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.

In Georgia, one significant constraint on local governance has been the lack of local ownership of structures used on a daily basis, such as city hall buildings, park equipment, or municipal water and sewage systems. The central government, which owned these assets, simply permitted use by localities. As a result, Georgia’s second largest city, Kutaisi, did not have the legal ability or incentive to effectively manage its most valuable assets on behalf of its citizens

With a population of 50,000, Kaspi, like most other Georgian municipalities, is burdened by neglected infrastructure. The city, in the Shida Kartli region, is now struggling to provide basic municipal services such as parks, street lighting, and garbage collection to its citizens. One important obstacle to improving services was the low collection rate of municipal fees. As a consequence of the poor quality service due to the low collection rates, residents were illegally dumping waste on the outside of town along the Lekhura River banks.

Tariel Chanturia, one of Georgia’s most renowned poets, faced an unexpected obstacle to publishing his newest poems. David Gotsiridze, director of the printing house Kedeli, explained that Chanturia would have to first register as an individual entrepreneur before publishing his new volume.

Despite Gotsiridze’s assurance that the process would be fast and simple, Chanturia expected the worst – confusing procedures, long lines, multiple visits, and unofficial payments.

SIS, a Belarusian company that provides consulting services to agricultural businesses shifted its focus several years ago to designing cow houses. During the summer of 2009, the company was involved in the reconstruction of eight dairy farms and the building of an entirely new dairy complex. However, the market was quickly changing and SIS specialists were in need of further training in order to become leaders in this niche of the Belarusian market.

Dzerzhinsk Farm in Belarus employs more than 550 workers and is the largest force in the Minsk oblast’s economy. The farm serves as a good model for future market-oriented agricultural enterprises in Belarus. Unfortunately, the farm’s veterinarians have faced challenges in the area of artificial insemination and dairy health management.

Hamid Mikayilov owns Girkhbulag Trout Farm, located just outside the city of Sheki, in rural Azerbaijan. Over 40 percent of the country's population makes its livelihood from agribusiness, yet agriculture comprises only 6 percent of its GDP.

Using a USAID-sponsored grant, as well as his own resources, Mikayilov and his son, Anar, who operates the farm, rehabilitated an outdated feed mill located on the property.

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is working hard to modernize the country's financial sector. In 2009, an important milestone was achieved when USAID assisted it in drafting legislation that met international standards in combatting serious financial crime. The Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism bill was successfully passed and established a Financial Monitoring Service (FMS) that was charged with enforcing the new financial sector requirements.

On first appearance, Vera Lesko seems like any gentle, good-humored, and loving Albanian mother. And she is. Yet, this countenance masks the determination that propelled her to the forefront of the battle against human trafficking in Albania. Her pioneering spirit and real life solutions have helped restore the lives of more than 1,600 trafficked Albanian girls and women.

For a small Balkan country that just 20 years ago was completely closed to foreigners, Albania has come a long way to overcome its isolation, building both infrastructure and a reputation for hospitality that has grown a burgeoning travel industry. In fact, Lonely Planet travel guides currently list Albania as one of this year's top 10 travel and tourism destinations in the world.


Last updated: January 12, 2015