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.

In El Borgayah, a town of 20,000 in Egypt's Menya Governorate, one out of every ten residents owns livestock. Most, however, rely on traditional rearing and health practices. Simple illnesses would often turn serious and a private veterinarian would need to be called. But even their vet, who charges $1.75 for a visit, was often unable to save the animal's life.

Water is necessary for life, but if it is polluted it also can cause disease and even loss of life. The lesson is a simple but critical one. Thanks to a USAID program run in cooperation with Egypt’s government, this lesson is being learned and passed on in communities in Egypt’s El-Sharkia province.

Farmers and residents living along canals Egypt’s eastern El-Sharkia province have long used their open canal system almost as a sewer — people often threw their garbage into the canal and there were no organized efforts to keep the canals clean. This would pollute the water and clog up the water flow, depriving downstream farmers of water when they needed it for their crops.

It all started one day when a handful of farmers noticed a change in the color and odor of the canal water in El-Goda, in Egypt’s eastern El-Sharkia province. They reported their findings to Mohamed Hussein, the head of the El-Goda canal water user association. Mr. Hussein then arranged a meeting with Ahmad Mahmoud, an engineer and the director of the integrated water management district to identify the problem.

Abd-El Reheem Ali, head of El-Sharakah Canal Water Users Association, knows how important women are as members of his association. It was through their efforts that the community cleaned up its canal, improving everyone’s health, as well as the farmers’ crops.

Literacy classes in the El Marg district in Cairo, one of eight districts where USAID supports education reform in Egypt, have taken a new turn. “Learning carnivals”, a concept developed in close collaboration between the national Adult Education Authority (AEA) and USAID, makes literacy classes more active and enjoyable for learners. Not only are classes more fun, the carnivals encourage newcomers to join integrated literacy classes, which teach both literacy and life skills, such as child nutrition, together.

It’s not often that children are aware or even interested in their school’s administrative matters. Not so in Komombo in Egypt’s Aswan Governorate. If you want to know what is going on with a local school Board of Trustees (or BOT), just ask a five year-old. Komombo has been gripped with BOT election fever, its effect seeping into everyday life.

Shaymaa’s shy smile grows into a grin when she shows her father the artwork she brought home from school. Her scrapbook is a collection of brightly colored images from her eight-year-old world – her school, her teacher, her best friend, the family portrait.

Shaymaa is one of 182 children in Komombo in Egypt’s Aswan Governorate receiving scholarships through the local Community Education Committee, which covers annual tuition, two uniforms, shoes, stationery, and a school bag.

It has been said that no one fights like families, but this need not be the case. To promote family stability, Egypt passed a law providing for mediation in family disputes. To properly implement the law, the Ministry of Justice requested USAID to provide training for mediation staff and infrastructure improvements at courts where mediations are held.

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Last updated: August 19, 2013