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.

When Yvonne Karenzo lost her husband in 2003, she was forced to engage in unsafe sex for money even though she knew she was already HIV positive. Ostracized from her community, a jobless Karenzo was without the necessary resources to support or educate her two children.

Today, Karenzo has enough money for her family’s subsistence and even plans to save for a house as a result of USAID/Burundi funding for an association of people living with HIV/AIDS.

My name is Geneviève Ndagijimana. I am 34 years old and live with my husband, our four children and my late brother's two children in Muzinda, a small town near Burundi's capital Bujumbura. Muzinda is a flat open plain that allows us to grow the rice that is our staple food.

I always encourage people to use their mosquito nets because mosquitoes have no mercy-- they kill. I have lost family and have suffered a lot from the bugs. But now my family and I are sleeping safe and sound and I also want others to sleep safely.

In Benin, more than 75 percent of women are victims of violence, and 44 percent are sexually abused. Since 2007, USAID has helped to not only promote greater recognition and acceptance of women's rights in Benin but also get more women victims of violence to seek help from the Benin Government's Social Service Centers and the justice system. From November 2007 to September 2010, the U.S. Government has assissted in 2,782 cases of physical and sexual violence of which 996 reached the Courts of First Instance. This is nearly seven times the number planned for the life of the project, as it is very difficult for Beninese women to press charges against the men who abused them.

Diane Sagbohan is one of six women among the 265 trained spray operators who volunteered to participate in the first insecticide residential spray (IRS) campaign in Benin. Sagbohan is native of Seme Kpodji, a community well-known for suffering from high rates of malaria transmission and deadly illnesses. Seme Kpodji is one of the four communities in Benin selected for insecticide spray operations.

Kindjissi Houndjah recalled the day when she told her daughter Hainou she had to leave home. Kindjissi’s cousin in the city offered to take care of Hainou and send her to school. Kinjissi was sad, but relieved that Hainou would be well fed and go to school. In Benin, this is not uncommon: poor, rural families often send daughters into homes of a wealthier urban family.

Maria José Inés has seen many patients with malaria over the years. Recently, she is seeing something different.

Getting a mosquito net into the hands of a mother in Angola involves numerous steps: the net needs to be manufactured, packaged, shipped, cleared through customs, distributed, and then used properly.

The communities in Bié Province’s commune of Cassumbi have been producing honey for a number of years. They perfected their methods to produce good quality honey, but had no way to sell it. It was a wasted resource.

“We spend a lot of time and have a lot of skills in producing honey, but the problem is we don’t know who to sell it to. The roads are so bad here that even if there were people who were interested in buying it, it is hard for us to go to market to sell it,” said Domingos Cassinda.

Toward the end of the colonial era, Angola was an agricultural powerhouse. Self-sufficient in food production, the country was also the world’s fourth largest exporter of coffee. Today, coffee is like a fond memory among Angolans, whose coffee fields were abandoned during the war, many replaced with crops such as maize and cassava. However, a sign of recovery for this industry glimmered when Angola made its first shipment of coffee to Europe after many years.


Last updated: January 16, 2015