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.

Koko Shirin is looking to literally grow her business. She cultivates off-season vegetables in the greenhouse in her backyard. Each harvest brings in good money, a key consideration for a woman who is her family’s sole provider.

Farming just got easier and more rewarding for Hazrat Gul. He and other farmers in Behsud district in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, have been linked up with certified agricultural depots, from where they can buy reasonably priced, high-quality seeds.

Two USAID projects - Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan and Agriculture Credit Enhancement-Agriculture Development Fund - supported Qarizada owner Said Aref’s search for financing. A 2012 loan enabled Mr Aref to buy machinery and contract with 800 farmers in Baghlan and Balkh for a steady supply of tomatoes.

After two of her children were killed in a Taliban attack in Kabul, a distraught Rihilla tried to commit suicide. She tried to hang herself; took a drug overdose; slit her wrists. Her vigilant family thwarted each suicide attempt but Rihilla’s distress remained acute. “I kept wondering how much pain my sons felt (when they died),” she says, “once, I put my hand in the oven and another time in the fire, to feel how they suffered.”

Bashar fled his village in the east of volatile Helmand province after two of his sons were killed in the fighting. Like thousands of other people, the 70-year-old farmer and his family headed to the provincial capital Lashkargah. There, they received help from the World Food Progam (WFP), USAID and other agencies. But Bashar worries about feeding his wife and 13 children. “I have a large family. This food will last us only a short time. We have nothing,” he says.

In 2008, francophone Rwanda instituted an audacious education policy to support its development goals. The government purported that shifting from French to English was key to regional and global business and trade, as was joining the anglophone East African Community and the Commonwealth of Nations.   

The year 2013 marked a number of achievements in Rwanda. First, the national airline announced its first female pilot. Then the World Bank ranked Rwanda as the third easiest economy to do business with in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is on a positive path.

These achievements would not have been possible without individuals with lightning-quick problem-solving, logic, and intelligent decision-making skills—all developed through mathematics, which begins in primary school.

New, wild forest seedlings are finally seeing the light again in Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park. They are slowly taking back areas previously covered with a layer of opportunistic ferns. After a wildfire, the forest soil is quickly colonized by a thick, persistent layer of ferns, which thrive in disturbed areas. The ferns dominate, impeding the ability of other wild species to germinate.

Diogène*, 37, lives in Rwanda’s Eastern province. In March 2012, he began to feel ill. He was short of breath, couldn’t walk up hills, and had chest pains. Luckily for Diogène, he holds community-based health insurance (CBHI), which enabled him to see a doctor at the Ngarama district hospital, where he was diagnosed with heart disease.


Last updated: December 30, 2014