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 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.

A group of 14 Kabul University geosciences students, including three women, had completed the basic geographic information system (GIS) training provided by USAID. GIS is computer technology that takes different types of geographical data and combines it into useful information, typically in the form of a map, like a road map. The students recognized that basic GIS understanding was just the tip of the iceberg and presented their need for additional GIS training to the USAID training program manager.

The turmoil of the past 30 years has taken its toll on Afghanistan. Due to the destructive forces of war, nature, and neglect, sidewalks in Afghan cities are falling apart. In Kandahar, the municipality lacked the resources to address infrastructure development. But without rehabilitation, the city’s residents would continue to see their safety compromised. The degradation of pedestrian footpaths directly impacts the quality of life and traffic safety.

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. 


Last updated: January 16, 2015