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.

Eastern Afghanistan was once legendary for its production of quality fruits and vegetables. However, nearly three decades of conflict and several years of drought have had a negative impact on farming.

Afghanistan’s beautiful plains and fertile valleys have hosted many kinds of crops — but one crop has repeatedly caused the country and its people immeasurable harm: poppy.

In March 2006, Fareba Miriam became the first woman to enroll in a para-veterinarian training program that USAID is running in Afghanistan. She learned about the training opportunity while teaching geography at a high school in Feyzabad, Badakshan, a northern province of Afghanistan. Fareba is 26, the eldest daughter in a family of 12. Although her family does not raise livestock, many members of her community are dependent on healthy herds and flocks to maintain their livelihoods.

The women of Sari Pul Province in northern Afghanistan remember how, as little girls, their mothers taught them how to care for silkworms, and how to make hats, “chapans” (traditional male overcoats), and embroideries from their threads. Yet years of fighting and drought nearly destroyed this art, once common in these villages.

Today, animals are surviving at a much higher rate thanks to a USAID program that brings veterinary services to Afghanistan’s herdsmen.

To bridge the gap between Afghans and the justice system, USAID has established 34 Community Cultural Centers in six of the country’s provinces. The centers rely on trained local volunteers to educate their fellow citizens about their legal rights and how to defend their rights in Afghanistan’s formal and informal justice systems.

Several years ago, there were only three produce merchants in the Baharak Bazaar, a market in Afghanistan’s remote northern province of Badakhshan. Today, there are 30 traders selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers are growing more diverse crops and enjoying larger harvests as they take advantage of lower transportation costs resulting from a massive USAID program to build and improve roads.

In western Afghanistan’s Farah Province, women have few opportunities to go to school or work outside of the home. Even when they possess a useful, income-earning skill like tailoring, many women stay at home during the day for cultural or security reasons.

In eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, infrastructure is poor and many villages lack good roads, access to clean water, and other basic necessities. USAID and U.S. Forces are working together to ensure that Afghan citizens receive the development assistance that they need to improve their livelihoods and quality of life.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015