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.

In 2003, CAFERWA, a small coffee company in the central African country of Rwanda, made a strategic decision to enter the specialty coffee market. CAFERWA recognized that selling specialty coffee on the international market would increase the company’s revenue.

To produce the improved coffee, CAFERWA needed funds to repair their coffee washing station. The only bank that was willing to extend a loan was the Rwanda Development Bank, a state-owned bank.  Private banks perceived lending to agribusinesses as too risky.

In August of 2007, the Ministry of Education achieved a significant milestone by laying the foundation of the new Ghazi Boy’s High School in Kabul, Afghanistan.  When completed in late 2009, this $6.25 million school construction project will provide modern classrooms, laboratories, and other learning facilities for over 5,000 students, including the 1,750 students who currently study outside or in temporary shelters. 

In 2005, Safebond Company Limited, a two-year old shore-handling and off-loading company, won a contract to provide services for the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. The government of Ghana would maintain ownership of the port, while Safebond would be responsible for all the loading, offloading, storage, and management of freight cargo. Despite this victory for such a young company, one challenge remained: Safebond needed $600,000 in financing to pur-chase six forklifts to fulfill its contract.

Karlene Miller, the owner of a small grocery store outside Kingston, had been a client of Jamaica National Building Society’s (JNBS) small business loan program, operated by Jamaica National Small Business Loan Company (JNSBL), for several years when Hurricane Ivan devastated Jamaica in August 2004. The hurricane ruined her floor and spoiled her inventory, totaling approximately US$1,500 worth of damage. Using a Hurricane Recovery loan from JNSBL, Karlene was able to borrow more money under more favorable terms to fix the damage and replace the lost stock.

In the sweeping valley of Karaste in the Tagab District of Badakshan province, a cluster of villages dot the banks of the Tagab River. These farming communities, comprised of about 3,000 families, have long been hoping to have a reliable water supply to make their land more productive. In the late 1970s, a small canal was built in this area but due to a flaw in design it functioned for only one season. The canal was abandoned and eventually the intake and upstream portion of the canal were totally destroyed by flashfloods and lack of maintenance.

Montana is the largest city in the sparsely populated northwestern corner of Bulgaria. An ancient Roman city, its name derives from the Latin word for mountain. It was a strategically important town under Bulgaria’s Turkish occupation, and the remains of Turkish baths are among its historical sights.

Hazratullah, a young shopkeeper from Jalalabad, is a recent graduate of APEP's Accelerated Learning courses.  He says it has helped change his life.  "Now I am able to calculate purchases with numbers.  If someone borrows from my store, I am able to write down who has borrowed and how much. ... If you are uneducated, you cannot accomplish much in life."

The wild pistachio woodlands of Afghanistan have declined rapidly over the past 30 years, from 40 to 100 trees per hectare to the current estimate of 20 to 40 trees per hectare due primarily to cutting of trees, over grazing, and damage to trees through uncontrolled harvesting of the pistachio nuts.  The natural pistachio woodlands have significant environmental and economic value to Afghans. 

USAID’s Alternative Livelihoods Program for Eastern Afghanistan (ALP/E) is supporting the establishment and strengthening of women-owned enterprises in several fields of economic activity, providing training and assistance in all sorts of trades, including commercial poultry operations, vegetable seedling enterprises, forestry nurseries and agro-processing.  ALP/E is also promoting the participation of vulnerable women in the labor force, by providing them with new ways to earn a living.