Impact Newsletter - February 15, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013
Impact: A weekly look at USAID around the world

Volume Four, Issue Three

USAID Welcomes Secretary of State Kerry

Administrator Rajiv Shah welcomes Secretary of State John Kerry to USAID. Photo credit: Pat Adams, USAID
Administrator Rajiv Shah welcomes Secretary of State John Kerry to USAID.
Pat Adams, USAID

This morning, USAID hosted Secretary of State John Kerry for his first visit with USAID staff at the Ronald Reagan Building. Denise Rollins, senior deputy assistant administrator for Asia,  delivered opening remarks, recounting some of the successes we have seen since the Agency's inception by former President John F. Kennedy. With a warm welcome, Administrator  Rajiv Shah  introduced Kerry to the assembly, commended him for his long history as an ally for development, and passed to him the "mantle of development" in his new role at the U.S. Department of State.

Kerry delivered remarks on the importance of development in the current global landscape, making note that the most important work we do is provide linkages between multiple initiatives that "make a difference in the lives of other people." He cited USAID priorities such as education, global health and HIV prevention programs, ending extreme poverty and gender equality.

Watch the video of his visit and read the full transcript of Kerry's address to USAID. 

Read more on the Impact Blog

State of the Union Calls for the Elimination of Extreme Poverty 

President Obama at this week's State of the Union Address. Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak / Pool / AFP
President Obama at this week's State of the Union Address.
Charles Dharapak / Pool / AFP

For those who spend their days focusing on international development issues, only occasionally does the full public spotlight shine on their work. On Tuesday night, near the conclusion of his State of the Union address, the President articulated a vision that represented one of the clearest, most direct calls to development action in recent years.  

He noted that in many parts of the world, people still live on "little more than a dollar a day," and called for the United States to "join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades." This has caused a flurry of activity as the development community begins to dissect what exactly this means, how it will be done, and who will be affected. In the policy office at USAID, we've spent considerable time analyzing this issue and what it would take to eradicate extreme poverty. [...continued]  

Read more about the State of the Union on theUSAID Impact Blog

New Public-Private Partnership Launched in El Salvador

Children in El Salvador. Photo Credit: USAID/El Salvador
Children in El Salvador.
USAID/El Salvador

USAID and five Salvadoran foundations today announced a partnership to combat citizen insecurity and strengthen municipal responses to crime and violence in 50 dangerous communities in El Salvador. This public-private partnership is the largest in USAID history with local partners and the largest ever to be undertaken in Latin America.    

"This partnership is another example of how USAID is able to leverage private sector resources to multiply the impact of our funding," said Mark Feierstein, USAID's assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

SolucionES, the five-year, $42 million partnership, will:

  • Work with five municipal councils (consisting of local government, youth leaders, civil society, churches, the private sector and civilian police) to assess local resources and develop crime prevention plans.
  • Train communities in conflict prevention.
  • Provide youth with after-school clubs, leadership programs and employment opportunities.
  • Offer psychological counseling in schools traumatized by violence.
  • Increase the social investment of local private companies.

The partnership is part of USAID's Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) [PDF] work and builds on the Agency's mission to foster local capacity and sustainability. 

Representatives from USAID, State Department, and the Aga Khan Foundation. Photo Credit: USAID
Representatives from USAID, State Department, and the Aga Khan Foundation.

A New Investment Model for Afghanistan

The U.S. Department of State and USAID signed a memorandum of understanding with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) at a private ceremony last week that will establish the first investment fund in Badakhshan, Afghanistan for social development projects. 

When the fund is finalized, USAID and AKF will each provide $30 million over a five-year period, subject to the availability of funds, to help leverage the Afghan private sector to advance social development. 

Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention Announces First-Round Winners

Doctors give a medical care to wounded and sick ethnic Uzbeks at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
Doctors give a medical care to wounded and sick ethnic Uzbeks at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
AFP/ Viktor Drachev

On Feb. 13, USAID and its partner Humanity United announced the first-round winners of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention -- a technology competition enlisting problem solvers from around the world in support of the White House effort to design new tools to prevent mass atrocities. The first place winners of two $5,000 prizes include designers of a mobile phone app that allows physicians in developing countries to better document evidence of mass atrocities and web-based software that allows product designers to ensure that a product's electronic components are "conflict-free."      

Applicants from 22 countries submitted 88 innovative technologies addressing two challenges: identify, spotlight and deter third-party enablers of atrocities; or support documentation of atrocities to hold perpetrators accountable. Seven innovations won first, second and third place prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.  USAID and Humanity United are spotlighting the winners on their website

USAID Participates in 2013 Social Media Week 

Social Media Week

Social Media Week will be held in Washington next week. Don't forget USAID is hosting three events this year.  

USAID Events: 

USAID In the News  

Can't get enough of USAID? PBS NewsHour's blog interviewed former USAID official Mark Bartolini, who worked as director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.  Before stepping down he made several trips to Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. He spoke about the challenges of providing aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Syria as the violence continues. 

The Miami Herald reported on the largest partnership in USAID history with the private sector in one country. USAID is teaming up with five foundations in El Salvador to bring homicides and gang violence under control in 50 of the country's most dangerous communities.   

EET India reported that USAID is partnering with private sector to support scientists in developing nations. National Instruments has announced its partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement Research (PEER) Science program." Together, they will bring "scientific equipment, training and support to approximately 100 more than 80 countries over the next five years." According to National Instruments, the "partnership is the first step in USAID's effort to leverage the private sector in support of scientists in developing countries."

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