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.

A 22 years old, Abozar Mesbah was faced with the responsibility of providing for his entire family including a brother, six sisters, his parents, and grandparents. The Afghan family had left their home for Pakistan during the most dangerous days of faction infighting in Kabul and were struggling to get back on their feet after their recent return to the capital.

Until recently, Shamsudin and other farmers in Argo district received little support from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, and were forced to deal with the challenges of farming on their own. “Nobody from the Ministry of Agriculture visited me for two years, nor did I receive any assistance,” Shamsudin said.

The craftsmanship of Mansoor Armaghan’s woodworking has long been sought after in Afghanistan’s capital, but working each project by hand meant that the family-owned company was limited in the number of pieces they could produce. In order to maintain the same quality that they were known for and increase their production to provide work for local craftsmen, Mansoor knew that he would need to purchase new equipment.

As head of the Kosovo Ostomy Association, Arta Uka works to help Kosovars who have ostomies—artificial openings in an organ of the body created during a surgical operation. She is currently working on a project to inform citizens about the condition with leaflets and brochures in Albanian and Serbian. She also plans to organize doctor lectures on how to best live with an ostomy.

For as long as she can remember, Mildred Wanjala, 25, was determined to excel. As a primary school pupil in Kenya’s Bungoma County, she dreamed of becoming a teacher, but her responsibilities as the first born of seven presented another, even greater, responsibility: helping to provide for her younger siblings.

As a teacher, farmer, and mother of three, sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on Asela Valonge's shoulders. It’s not an uncommon feeling. In many cases, the average Tanzanian has yet to feel the impact of the country’s recent economic growth. Fortunately, Valonge's home region of Iringa is forging a new approach to development. Instead of relying on autonomously functioning programs to develop solutions, USAID activities in the region are pooling efforts and comparing notes, working in tandem to maximize impact for people like Valonge. 

In many ways, Kinywang’anga is a typical Tanzanian village. Located in central Tanzania, it is home to quiet countryside and to hospitable locals, most of whom earn their living from the land. This small community, however, has big changes on the horizon. Whereas most rural Tanzanians lack the legal right to their land, residents of Kinywang’anga are, for the first time, claiming such a right to their land—and local women like Anita Mfilinge are benefitting as a result.

Lilia Ranogaet didn’t start out wanting to be a clothing designer. She had studied law, and for years she ran a consulting company that helped Moldovan citizens find work abroad.

The poor state of several apartment buildings in Tesanj, an otherwise picturesque town in the Tuzla canton of Bosnia and Herzegovina, left its residents uncomfortable and cold. After working together to improve the energy efficiency of their apartments, residents can now rest easy. 

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Last updated: April 06, 2017