submitted by Amanda Parsons

For USAID Afghanistan civilian aid worker Laura Mendelson, tough negotiations with tribal leaders, anger from villagers and constant enemy fire are all in a days work. A Sunday Washington Post Magazine article outlines her efforts, the progress made and struggles faced by all aid providers on the ground in the war torn country.

After spending decades in exile, Saad Mohseni returned to become one of the most powerful influencers in Afghanistan. Today, he owns radio and television networks, an advertising agency, and a movie production company, among other businesses. Realizing that media messaging would be one of the most effective ways to responsibly rebuild the nation, USAID issued grants to help fund Mohseni’s work to build free press. The New Yorker and NPR profile the burgeoning media mogul and his recent successes thanks to United States support.

“Father of the Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug established the World Food Prize in 1968. The international award recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. As 2010’s winners were announced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, together with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, announced the creation of the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative—a cooperative venture of USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that, as Voice of America reports, will combine the two agencies’ resources, knowledge, commitment and expertise to work together for the realization of Borlaug’s dream of feeding the world.

USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah spoke to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Annual Convention with actor and activist Sean Penn last Saturday. His remarks involved the current status of President Obama’s recently launched Feed the Future initiative and it’s an international effort to eliminate hunger and updates on the development effort in Haiti. Read a transcript of the remarks on USAID’s website.

Schools in rural areas of underdeveloped nations often lack basic facilities and tools, hindering the learning ability of many students. On Thursday, USAID assured the government of Pakistan that it would provide $334 million for the promotion of primary and higher education in far-flung areas of the country. The funds will be used to install running water and toilets, and students who do not have access to schools will be given educational opportunities through distant learning programs and interactive computer technology. Younger students programs teaching skills according to local market needs will be proved to best prepare students for job opportunities in the future, the Daily Times reports.