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.
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At a forum organized by Global Washington and hosted by Seattle University, Maura O’Neill, USAID’s Counselor for Innovation, will participate in a discussion about Washington State’s contribution to the global development sector and will offer recommendations for improving the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.
Administrator Shah will join Secretary Clinton at the State Department to address the 2009-2010 Jefferson Science Fellows. The ten Fellows are tenured professors assigned for one year at State and USAID. Their universities contribute to the success of this public-private partnership.
USAID will be recognizing World Population Day on July 11th. USAID’s Family Planning program is one of the success stories in U.S. development assistance. Since the launch of the program in 1965, families are better able to feed, clothe, educate, and provide health care for their children.
A community health hut is an innovative approach to ensure health services for those who don’t have the money or the transportation to travel great distances to see a doctor. USAID supports a nationwide network of nearly 1,500 huts in Senegal, staffed by almost 10,000 volunteers, covering a population of nearly two and a half million people. These often small, one or two-room structures are widely accessible around the country, including remote, rural areas where there may be no other health provider available. It is community-managed, financed and volunteer-staffed, which means it’s not government driven, but in the hands of the people. USAID began supporting these structures in the early ‘80s and since then, as the largest and most consistent donor, its support has become synonymous with comprehensive community care here. In fact, it is a very important aspect of the malaria prevention and treatment program (the President’s Malaria Initiative) and critical to family planning and reproductive health programs, all of which work hard to reduce maternal and child mortality, as part of the Millennium Development Goals.
As part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Statesmen’s Forum, Administrator Shah will give an address on the U.S. Global Health Initiative. Dr. Shah’s remarks will focus on integration and innovation for better health outcomes. This event, held on Tuesday at 1 PM Eastern, will be webcast live.
Alonzo Fulgham, USAID’s Chief Operating Officer, will join Ambassador Melanne Verveer during the U.S. National Voluntary Presentation at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review. Mr. Fulgham will discuss how U.S. commitments to the Millennium Development Goals are integral to the empowerment of women around the world.
Check out the transcript of Dr. Rajiv Shah’s speech at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Annual Convention.
submitted by Jessica Scott
Administrator Rajiv Shah shared insight on his ideas for agency reform at the National Press Club June 18 luncheon. His inspiration for the changes stemmed from the extraordinary actions of his staff in response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti. The emergency teams demonstrated their versatility by purchasing food from local reserves as opposed to depending on food sent by the US. Working closely with the World Food Programme, they managed to feed approximately three and a half million people. The reform will not only focus on disbursing aid, but determining the impact it has as well as providing solid evidence to the American taxpayer’s as to the significance of their contributions.
The Helping Babies Breathe Campaign, a program implemented to prevent birth asphyxia, was announced last week in Washington. The purpose of this campaign is to educate midwives and traditional birth attendants in underprivileged countries on how to resuscitate a newborn. USAID has teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Save the Children to power this initiative. Currently, the curriculum is being offered in ten countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America through USAID maternal and newborn health programs.
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Just had a great evening of meeting and speaking with young doctors at the annual conference of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). They’re an impressive group of professionals who are doing so much on behalf of their communities and people in need overseas.
Back in my college days in Michigan I volunteered to assist physicians in an extremely poor community in South India. This group of doctors not only treated people’s medical needs, they also created an enduring development program that improved livelihoods and strengthened the community. I was there for only a few months, but it was enough to convince me that when we put our minds together to solve some of the most difficult problems, we can be successful.
And in that context, I really appreciate what groups like AAPI are doing to create that sense of possibility.
Later, I created with my wife, Shivam, who was then my girlfriend, a Philadelphia-based youth leadership and mentoring program with chapters in several major U.S. cities that brought young people to Washington, DC to inspire them about the potential to serve. And one of our first grants was from the very organization that I just spoke with last night.
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USAID held a lively discussion this week on the connection between education and militancy in Pakistan, focused on the Brookings Institution’s newly released report, Beyond Madrassas: Assessing the Links between Education and Militancy in Pakistan.
The Brookings Institution funded and wrote the report, but we thought its release would be a great opportunity for staff from USAID and US government agencies, think tanks, academics, diaspora groups and other development partners to discuss the findings more in-depth.
USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, told the 125 attendees that the event was “part of our reform agenda here at USAID … to be as evidence-based as possible in making program decisions that get more educational results for U.S. tax dollars”.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey – USAID – Brookings Institution
Guest speaker Congresswoman Nita Lowey thanked the report co-authors, Dr. Rebecca Winthrop and Dr. Corinne Graff, saying “we know that education, especially a quality basic education, is instrumental in fostering a more peaceful society, preventing conflict, and ensuring equality between men and women.”
Afghanistan/Pakistan Task Force director Jim Bever moderated the discussion, which featured the report co-authors Dr. Winthrop and Dr. Graff, Steve Inskeep (National Public Radio), Bruce Riedel (Brookings Institution) and Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies).
Read more about the event, see the full transcript.
Secretary Clinton and Administrator Shah will deliver opening remarks on “LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy” at an event co-hosted by State’s Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.
At an event in the Ronald Reagan Building, USAID will join the Brookings Institution to launch a new report on education in Pakistan. The event will discuss efforts to create concrete programs in Pakistan’s education sector that can more effectively advance U.S. security objectives in the region and contribute to longer-term stability in Pakistan. Administrator Shah, Congresswoman Lowey and Mr. Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, are among the key speakers.
Administrator Shah will give remarks at a dinner during the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) conference in Washington, DC. AAPI is a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs.
The 2010 World Food Prize ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 16th celebrating the winners of the prestigious $250,000 award honoring accomplishments that have improved the global food supply. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Rajiv Shah, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were the keynote speakers helping celebrate the fight to end global hunger.
Dr. Shah travelled to Dakar, Senegal to speak at the opening ceremony of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Food Security Investment Forum.
A meeting was held in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where the topic of discussion was finding business solutions for nutrition problems. Dr. Rajiv Shah explained that USAID will be making some changes regarding investments focusing more on aligning investments in grain storage, market information systems, and feeder roads. Dr. Shah also mentioned that President Obama has committed to spending at least $3.5 billion over three years for agricultural development and food access.
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