midmorning, during the season of short rains in rural Tanzania’s western highlands, about 30 men and women take valuable hours away from farming and domestic chores to gather at a village meeting place. The mood is relaxed, despite the task at hand — HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.

In this impoverished and remote region, HIV infection is of growing concern. Much of the community lacks awareness about how the disease is transmitted, and there is a relatively low reliance on condoms, the only means of prevention besides abstinence.

In the 18 months after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Sudan’s two-decade civil war, few Sudanese had learned about it. Many knew that it could change their lives, but most were unaware of the details. They heard conflicting reports about what they would gain, or lose, from its agreements on security, wealth sharing, and power sharing.

The Thuthuzela Care Center at the GF Jooste Hospital in Mannenberg, just outside of Cape Town, was the first center of its kind established in South Africa. Opened in 2000, the center aims to provide holistic care to victims of sexual violence, most of whom are women and children. This model is highly successful in empowering survivors to understand their rights and obtain care and comfort in a safe environment.

As many Somali youth are learning, being good at arithmetic is not the same as knowing how to manage a household or run a business. That is one of the messages of a new Somalia soap opera, dubbed Fire and Gold, launched in February, 2011.

The collaboration between USAID and Education Development Center was rolled out as an innovative way to promote financial literacy in Somalia among young people.

The soap-opera format uses traditional Somali story-telling methods to educate, combined with innovative and interactive technology that attract youth.

Kadiatou Ndao is proud of her sacks brimming with baobab and jujube powder. In just three years, she has marketed enough powder pounded from dusty fruit kernels and berries to quadruple her profits.

Kadiatou is president of a baobab cooperative in Koussanar, a town in central Senegal. She said that before receiving support from a USAID agriculture and natural resources management project, the 28 women of her cooperative lacked the necessary skills, knowledge, and training to run a successful business.

In southeastern Senegal, baobab seeds were once believed to be a useless byproduct of a locally grown fruit. The fruit was eaten and the seeds merely tossed aside.

But now, in the village of Dindéfélo, women are reaping gains from baobab fruit processing for the first time thanks to a USAID program. A facilitator for the Agency first put women in contact with a cosmetics firm who uses the seeds in their products. USAID is now expanding its efforts to assist other Senagalese villages to find markets for this growing commodity, empowering local women in the process.

For two years, Ignace Karangwa was afraid to invest in his land because he was told it had been expropriated by a local bank. The USAID Land Conflict Transformation project, implemented by Search for Common Ground, was informed of the problem and decided to produce a radio program specifically on the issue of expropriation in Gasabo District. The program invited the Gasabo District Land Officer, the Gasabo District Legal Advisor, and the Kigali Expropriation Technician to talk with callers on the radio to inform district residents of their rights in the situation and take calls from citizens.

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Last updated: January 14, 2015