Impact Newsletter - June 29, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012
Impact: A weekly look at USAID around the world

Volume Three, Issue Nine

Humanitarian and Development Assistance for Yemen: On the Ground

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah speaks in Yemen. Credit: Hani Mohammed
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah speaks in Yemen.
USAID/Hani Mohammed

Last week, Administrator Shah visited Yemen and was the first U.S. Government official to visit the city of Zinjibar, which earlier this month was under the control of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. During his two-day visit, Administrator Shah met with President Hadi and Foreign Minister Qirbi, as well as with brave Yemenis who stood for change in Freedom Square and are now leaders in Yemen's National Dialogue and business leaders who are working to build Yemen's economy. 

Administrator Shah announced plans to provide up to $52 million dollars in additional commitments to support the Yemeni government and people during this time of transition-addressing both the urgent humanitarian needs of the country and helping lay the foundation for a united, stable, democratic and prosperous Yemen. This assistance will go towards community rehabilitation programs in conflict-affected areas in the South, humanitarian and food assistance to help provide immediate relief to families, women and children who need are in the greatest need, and support for the Yemeni government and civil society, as they forge the path ahead on Yemen's democratic transition and economic growth.

New Data on Foreign Assistance Dashboard

Federal Budget - 1% Foreign Assistance (State, USAID, MCC)

This week, we released our foreign assistance obligation and expenditure data on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. A joint project of the Department of State and USAID, the dashboard provides information about where U.S. foreign aid is invested by country, sector, initiative and agency. 

Currently, the site contains budget planning data for the Department of State, and budget planning, obligation, and expenditure data for USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Other U.S. Government agencies that receive foreign assistance funds and additional funding and programmatic details will be phased into the dashboard over time.

The Power of the Crowd

DCA Crowdsourcing Map - Click to Launch

Earlier this month, USAID launched its first crowdsourcing event to geocode and open development data. Yesterday, USAID released the  complete dataset, associated map, and case study (pdf) at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars

The dataset and map represent 117,000 loans that were made by private financial institutions due to risk-sharing agreements with the U.S. Government. USAID also released a case study about its effort that can help others leverage the power of "the crowd" for similar efforts.  

Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman speaks at the DRG Forum. Credit: USAID
2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman speaks at the DRG Forum.
Credit: USAID

Last week, we convened the Agency's third annual Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Forum

Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, opened the forum with an inspirational speech about advancing human dignity in the wake of the Arab Spring and in her own country, Yemen. 

The DRG Forum featured panels and discussions about innovative approaches to expanding political participation of women and girls, making governments more transparent, and promoting civil society, among other issues.

Progress, Promise, and Peril  

USAID convened a panel of experts on civil society to discuss A Generation of Change for Civil Society in Europe and Eurasia. Panelists highlighted the dynamic and varied environment in which civil society organizations operate, trends over the last 15 years, and hope for the future of civil society development. The panel discussed the organizations' innovative use of technology, the power of youth engagement, and the importance of local ownership to sector sustainability. The event also marked the launch of 15th edition of USAID's Non-Governmental Organization Sustainability Index - now called the Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index

USAID in the News 

Still can't get enough of USAID? Here's a little bit more. In a recent interview with Forbes, USAID Administrator Shah discussed the importance of effective public-private partnerships, the role of social entrepreneurs and social innovators in accelerating progress, and why cross-sector collaboration is critical to tackling today's most important development challenges.The Financial Times featured a story about USAID's first cohort of field investment officers to missions in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Egypt, Peru and Ukraine. The purpose of the deployment is to inject capital markets expertise into USAID's field offices, ensuring the local private sector becomes a critical component of USAID programming. Finally, The Guardian featured USAID's and PEPFAR's (the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) support for an HIV/AIDS clinic in South Africa. Nearly 130,000 patients have visited the clinic since it opened in 2007. The clinic treats an average of 250 people a day and provides more than 3,500 patients with antioretroviral therapy (ART) in their fight against HIV/AIDS. 

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