Impact Newsletter - May 24, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013
Impact: A weekly look at USAID around the world

Volume Four, Issue Ten

USAID Launches Water Strategy and Announces DIV WASH Grantees

Access to safe & clean water saves lives & is vital to a productive future for every man, woman, & child.
Access to safe & clean water saves lives & is vital to a productive future for every man, woman, & child.

On Tuesday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah joined members of Congress - Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Chris Coons, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and Congressman Ted Poe - to release the U.S. Government's first Water and Development Strategy.

Senator Dick Durbin speaks at the Water Strategy Launch.
Senator Dick Durbin speaks at the Water Strategy Launch.
USAID/Pat Adams

The goal of the USAID Water and Development Strategy is to save lives and improve development in a world where practically 800 million people are without adequate water and 2.5 billion people are without access to adequate sanitation. The strategy sets out two overarching objectives: improve global health and strengthen global food security through USAID-supported water programs.

"This new U.S. Water and Development Strategy will help lift poor people around the world out of conflict and poverty.  It is smart, strategic, and builds on our past successes using new breakthroughs in science and technology," Senator Durbin said. "It will save water and it will save lives. USAID's new plan will bring water and sanitation - the most basic of human needs - to millions of people around the globe, dousing the flames of global poverty, disease, and conflict."

Improving human health and welfare, having adequate nutrition to thrive, and maintaining the sustainability of natural systems requires a coordinated global response to the challenges of water and sanitation access for present and future generations. "We will achieve greater impact by partnering with outside organizations and businesses that leverage innovative approaches and new technologies. This approach will also emphasize sustainability by building local capacities for operations, maintenance, and monitoring," said Administrator Shah.

This strategy reflects the commitment of the U.S. Government to work in partnership with the global community to meet these challenges.

In addition to the water strategy launch, Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) announced seven new winners in the Agency's open competition for development ideas. These projects are co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID's Development Innovation Ventures WASH for Life Partnership - an initiative to support DIV grantees improving water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries. These seven grantees are testing new and cost-effective solutions to water challenges around the world. 

Chicago Council on Global Affairs Symposium

Rural chicken farmers like Sagnol Salimata, pictured here, have received technical training and barn-construction support throug
Rural chicken farmers like Sagnol Salimata, pictured here, have received technical training and barn-construction support through agricultural development projects.
Jake Lyell

On Tuesday, Administrator Shah participated in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' annual Global Food Security Symposium along with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Shah gave opening remarks that focused on U.S. leadership,our successes, and the way forward in advancing global food security through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

"Feed the Future has been an all-hands-on-deck effort," said Administrator Shah. "In just the last few years, together we've been able to turn the tide against hunger. We now know that to end hunger effectively, we must work from farm to market to table. With science, innovation, business and a willingness to tackle difficult challenges, we're confident we can be successful and make ending hunger the defining story of our international work over the next several decades."

Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government is working to scale up proven technologies to increase production and incomes for smallholder farmers. At the symposium, Shah announced two new Partnership for Innovation Awards to World Cocoa Foundation to deliver tailored advice on pest management and fertilization to 15,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire; and to Driptech, an American startup company, to support the commercialization of its newly developed drip irrigation kit-in-a-box. He also shared news about the Agriculture Fast Track, a $25 million, first-of-its kind fund that will spur greater private investment in agriculture infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa. It was launched at the Grow Africa Investment Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, earlier this month by USAID, along with the African Development Bank and the Government of Sweden.

Together with its many partners, the Feed the Future initiative continues to make significant progress in charting a new way forward in food security that leverages the strengths and resources of the entire global community.

Convened annually by the Chicago Council's Global Agricultural Development Initiative, the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security provides a platform for discussion about the U.S. Government's and international community's progress on addressing the problem of food insecurity. The 2013 symposium brought together senior leaders from across sectors to chart a course for how science, trade, and business can be mobilized to advance food and nutrition security.

Read more about USAID's participation in the Chicago Council Symposium here.

Report Launches on Mobile Technology in Afghanistan

8 out of every 10 Afghan women has access to a mobile phone. In 2002 it was zero.

Before 2002, Afghans were cut off from each other and the world. Women in particular had no access to telephones. However, a new report launched in Kabul this week found that 80 percent of Afghan women have some access to mobile technology, either through their own phone or through a phone belonging to a family member. In addition to transforming women's ability to communicate, the proliferation of mobile phones in Afghanistan is beginning to facilitate women's access to life-enhancing commercial and social services, such as education, healthcare, and income-generating opportunities.

To find out more about how mobile technology is transforming women's lives in Afghanistan, read Connecting to Opportunity: A Survey of Afghan Women's Access to Mobile Technology [PDF].

Innovative Partnership Announced to Speed-up Delivery of Life-Saving Medicines to Developing World

Last week, USAID and the Swedish International Agency for Development Cooperation (Sida) announced a five-year partial guarantee to help speed up the procurement of essential medicines and health supplies by governments and civil society partners. The guarantee is part of a major scale-up of the Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH), which will help to increase the impact of donor funding and ultimately improve healthcare access for the millions who are helped by foreign aid.

USAID's partial guarantee, facilitated through its Development Credit Authority, enables PGH to access $100 million in credit that, over five years, can mobilize a tremendous value of lending capacity.

With the support of leading multilateral donor organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, this collaboration can help boost the impact of donor aid and improve the lives of mothers, children, and families globally.

Administrator Shah made the announcement at the 2013 GBCHealth Conference in New York. He was joined by Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Kathy Calvin, president of the U.N. Foundation, as well as representatives from the U.N., PGH, Sida, Merck and Vestergaard Frandsen.

Private sector commodity suppliers Merck and Vestergaard Frandsen have also stepped up to provide up-front price discounts to aid recipients who utilize PGH to purchase their life-saving health supplie

USAID Partners with Qualcomm to Combat Development Challenges

Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg and Qualcomm's Nathan Fletcher.
Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg and Qualcomm's Nathan Fletcher.
USAID/Pat Adams

On Tuesday, we announced a global commitment to expand our collaboration to improve access to technology to further economic and social development in developing and emerging markets with the technology company Qualcomm.

Building on several successful projects in Latin America and Asia,USAID and Qualcomm signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to help close the mobile phone gender gap, expand access to broadband, enhance education outcomes, mitigate the negative impacts of climate change, improve information access for frontline health workers, connect small-scale farmers and producers to market data, and enable entrepreneurs to grow their companies by leveraging digital literacy skills. Read details on the partnership and the past three successful collaborations in Brazil, El Salvador and the Philippines here.

Public ACVFA Meeting Announced: June 12, 2013

On June 12, USAID will hold a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA). Chaired by Jack Leslie, who is also chairman of Weber Shandwick, ACVFA is made up of 22 private citizens who represent the diverse views of USAID's key stakeholders - private and voluntary organizations, cooperatives, foundations, private firms, professional societies, and universities.

The public meetings serve as one of several ways in which USAID and the committee interact with the public and share information about the collective work we are doing in global development. The next meeting will focus on the U.S. Government's commitment to develop a formal joint plan for engagement with civil society partners in order to achieve our collective Feed the Future objectives. It will be held at 2:30 p.m. EST in the Ronald Reagan Building. Please register here to attend or contact for additional information.

Career Openings at USAID

Want To Work for USAID? Check out our current vacancy announcements!

Environmental Protection Specialist
Bureau for Europe and Eurasia
Closes Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Civil Service

Program Support Assistant
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Closes Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Civil Service

IT Specialist (InfoSec)
Bureau for Management
Closes Saturday, February 15, 2014
Civil Service

USAID In the News

Can't get enough of us? Check out some news clips about USAID that were featured this week. In its "The Caucus" blog, the New York Times reports, "One of the world's largest food companies offered its support on Wednesday for changes to the way the United States provides food aid to developing countries."Administrator Shah was featured on the " The Kojo Nnamdi Show,"  where he discussed "the agency's priorities and where it fits into a complex web of public and private organizations providing development aid abroad." The Thompson Reuters Foundation reports on Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH), a new public-private financial partnership that aims to decrease the lag time between donor commitment and aid disbursement, by giving aid recipients access to bridge financing. 

Have you Seen our Blog?

Check out the Impact Blog to stay updated on the latest information about USAID programs in Washington and around the world. Read stories from the field, hear from development experts, and view weekly photos and videos of development in action. You can also join the conversation on social media!

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