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.

Women and girls in the Taloqan District of Takhar Province suffer from poverty and unemployment. “Fifty women came to me the other day asking for some social or economic activities. They have nothing,” says Fazila, director of the Afghan Women Rehabilitation and Skills Development Association.

Sayed Abad in Wardak Province is in the southern district, bordering Logar and Ghazni provinces. The district center is home to about 2,000 individuals of both Pashtun and Tajik ethnicities. The community recognized the need for increased lighting to make the district government compound and local bazaar safer at night.

Easy quick access to market centers allows farmers to reach agricultural retailers, avoid traders offering low prices at the farm gate, and transport more produce at a lower cost and in better condition, all of which contribute to stronger incomes.

Mayor Abdul Khaliq was in a terrible predicament last year. As the mayor of Dehrawud District in Uruzgan Province, he was urgently searching for a way to address the economic hardship, crime, and insurgency plaguing his community. “These are my people,” said the mayor. “It is my responsibility to protect them and take care of them.”

In December 2010, Haji Malang, owner of Javid Afghan Thresher Company obtained a loan through a program funded by USAID and implemented in partnership with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Years of civil war and internal conflict had left Afghan women’s voices unheard, depriving them of their fundamental right to education and training. Women in communities were disconnected from each other and government provided services.

Fish hatcheries are a key component of the cultured fish value-chain. Hatcheries provide fish seed, which is one of the main inputs required by fish farmers. The availability of fish seed is a primary constraint on the broader development of fish farming. Until recently, fish farmers in most parts of Afghanistan depended on supplies of fish seed transported from Pakistan, a long journey that resulted in considerable losses and weakness of surviving fish. The fish fingerlings are only available at a high cost to farmers, one of the main obstacles to developing the 180 fish farms of eastern Afghanistan.

Badghis Province is one of Afghanistan’s most remote areas. The agriculture-based economy thrives because of the Bala Murghab River and the vital irrigation water that is drawn from it. However, irrigation canals require cleaning and maintenance. Across the Bala Murghab District, many of the canals were silted over and water flow had been choked off. Crop yields were dropping, limiting the amount and variety of fresh food in the local markets. And with the decreased agricultural activities, fewer people were hired during the harvest season, raising an already high unemployment rate.

Limited government reach and interaction with communities is among the drivers of instability in most unstable areas of Afghanistan. Bordering the insecure Chemtal and Charbolak districts in Balkh Province, the local government in Dehdadi District has had limited interaction with the community, leaving it susceptible to insurgent influence.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015