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.

For nearly a decade, the remote Chahar Chineh District of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province was cut off from regional population and commercial centers. The isolation devastated the local economy, prohibited local businesses from accessing regional supply centers, and restricted employment opportunities. The impact on the district’s agriculture-dependent Chutu Valley was especially severe, depriving farmers of access to regional markets where they could sell and trade products cultivated in Chutu’s rich, fertile soil. The isolation also created an ideal safe haven for insurgents who preyed on the local population.

Pirya Kanwal is a trained Lady Health Visitor (LHV). She works as a social mobilizer for the USAID’s Community Rehabilitation Infrastructure Support Program (CRISP). She has worked as LHV in Sukkur district, Sind province and later served poor and needy with a variety of other organizations. When advertised for the position of a social mobilizer, Pirya took it as an opportunity to work on the helping women and children in need for medical care. 

Seya Dara Sufla is a remote village in Yakawlang District of Bamiyan Province. It is located approximately 35 km from the district center and 135 km from the provincial capital.

Due to the harsh weather and poor condition of many roads and the vehicles that traverse them, repairs to vehicles is a big business in Afghanistan. Vehicle workshops generally rely on imported auto parts from Pakistan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. However, their supply is irregular, parts are expensive, and there is no guarantee of quality.

USAID designed the Agricultural Development Fund to work through commercial banks and other financial institutions, providing them with lending capital and compensating them for the risks inherent to agricultural lending. Nonetheless, banks were in general unwilling to provide financial services to the agriculture sector. This issue had the potential to render a USAID project unable to reach the farming community and promote the growth of Afghan agriculture.

Ask anyone who lives in Daman District and they will tell you exactly what they think of the roads. While most of what they say is unprintable, it is easy to see that road conditions are deplorable. During the dry season, roads are bumpy, dusty, and full of potholes. Although trucks are the preferred method of transport, farmers are sometimes forced to rely on pack animals to move their produce to the market.

While HIV prevalence in Afghanistan is currently low with 1,250 reported cases to date, the country is at high risk for the spread of HIV due to factors such as low literacy rates, low awareness of HIV, war, poverty, and growing injecting drug use.

When asked what services the municipality should provide in the city, the residents of Qalat pointed to garbage removal as one of their top priorities. In close collaboration with the Qalat mayor, USAID responded to this request through a project designed to strengthen the municipal capacity in the six southern provincial capitals. From June to September 2011, residential and market areas, pathways, and ditches were cleared of trash and swept clean. This project improved the hygiene and appeal of central city areas and simultaneously improved relationships between the citizens and their municipal representatives.

Motivated. Dedicated. Determined to make a difference in the government of Afghanistan. These are just a few words that describe Amina Ahmady, a former intern with the USAID-funded Women in Government internship program. Ahmady’s journey from intern to full-time employee with the Government of Afghanistan is inspirational to other Afghan women seeking to follow her lead.

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Last updated: January 12, 2015