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 World Health Organization does not consider traditional birth attendants sufficiently skilled to manage normal deliveries and diagnose, manage, and refer obstetric complications. USAID is supporting midwife training in villages across Guatemala. In the above photo, women are learning about systems of the human body in their language, Quiché. Small children often attend training sessions with their mothers, who do not have childcare options.

Wine, champagne, and beer bottles that are considered rubbish by most are thrown out at restaurants and residences in upscale neighborhoods in Guatemala City. A small team of artisans collects these bottles and transforms them into works of art. Before they met these bottles, these artisans were either unemployed or scraping a living as day laborers.

This hearing room at the newly renovated court is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Three judges rotate shifts at the court, ensuring that access to justice is always within reach. The 24-hour courts prevent overcrowding in pre-trial detention facilities by providing timely alternatives to imprisonment, such as bail. This system presents a deterrent to police corruption because police can no longer detain suspects for lengthy periods without court orders.

After learning about safer clearing techniques from a USAID-sponsored awareness campaign, students painted this sign, which says: “Don’t Burn the Forests — Or do you want to end life?” Through its programs, USAID has helped farmers realize that by choosing other clearing methods not only are they saving the forests — they are saving lives.

José Luis Lux, a vegetable producer in the community of Chirijuyú in Guatemala’s Chimaltenango Department, and his family lived in extreme poverty. That changed in 1993 when his family led the community to establish an association of agricultural producers, Labradores Mayas (“Mayan Workers”), which sold vegetables to middlemen. With USAID support, the association strengthened production, became certified on international food regulation practices, and systematized administrative functions to comply with international buyer requirements.

USAID is working to get small farmers involved in international markets by helping them maximize production with crops like broccoli and form local cooperatives that give them more leverage. Converting small farms into well-functioning businesses will make the area more dynamic and productive and create better living standards for the residents.

Trafficking in persons is a serious problem in South Quito, Ecuador.  In six local schools, USAID sponsored a program for students ages 5-12 who are at high risk of becoming victims.

What can 77 women do with $5,000? Just ask Miriam Sánchez. This rural mom in Cubinche had few employment opportunities and, as a result, no reliable source of income. She led a group of women in forming a small association that would use their sewing skills to produce and sell clothing. Upon hearing about Miriam and the association, USAID provided financial support to help the group expand its operations.

A USAID program has been training teachers in creative ways to make learning in Spanish easier for non-native speakers. As they learn to read and write in Spanish, they also learn the skills to write in Quichua.

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Last updated: April 27, 2017