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.

As is common throughout Afghanistan, the city of Jalalabad does not have an updated urban plan, and until the city approves a new one, the existing 50-year old plan remains the official city blueprint. For both the municipality and citizens alike, this means that community needs and municipal goals cannot be achieved, services are not adequately provided, and land use goes unchecked.

Kabuli, a village in Samangan Province, is in desperate need of vital services. The 500 families that live in the village have no health clinic, no electricity, and a scarcity of potable water. One school serves all of the children in the village. The road leading to the district center, which is 45 km away and home to the nearest available health facility, is nearly impassable due to poor road conditions.

In 2006, the Arghandab District government prepared the first comprehensive District Development Plan (DDP). This plan allowed government officials at all levels to prioritize and coordinate infrastructure repairs in order to promote economic recovery and stability. Unfortunately, many of the targeted infrastructure improvements were beyond the reach of constrained government budgets. The lack of funding and manpower led to service gaps that compromised local perceptions of government responsiveness.

A concerted effort is underway to provide electric power throughout Afghanistan. The electric company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, has built a large distribution line along the highway from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, to Charikar in the Kohdaman Valley, the capital of Parwan Province in northern Afghanistan. The line follows the road 69 km from Kabul. Unfortunately, many villages along the route did not receive electric services from the line. To deal with this, USAID is installing transformers to help connect 42 villages in Parwan Province to the main line. Sufyane Village is the first to be connected.

Roadside bombs kill or maim hundreds of innocent Afghans every year. The bombs, otherwise known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs, are a favorite tactic of insurgents. More often than not, it is not soldiers who are the victims but civilians.

Tamim’s family received help from a USAID project that provides assistance to civilian victims who have been harmed because of fighting between the international military and insurgents. Crucially, the project is perhaps the only one of its kind to assist civilians who suffer losses no matter whether they are accidentally harmed by international military forces, or because they are caught in the crossfire when insurgents target international troops.

The village of Sarah in Uruzgan Province was the scene of a fierce battle between coalition forces and insurgents in 2010. The battle liberated the village’s 10,000 residents, but decimated the village’s already limited and aging infrastructure, including the main bazaar. The bazaar is situated along the only road transiting from commercial centers in Kandahar and Uruzgan to distant villages in western Uruzgan. Historically, Sarah depended primarily on local and regional trade conducted at the bazaar to maintain its economic vitality. The loss of this essential marketplace during the insurgent occupation had a devastating impact on the local economy.

Almost a century ago, the British built a bridge over the Laghman River to connect the two cities. The bridge was one lane and made of metal. The rust had taken its toll on the narrow bridge and safety was a serious concern. Oncoming traffic and significant congestion on the deteriorating bridge had become a big problem.

To increase revenue from license fees, USAID developed a new business registration system and tested the system in the municipalities of Charikar and Mahmud-i-Raqi. After USAID presented the test results at a regional mayor’s conference, all the mayors requested the new system. By the end of September 2011, 13,000 businesses had already registered.


Last updated: January 12, 2015