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.

The poor quality of education and a lack of finances to pay school fees have left an estimated 500,000 youth out of school and on the streets in Haiti. Most have never attended primary school or have dropped out before grade three.

Sogesol (Société Générale de Solidarité, French for “General Society of Solidarity”) inaugurated a full-service microfinance branch in the heart of Cité Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince’s most volatile neighborhoods that has served as the base for much of Haiti’s destabilizing gang activity. Years of violence and crime have driven many businesses out of the neighborhood. With support from USAID, Sogesol is reigniting economic activity in this highly vulnerable zone.

Imagine a childhood spent growing up among gangsters: a child obliged to take shelter under chairs in a classroom while waiting for the end of shootings, or a teenager confronted with other people’s fear solely because he happens to live in a high-risk neighborhood. Such is the life for youth in Haiti’s Cité Soleil, one of the largest slums of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where violence is the standard.

While working towards his degree in finance from Haiti’s Quisqueya University, Makendy Pierre participated in a USAID-sponsored internship in microfinance. Since his internship and graduation, he has become the director of a branch of Fonkoze, one of the country’s largest and most innovative microfinance institutions, in the rural, mountain town of Trouin.

Coffee grower Estiverne Michel-Ange, a client of a rural savings and credit cooperative, has seen the benefits of USAID’s support to the cooperative to design loan products for coffee producers in Haiti’s Department of Centre.

In Haiti, where there is significant unmet demand for financial services in rural areas, USAID-supported technology is beginning to expand outreach, improve the quality and diversity of financial services available to rural people, and increase the financial flow between towns and rural areas.

In Port-au-Prince’s Fort National neighborhood, the January 12, 2010, earthquake destroyed all six health clinics, severely damaged 78 percent of schools, and left an estimated 80 percent of residences structurally unsafe for habitation. Yet, the area had not received relief services until USAID implementing partner Project Concern International (PCI) began providing assistance.

With USAID support, PCI worked with the community to establish programs in emergency shelter, cash-forwork, protection, health, risk management, and water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The January 12 earthquake in Haiti changed everything for Sandy, 15, and now the relief process is changing her world again—this time for the better. After school each morning, she heads to a USAID-funded “Espace Timoun,” or child-friendly space, in Jacmel, Haiti, where children from ages 3 to 17 partake in age-appropriate activities and play with friends.

Child-friendly spaces were established across Haiti to provide safe places for children while their parents engage in relief-related activities, such as gathering water, rebuilding homes or reestablishing livelihoods.

When the Caesarian section recovery process prevented the mother of 2-week-old twins Richardson and Rejeffson from taking the newborns for a check-up, her cousins stepped in to help. They brought the newborns to the Gaston Margron camp where USAID-funded partner Save the Children operates a mobile clinic.

The babies were also recovering, this time from a cold that had disrupted their breastfeeding, leaving them with little nutrition intake for several days.


Last updated: January 30, 2015