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.

Maliha Nasrat was playing in the yard at home in Kabul when she was hit by a stray bullet. The seven-year-old had become yet another casualty of the civil war that raged in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

“Hashar”, which means collaboration, is a common word in Qalat in southern Afghanistan, but the city’s residents did not understand its transformative power till their first clean-up day.

When financially hard times fell on his family of 10, Cristian Alonso Chávez, from Mexico's Francisco I. Madero neighborhood in  Ciudad Juarez, had to leave school to look for work, discontinuing his education after middle school.
Although Chávez, 22, had almost three years of experience as an industrial machine operator, his most recent job did not offer him any opportunities for advancement. When he tried to find new work, his low level of education and the pressing need for income always led him back to the operator job.
On a sunny day in December 2012, Judge Ana María Elías-González walked into a Baja California state courtroom to give the final reading of a 35-year prison sentence she handed to a man a few days previously for the murder of his girlfriend.

Chaghcharan, Farah, Herat and Qala-e-Naw municipalities in western Afghanistan are changing – and they’re changing for the better. They’re training their staff and modernizing their systems in an attempt to improve responsiveness to the people’s needs with support from USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations West.

The body needs food to grow but the soul needs art to move on, says Sughra Husseini, remembering how sad and dispirited she felt when both her parents died. She worked through her grief by applying to study calligraphy and miniature painting at the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul. Sughra’s older brother supported her artistic aspirations. Today, she is regarded as one of Afghanistan’s rising young artists.

Kubura Sulemana is a store keeper for the Africa Indoor Residual Spraying project in northern Ghana. The project protects millions of people in Africa from malaria by spraying insecticide on the walls, ceilings and other indoor resting places of mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Here, Sulemana tells her story:

“There was so much dust and traffic. Trucks and cars would drive so fast and park right in front of the shops,” explains Javid Mohammed, a Maiwand bazaar shopkeeper. “There were many accidents.” For years, the simple task of shopping could be a dangerous affair for customers in the Maiwand bazaar. The risk of being struck by cars and trucks driving along the main highway or parking directly in front of shops was very real. Business in the bazaar suffered and many shops were forced to close their doors.   

When orchards in northeastern Afghanistan were sprayed with a pesticide called dormant oil, it was more than just another disease-control measure. More than 3,000 farmers felt assured of higher yields because the oil-based pesticide is considered very effective in controlling winter pests. And pesticide spraying has become a thriving business in the area.


Last updated: January 14, 2015