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.

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.

For years, banditry, arms smuggling, and a crisis of national identity have prevented members of the same Ogaden clan from reaching peace along the Kenya/Somalia border, but residents on both sides are now taking the first steps towards collaboration.

Thanks to USAID, the divided clan members have found mutual interests in their desire for a maternity wing, a much needed addition to their community’s dispensary.

The people of Kapsasian community, near Kenya’s renowned Masai Mara Game Reserve no longer have to walk miles in search of water thanks to a USAID/East Africa project that uses a giant rock to capture rain water.

“The rock only used to be good for harboring monkeys but now it’s our only source of water,” said one community member referring to a troop of baboons that used to spend nights on the rock.

Tariku Midergo started a coffee processing project with family support in 1998 near Yeragalem town in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities People’s (SNNP) Region. While establishing his business, Midergo heard about a new USAID-sponsored loan program and approached one of USAID’s partner banks, the Bank of Abyssinia, participating in the Development Credit Authority program, to get capital to establish and expand his business. Midergo praises USAID Ethiopia’s loan guarantee program because simple and straightforward procedures make loans accessible to small entrepreneurs like him.


Last updated: August 20, 2013