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.

When a hundred provincial government officials and elders assembled in Laghman in eastern Afghanistan, they were conscious of the sensitiveness and importance of their mission. It was their task to keep the peace in a community increasingly roiled by social change. Many families across the province were deeply disapproving of attempts by their wives and daughters to study or find work outside the home.

Galina Boltovskaya is a confident woman in her mid-40s who slings a rifle over her shoulder and a crutch under each arm. She isn’t a hunter, but, rather, an enthusiastic guide for a flashy sporting complex in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan, and an avid marksperson who excels in the 10-meter air rifle shooting event.

When Narindar Singh was killed in a road accident in Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan his grieving family was faced with the biggest question that comes with the death of the breadwinner. Who would provide now that Singh, a hard-working mason and the family’s mainstay, was dead? That’s when the Afghan Civilian Assistance Program offered to help. From 2007, the Program has helped 12,000 families who have suffered losses because of the presence of U.S. and coalition military forces in Afghanistan.

When Ilirjana Gafurri, a political party activist from Peja, Kosovo, won a seat on her local council six years ago, she became an advocate for issues such as better health care and women’s equality in her community. But Gafurri had to struggle to make her voice heard in the predominantly male body, where women are often perceived as being passive or not as qualified.

Wassel Berrayana, director of a company called Proxym-IT, credits his unorthodox hiring policy—recruiting fresh college graduates­—with fueling his firm’s rapid growth. Whereas many Tunisian employers shy away from recent graduates’ lack of experience, Berrayana sees it as a source of initiative and creativity.

With the loss of his mother when he was only 8 years old, Rico Auguste became the primary wage earner for his family, which consisted of himself and his two little brothers. To support his family, Rico was forced to quit school and find work as a porter on a local bus traveling between Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and Jérémie, a town located in the southwestern tip of Haiti.

Sewage management is one of Afghanistan’s biggest environmental and health challenges. Currently, sewage from homes, businesses and industrial sites is discharged directly into the streets and local waterways. Most municipalities have limited or no treatment capacity and so the sewage inevitably enters the groundwater, contaminating wells and spreading disease.

It might have seemed an enormous leap of faith for Nazifa Ufyani to resign her bank job and start a pickle factory in her kitchen with just $50 as seed capital.

USAID and the WFP are working together on a program that feeds the large refugee population while supporting smallholder farmers within Rwanda. 

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Last updated: January 16, 2015