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.

Founded in 1931, Kabul University is the oldest and largest institution of higher learning in Afghanistan. The university is recognized internationally and its credentials are renowned but its rich culture, history, and academic excellence have been devastated by decades of wars and instability.

USAID, through its Afghanistan Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program, recently completed construction of the Regak Bridge located in the volatile Uruzgan province. Straddling the Shakur River, the bridge was constructed in an area faced with border disputes, insurgency, drug trafficking, and river flooding due to snow melt and rain.

Six-year-old Sayeeda and her best friend Fareeda were out playing near their home when bullets started whizzing past them. A shoot-out had erupted between insurgent fighters and international troops. Both girls ran for home. Moments later, Sayeeda was shot in the chest. As Fareeda stopped to help her friend, she also was shot.

Sperwan, a village located in Panjwai District of Kandahar Province, relies on agriculture for its livelihood. It is also an area of vital significance for the region’s security. Residents are often the victims of harassment and intimidation inflicted by anti-government forces. These distractions hinder progress on the municipality’s efforts to rebuild the rural infrastructure. When local farmers summoned the courage to approach the district governor with a request to repair their canal, they learned that their government lacked the resources to assist with this initiative.

For most farmers in Afghanistan, cash crops do not yield a high cash return, a problem compounded by the fact that many farmers in a given area grow the same crops. This increases local competition and makes the produce more difficult to market. USAID is introducing timber and orchards in Badakhshan as an alternative to traditional vegetable farming and a way to break out of this cycle.

Ten children were killed and four injured when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an international military convoy in the district of Tirin Kot in Uruzgan Province. One other civilian died.

As is common throughout Afghanistan, the city of Jalalabad does not have an updated urban plan, and until the city approves a new one, the existing 50-year old plan remains the official city blueprint. For both the municipality and citizens alike, this means that community needs and municipal goals cannot be achieved, services are not adequately provided, and land use goes unchecked.

Kabuli, a village in Samangan Province, is in desperate need of vital services. The 500 families that live in the village have no health clinic, no electricity, and a scarcity of potable water. One school serves all of the children in the village. The road leading to the district center, which is 45 km away and home to the nearest available health facility, is nearly impassable due to poor road conditions.

In 2006, the Arghandab District government prepared the first comprehensive District Development Plan (DDP). This plan allowed government officials at all levels to prioritize and coordinate infrastructure repairs in order to promote economic recovery and stability. Unfortunately, many of the targeted infrastructure improvements were beyond the reach of constrained government budgets. The lack of funding and manpower led to service gaps that compromised local perceptions of government responsiveness.


Last updated: November 16, 2015