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.

Ferdinand Gjata began his business after the communist regime in Albania fell in 1991. The dairy industry was non-existent then with individual farmers processing their own products and selling only at the local level. Ferdinand was one of the first dairy processors to sign up with USAID’s Land O’ Lakes Good Management Practices program. Ferdinand, along with many others throughout Albania, have benefited from USAID's assistance.

After an automobile accident several years ago, Teuta Halilaj’s life changed. In a moment, her whole environment became accessible only from a wheelchair and her self-confi dence dwindled. Then she realized, “If you want life to smile for you, you must smile fi rst. We women with disabilities must make that fi rst step and change our fate.”

Smile she did, becoming a voice for people with disabilities in Tirana. As an active member of the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation, supported by USAID, Halilaj was chosen to represent Albania in the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability, winning a tuition scholarship to the American English Institute in Eugene, Oregon.

With the help of a small grant from USAID, Xhevit Hysenaj was able to bring in three engineers to advise on the design, construction, and operation of a larger-capacity, cost-effective distiller for essential oils.

Infant mortality in Albania, at 15 per 1,000 births, is three times that of other European countries. Pediatricians throughout Albania often face the daunting task of diagnosing and treating various children’s ailments without the proper medical supplies. Moreover, physicians in different districts sometimes treat the same illnesses differently. Treatment guidelines have existed, but have not been obligatory. In the absence of clear and unified guidelines, sick children have not always received the best treatment. Lacking the proper medicine, some doctors tried various alternatives; others did nothing.

Many laws are passed in Albania that are not implemented for various reasons. In the case of the law against domestic violence, passed in December 2006 with overwhelming bipartisan support and coming into effect in June 2007, the effort by Albanian citizens, including the Albanian Center for Legal Civic Initiatives made a big difference and helped ensure the law was enforced.

USAID/Albania, through a partnership between the University of Hawaii and  the Agriculture University of Tirana (AUT), is helping the university prepare a workforce of future agriculture economists and entrepreneurs who are capable of using innovative technologies to respond to market demands.

Thanks to a partnership between a USAID local governance program and a local marketing company, Celesi, the Municipality of Pogradec opened the city's first Tourist Information Office to help boost employment and economic development. The office provides free-of-charge high-quality professional tourism information services to the visitors.

Nearly 450 schools in Battagram District in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province were damaged or completely destroyed by the devastating October 2005 earthquake. As winter approached, people from the remote Allai Valley descended from their mountain homes to the banks of the Indus River to seek shelter at the Mehra Relief Camp. With USAID’s help, 1,550 children attended one of the three schools at the camp, some of them for the first time.

To help the government of Pakistan promote earthquake-resistant reconstruction, USAID sponsored a project with Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology to train local organizations, engineers, masons, and carpenters in safe building practices.


Last updated: January 12, 2015