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.

The new turbine, plus the refurbishing of a second turbine, should triple the reliable electric power output from 16.5 megawatts to 51 megawatts to Kajaki, Lashkar Gah, and Kandahar.  Other work on the dam will provide water for homes, agriculture, and industry for the 1.5 million people in the Hilmand River Valley, improving livelihoods and spurring economic growth.

Local farmers say the government trainers shed new light on both livestock management and basic community health. “Ten years back my goats were killed by some anonymous disease” explained one trainee, “My family had eaten meat from one of the dead animals. The same week my wife became suddenly sick and died. Now I know my wife was killed by the disease known as Anthracnose. We have learned not to eat diseased meat during our training course.”

When USAID team members began visiting the region in August 2007, the team received anything but a warm welcome. On their first visit, their vehicle was attacked by armed men who demanded they evacuate the vehicle. However, after the team members explained they were in Tagab to help, the attackers invited them to sit and have tea.

Mr. Almas-ullah, a 41-year old farmer in eastern Afghanistan, has been farming poppies since his childhood. Unhappy with growing the illegal crop, he decided he wanted to earn a legitimate living.  “Poppy farming did not significantly improve our lives. I didn’t have peace of mind and always felt guilty,” said Almas-ullah.

USAID has been instrumental in developing Kazakhstan’s transition to a free market economy since its departure from the Soviet Union in 1991. With USAID assistance Kazakhstan adopted international accounting standards, privatized state-owned assets, and opened stock and bond markets in 1999. Two years after these markets opened, a local bank named Lariba decided to use Kazakhstan’s capital market to obtain the capital necessary to expand its mortgage product. 

Children in Goshta now study inside classrooms instead of tents thanks to the efforts of the community and the cooperation of the provincial and district governments.

Nestled near the border of Pakistan, Goshta district is a remote, rural district in Nangarhar province.  This mountainous region experiences extreme weather conditions that shape the lifestyles and livelihoods of the local population.  Among those at the mercy of the weather are the children.  Until this summer, the children did not have a proper school building.  They attended classes in tents and in the open air with rocks to mark their classroom boundaries.  As a result of the austere environment, many children did not go to school.

Like many farmers, those in the Nyangao Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) in the Lindi region of Tanzania lacked the collateral needed to access credit from banks. Unlike other sectors, farmers have a short window of opportunity to profit from their yields every season. In addition, farmers are forced to sell immediately at harvest -when prices are low - to prevent perishable crops from spoiling.

Van Oers, a green bean processing company in Senegal, flourished on the foresight that exporting produce to Europe during the winter when northern farmers are stymied by the cold is profitable.

Despite the company’s success, Van Oers wanted to expand further but found that commercial banks in Senegal would not provide it with loans because of the perceived risk of agribusiness.  In 2009, a USAID loan guarantee shifted the possibilities for Van Oers and 41 other small and medium sized enterprises that were granted commercial loans to fulfill their business goals.