Impact Newsletter - January 18, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013
Impact: A weekly look at USAID around the world

Volume Four, Issue One

African Nations Renew Their Promise to Reduce Childhood Mortality

Earlier this week, the Government of Ethiopia, and former Minister of Health Tedros Adhanom, whose leadership raised Ethiopia's profile in child survival in the continent, convened the 'African Leadership for Child Survival-A Promise Renewed' meeting during January 16-18th, in Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union. Over fifty ministers of health and experts from across Africa came together with peers and global experts to ensure child survival is at the forefront of the social development agendas across the continent and renew the focus of African leaders to head their own country's efforts and sustain the gains made over the last two decades.

A few days prior, Administrator Shah was in country and met with Ethiopian Minister of Health Dr. Kesetebirhan Admassu to discuss the "African Leadership on Child Survival-A Promise Renewed," Administrator Shah also joined Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM), Congressman Vernon Buchanan (R-FL) and Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) in a visit to Project Mercy, a USAID/Ethiopia-supported non-profit organization working in Yetebon, Ethiopia to support antenatal care of the mother and child in the community hospital. 

Administrator Shah Travels to Nigeria

Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina Minister of Agriculture handing a bag of rice to Administrator Shah.
Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina Minister of Agriculture handing a bag of rice to Administrator Shah.
Embassy of Nigeria

This week, Administrator Shah visited Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and met with government officials to launch a groundbreaking partnership that will result in increased private financing for the country's agriculture sector.

Administrator Shah said, "Nigeria has already taken many important steps in agricultural reforms, and the angle of this conversation is to explore how we can formally invite Nigeria to be a New Alliance for Food Security and Food Nutrition Partner."

On Thursday, January 17, Administrator Shah met with senior Nigerian government officials including Minister of Agriculture Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Finance Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Health Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu and Minister of State for Health Muhammad Ali Pate. 

On Friday January 18, Administrator Shah visited Lagos and held a townhall style discussion with young entrepreneurs and businesses leaders hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.  In addition he participated in roundtable discussions with Nigerian private sector leaders, youth entrepreneurs and energy sector representatives. 

Ongoing Efforts for Syrian Crisis

USAID staff during the Syria Workshop.
USAID staff during the Syria Workshop.

USAID's Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) recently hosted a half day Syria workshop in Washington to discuss Syria's current conflict dynamics and the implications for a political transition. The goal was to bring together Syria country experts and use the tools of conflict analysis to ensure the United States Government (USG) is better poised to identify groups, interests, opportunities, obstacles and risks to guide assistance efforts and potential future programming. The workshop included four prominent Syria country experts as well as interagency participants from the State Department, USAID, Department of Defense, and the National Security Council.

The United States remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria. At least 4 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, and we believe that number is extremely underestimated. Official United Nations figures put the number of displaced at 2 million, but that number could be higher.  The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) estimates that the conflict has displaced 2.5 million people inside Syria. More than half a million people have fled into neighboring countries.  The United States is providing $210 million in humanitarian assistance to help over 1.5 million people inside Syria and those who have fled to the safety in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Iraq. The United States continues to stand by the people of Syria in their time of need. Read the latest fact sheet by the Department of State

Student leader Kaitlyn Fitzgerald speaks at the Challenge Slavery event at Arizona State University on January 9.
Student leader Kaitlyn Fitzgerald speaks at the Challenge Slavery event at Arizona State University on January 9.
Tom Story, Arizona State University

Counter-Trafficking in Persons Campus Challenge Event at Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) hosted a USAID Challenge Slavery event at its Tempe campus on January 9 to raise awareness about human trafficking and inform students about USAID's Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Campus Challenge

Deputy Assistant Administrator for The Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), Sarah Mendelson attended and gave remarks about USAID's trafficking work and encouraged ASU students to apply to the contest. The event was attended by approximately 250 students and faculty. The deadline for submissions to the technology contest of the Campus Challenge has been extended until January 31.  

Details on the contest include: 

Traffickers use technology, such as cell phones and social networking sites, to ensnare their victims. However, technology can be used in positive ways to prevent trafficking and provide assistance to survivors. Through the Technology Contest, students have the opportunity to share their unique ideas about how to use technology to combat trafficking in the developing world. Entries are being accepted until midnight January 31, 2013. Winners will be announced in March 2013 and will receive prizes of up to $5000. Winners will also be invited to showcase and discuss their winning ideas with USAID representatives and our donor and implementing partners combating human trafficking. Students may submit an entry on their own, with a partner, or as part of a team. 

Situation in Afghanistan Improving 

Men packaging pomegranates for export in Kandahar
Men packaging pomegranates for export in Kandahar

See the Washington Post article on the situation in Afghanistan? The article by David Ignatius endorses our efforts aimed at development and stability in Afghanistan.  The author cites out statistics and notes that USAID has achieved real results in Afghanistan and more important that such efforts are essential for a stable transition, especially post 2014.

In the past ten years, Afghanistan has undergone a sea change of positive development, in part due to the work of USAID.  For example, the median life expectancy has increased from about 44 to 62 years since 2002, likely the largest increase of any country in the world in the past decade.  In addition, over the last nine years -- and we now have this from validated studies -- we've seen the single fastest decline in maternal mortality anywhere in the world take place in Afghanistan. Almost eight million children are now in school in Afghanistan, with almost 40 percent of them being girls, a dramatic increase since 2002. Visit our Afghanistan page to learn more about what we are doing.

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