50th Anniversary: USAID

Thomas Staal, Donald Booth, and Ethiopian officials stand around USAID cake
Thomas Staal, Donald Booth, and Ethiopian officials stand around USAID cake

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 17, 2012

November 3rd, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s creation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Whether it is vaccinating children against preventable diseases, improving crop yields, or responding to disasters, USAID has been a quiet force for progress not only in Ethiopia, but 100 other countries, fostering a more peaceful and secure world. 

Many people may not know that the earliest U.S. assistance to Ethiopia began in 1950, under President Harry Truman, with the establishment of Ethiopia’s first agricultural college (Alemaya) and secondary school at Jimma. Under its new name, USAID began operations in Ethiopia in 1962 and has continued support to the agricultural development of Ethiopia through to today. We have learned much in five decades of cooperation with the people and governments of Ethiopia and based on that experience we are launching new Feed the Future programs that directly support the government’s growth plans and the aspirations of the people by providing opportunities to Ethiopian farmers and families whose prosperity depends on agricultural production, commerce, and trade. We have also renewed our commitment for another five years to the Productive Safety Net Program in cooperation with the government and our international donor partners to protect the basic food sufficiency and household assets of over seven million Ethiopians.

Here in Ethiopia, USAID has, over the past 15 years, provided technical expertise and funding to elementary education to give all Ethiopian girls and boys the opportunity to go to primary school no matter where they live. And over these next five years, USAID will continue with new programs aimed at improving reading and writing in the early grades to give students the foundation they need to acquire new skills and learning.

Since the 1960’s USAID has worked to improve and protect the public health of Ethiopians, including waging some of the earliest battles against malaria, and today is proud to support the Government’s Health Extension Program and provide training to over 13,000 health extension workers. Under the President’s Global Health Initiative we continue the long tradition of USAID support to promote child, maternal and family health and continue the fight to eradicate malaria and to prevent and treat TB and HIV/AIDS.

A crowning achievement in USAID’s legacy in Ethiopia and around the world began in 1987, following the devastating famine of 1984-85, with the establishment of the organization we know today as FEWS NET (Famine Early Warning Safety Network). FEWS NET’s scientific monitoring and early warning about climatic events that affect food security have saved untold numbers of lives, including in the current Horn of Africa drought. Early warning has enabled food supplies to be put into place early on and actions taken in time to protect livelihoods dependent on livestock.

Click here to read Director Staal's remarks.

USAID sponsored the EVERY ONE race to end maternal, newborn, and child deaths in Hawassa.
USAID joined the Great Ethiopian Run and Save the Children in sponsoring the EVERY ONE race to end maternal, newborn, and child deaths in Hawassa, Ethiopia on May 1, 2011.
Nena Terrell/USAID Ethiopia

Click here to view video of this event. Click here to read more information about this event on USAID's Impact blog.


Presidential address to USAID directors and deputy directors
JFK speaks to USAID directors and deputy directors on the White House lawn, June 8, 1962.
Robert Knudsen

President John F. Kennedy addresses the first group of USAID Mission Directors in the Rose Garden of the White House in 1962, including the first USAID representative to Ethiopia who arrived in 1962. Click here to hear the audio of his speech, or read the transcript.

For more information about USAID’s history of operations in Ethiopia click here:

History of USAID Involvement in Ethiopia

USAID's 50th Anniversary Logo in Amharic
USAID's 50th Anniversary Logo in Amharic

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