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United with Ukraine: Hope, Progress, and the Challenging Road Ahead

In mid-September, I had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine to see firsthand the work that USAID is doing to support critical recovery and reform efforts. Not only did I return with a better understanding and appreciation of the programming we are implementing, but also was impressed by the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people facing the challenging road ahead.

During my trip, I had the opportunity to travel to Dnipropetrovsk – only a couple of hundred miles from the conflict zone in the East where thousands of Ukrainians were driven from their homes by the battle between Ukrainian forces and Russia-supported separatists.

At a visit to a Dnipropetrovsk center for internally displaced persons (IDPs), organized and run by volunteers, I was awestruck by the outpouring of support and the capacity of Ukrainians from all walks of life to contribute and assist their countrymen.

This center is providing food, clothing and temporary shelter to over 21,000 people pouring into Dnipropetrovsk from the neighboring Donetsk and Luhansk regions. I was able to meet Maria and her young daughter who were forced to leave their home in Horlivka, close to Donetsk and have been in  Dnipropetrovsk for a few weeks. While she told me that being displaced is difficult, she was very impressed with the reception provided in Dnipropetrovsk. Maria spends her days volunteering at the center and helping new arrivals.

USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander meets Lydia at the Dnipropetrovsk IDP Center.

USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander meets Lydia at the Dnipropetrovsk IDP Center. Lydia was forced to leave her home but hopes to return home soon. She is grateful for the support provided by Dopomoha Dnipra and the IDP Center. / Roman Woronowycz, USAID

In early June, the center received around 100 people per day. Now, with more than 300 new arrivals per day, the center needs support.The United States Government, in coordination with the government of Ukraine, has responded to the need to help the roughly 271,000 people displaced by this conflict. This center, and others like it, will receive bedroom furniture and kitchen appliances for new arrivals with nowhere else to go. USAID is also developing plans to refurbish two floors of the center to shelter an additional 200 people.

USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander and Head of Dopomoha Dnipra Foundation Vladislav Makarov sign a Memorandum of Understanding by which USAID will provide funds to assist an additional 200 internally displaced persons

USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander and Head of Dopomoha Dnipra Foundation Vladislav Makarov sign a Memorandum of Understanding by which USAID will provide funds to assist an additional 200 internally displaced persons. / Roman Woronowycz, USAID

During Ukraine’s Maidan movement, thousands took a stand against corruption and government abuse to demand a free and democratic Ukraine. Throughout my trip, it became evident that the Ukrainian people are eager to contribute to their new government’s efforts. At one meeting, I entered a room packed with dozens of civil society representatives, many of whom we support to build their organizations’ capacity to advocate for and oversee reform efforts in decentralization, transparency, and health. Not only is their passion and dedication working to hold the government accountable, but many are also working to improve the humanitarian situation in the East by helping the government care for IDPs and even feeding and clothing soldiers. They are truly continuing to fight for the dignity that started on the Maidan and are one of the main reasons I’m hopeful about Ukraine’s future.

Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska (left) and USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander attend the launch of a USAID human rights project in Kyiv

Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska (left) and USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander attend the launch of a USAID human rights project in Kyiv. / Roman Woronowycz, USAID

Although the Government was not able to pass an anti-corruption bill on September 16th, key officials remain committed to paving the way for a new Ukraine. I had the honor to meet with newly elected Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klychko – some of you might remember Mr. Klychko, who for years reigned as heavyweight boxing champion of the world before entering the Ukrainian political ring. Mr. Klychko is pushing for major reforms in this city of 4 million to address waste and corruption. USAID is redoubling its efforts to partner with the City on its anti-corruption agenda, especially on e-governance, where USAID has recently hired an advisor to assist the city, the Presidential Administration, and the Ministry of Regional Development.

Looking forward, the U.S. Government remains committed to supporting Ukraine in both the short and long term as its leaders make the difficult sacrifices required to build the stable, democratic, and prosperous country its people deserve.

During President Poroshenko’s visit on September 18th, President Obama announced a new package of assistance totaling $53 million and has requested an additional $45 million from Congress in the next fiscal year to support Ukraine. The U.S. Government has provided $291 million in critical assistance this year as well as a $1 billion loan guarantee in May.

USAID, as part of a U.S. Government interagency team, is working closely with local partners and international donors to deliver immediate support to meet Ukraine’s most urgent areas of need. Together, we can help get relief to IDPs and provide humanitarian assistance to the conflict areas in eastern Ukraine.

USAID is making every effort to help Ukraine prepare for the challenges presented by the coming winter, replacing damaged windows to make homes habitable in the cold, and working with the electrical system managers to reduce the dangers of black-outs because of the fuel shortage. We are gearing up to assist in next month’s parliamentary elections to help ensure that the voices of all Ukrainians are heard and represented.

While these pressing needs are being addressed, USAID will continue to help Ukraine make important reforms that are necessary to end corruption, decentralize power, and reform its constitution.

In the longer term, USAID continues to work with the Ukrainian Government to support a prosperous Ukraine, with a stable economy, more productive farms, and greater energy efficiency.

In recent months Ukraine has made great strides in many areas. The Ukrainian Parliament unanimously passed the Association Agreement with the European Union, committing Ukraine to economic, judicial and financial reforms in line with European Union policies and legislation. Ukraine has fulfilled several steps of the Minsk ceasefire agreements necessary to stop the loss of life in Eastern Ukraine. A free and fair presidential election was held in May and the country now prepares for historic parliamentary elections.

Despite these achievements, serious challenges remain.

Even while fighting to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and responding to the pressing needs of its citizens in the short-term, the Ukrainian government cannot forget the message of the Maidan and must follow through on its commitments to fighting corruption, improve the rule of law, and build the transparency and accountability that they promised.

Ukraine is at a critical juncture and if history is any indicator, there is a limited window of time for the Ukrainian Government to make good on these commitments. Only through the passing and implementation of challenging reforms, will Ukraine be successful in the long road ahead. The United States, including USAID, look forward to remaining a strong and committed partner in this journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paige Alexander is USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia

Diaspora Businesses Find Success in Africa and Beyond

Want to build a global business? Start it in Africa.

The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) encourages promising diaspora entrepreneurs to do just that.

The partnership between USAID’s Global Development LabWestern Union, and Western Union Foundation provides seed funding, expertise, and networking opportunities for a talented group of entrepreneurs to create new opportunities in and outside the continent.

We  recently caught up with a few of ADM’s entrepreneurs to discuss their progress, and what they like most about doing business in Africa.

U.S. based tech company, Sproxil created an efficient way to verify the authenticity of medicine and other  products for consumers in Africa and Asia.

U.S. based tech company, Sproxil created an efficient way to verify the authenticity of medicine and other products for consumers in Africa and Asia. / Sproxil

Protecting Consumers from Fake Drugs
Tech start-up and ADM grantee, Sproxil developed an anti-counterfeiting service for a range of products, including pharmaceuticals drugs. The firm’s Ghanaian founder first pioneered the SMS-based verification service in Nigeria and quickly scaled it to additional markets. In 2013, Fast Company magazine ranked Sproxil as seventh amongst the year’s 50 most innovative businesses along with Google and Nike.

“[ADM] was fundamental in accelerating our growth, enabling Sproxil to scale-up faster than we would have otherwise,” says Alden Zecha, Sproxil Chief Financial Officer and Strategist.

“Consumers, governments, and businesses are very receptive to technological innovations that enhance quality of life. Consequently, more startups and investments are focusing on countries across Africa,” said Zecha about the region’s tech sectors.

Today, Sproxil’s mobile phone based service has helped American, African, and Asian consumers verify the authenticity of more than 11 million medicines and other products.

Grown in Ghana, Ashanti Pineapples were able to sell their certified organic produce in Whole Foods Market grocery stores thanks in part to the ADM partnership.

Grown in Ghana, Ashanti Pineapples were able to sell their certified organic produce in Whole Foods Market grocery stores thanks in part to the ADM partnership. / Sardis Enterprises International

Going Organic Reaps Sweet Success
Sardis Enterprises International and its Ghanaian partners, grow organic fruits for export. By producing and selling organic fruits, Sardis is reaching higher-value markets. In January, its Ashanti brand pineapples began selling in Whole Foods grocery stores in the southeast United States.

With support from the ADM, farming cooperatives in Ghana that supply Sardis were able to become certified to sell organic produce in the U.S. and E.U. “That venue [ADM] was very good for a young entrepreneur that needs a platform to get exposure and assistance to expand,” says Michael Griffin, CEO of Sardis.

Griffin sees expanding opportunities for growing small businesses on the continent. “[Africa] gives the small guy a shot…the atmosphere is conducive for a smart entrepreneur to succeed.”

The company is now working on expanding its partnership with Whole Foods across America’s east coast.

Chinwe Ohajuruka, an American educated architect and business women is creating a model for green and affordable housing units in Nigeria.

Chinwe Ohajuruka, an American educated architect and business women is creating a model for green and affordable housing units in Nigeria. / CDS

Making Affordable Green Housing a Reality
In Nigeria, there is a need for more than 17 million houses. The nation also faces major challenges with reliable power, and access to clean water. Enter Comprehensive Design Services (CDS), a Diaspora founded and woman-owned business. CDS has designed and built a set of prototype housing units that provides dependable renewable energy and clean water for Nigerians of average incomes.

“The ADM grant provided much needed start-up financing,” said Chinwe Ohajuruka, head of CDC and a Nigerian-American Architect. ‘The partnership has increased [our] visibility, as we have been invited to South Africa, Japan, and even the White House to speak about our innovative and sustainable design solutions to the housing, renewable energy, clean water, and sanitation crisis.”

A resident of Columbus, Ohio, Ohajuruka says the ADM allows her to stay connected with the continent in a meaningful way.

Her ambitious goal is to eventually build 100 green and affordable residential buildings in each of the 774 local municipalities across Nigeria.

Thanks to the success of CDS, Sproxil, Sardis and other diaspora businesses supported by the ADM, it has been nominated as a finalist for the P3 Impact Awards.  The award showcases outstanding public-private partnership for their innovations and results.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Romi Bhatia is a Senior Advisor in the U.S. Global Development Lab (@romib15)
Jeffrey Jackson is a Senior Advisor in USAID’s Bureau for Africa (@USAIDAfrica)

A Grand Challenge to Help Health Care Workers Fight Ebola

Health care workers put on Personal protective equipment (PPE) before going into the hot zone at Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept 22 2014. / Morgana Wingard, USAID

Health care workers put on personal protective equipment (PPE) before going into the hot zone at Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept. 22 2014. / Morgana Wingard, USAID

Today, West Africa faces the largest Ebola epidemic in history. Markets are empty. Schools are closed. Friends greet each other from a distance. As President Obama said yesterday at the United Nations:

“Ebola is a horrific disease. It’s wiping out entire families. It has turned simple acts of love and comfort and kindness — like holding a sick friend’s hand, or embracing a dying child — into potentially fatal acts. If ever there were a public health emergency deserving an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it.”

From Guinea to Liberia to Sierra Leone, the alarm has been sounded, and United States is mobilizing a global response. We know how to stop this epidemic, but it will take ingenuity, speed, and cooperation. That is why President Obama announced a new Grand Challenge for Development to generate pioneering solutions that help health care workers provide better care in the midst of the epidemic.

“I’m pleased to announce a new effort to help health workers respond to diseases like Ebola. As many of you know firsthand, the protective gear that health workers wear can get incredibly hot, especially in humid environments. So today, we’re issuing a challenge to the inventors and entrepreneurs and businesses of the world to design better protective solutions for our health workers… And our goal is to get them to the field in a matter of months, to help the people working in West Africa right now.  We can do this.”

Every day, courageous men and women are performing critical tasks that save lives and prevent the spread of the virus. Personal protective equipment (PPE)—the suits, masks and gloves the health care worker wears—is their primary protection, but it is also the greatest source of stress. In these hot and uncomfortable suits, health workers must administer to the patients and remove contaminated materials.

Health workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) wait to enter the hot zone at Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept 22. 2014. PPE is their primary protection, but it is also the greatest source of stress. / Morgana Wingard, USAID

Health workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) wait to enter the hot zone at Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept 22. 2014. PPE is their primary protection, but it is also the greatest source of stress. / Morgana Wingard, USAID

Announced at the Global Health Security Summit in Washington, D.C., this Grand Challenge for Development will unite the global community in the quest for ingenious ideas that deliver practical and cost-effective innovations in a matter of months, not years.

We need new ideas to help ensure that treatment sites, communal transport units, and burial sites do not become infection sources. We need new solutions that strengthen the safety and increase the comfort of the suits, from improving fabric design to measuring a health worker’s temperature and heart rate.

We need new ways to simplify clinical processes, including point-of-care diagnostics. And we need new tools that continue to create a safer clinical environment, including improving infection control and waste disposal. Taken together, these innovations will enable health workers to provide better care for those who are suffering.

Together with our international partners, we will translate the expertise and ingenuity of scientists, innovators, engineers, and students from across the globe into real solutions. With your bold thinking and engagement, we can give health workers the tools they need to win this fight.

To get involved, please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/grandchallenges/ebola

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Rajiv Shah is USAID Administrator. He tweets from @rajshah

Obama Administration Launches Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture

This post originally appeared on The USDA Blog.


From record droughts in Kansas to deadly wildfires in California, the United States is feeling the effects of climate change. These same conditions have a dire impact across the developing world, especially for poor, rural smallholder farmers whose very lives are threatened every time the rains arrive late, the floods rush in, or the temperature soars.

Climate change induced degradation of land could be the inheritance of inaction regarding climate change.

Climate change induced degradation of land could be the inheritance of inaction regarding climate change. / George Safonov

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nine billion people. Feeding them will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural production. There is no greater challenge to meeting this need than climate change. It poses a range of unprecedented threats to the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people and to the very planet that sustains us. In order to ensure that hundreds of millions of people are not born into a debilitating cycle of under-nutrition and hunger, we must address the urgent threat that climate change poses.

That’s why today we’re announcing the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. The idea was born eight months ago, when an international delegation of leaders—including many from the USDA, the State Department, and USAID—met in South Africa for the Global Conference on Climate Change, Food Security, and Agriculture. There, we charted a more sustainable path to food security—one that preserves the environment while driving broad-based economic growth.

The Alliance’s solutions will encompass every type of climate and agricultural system, including better crop, livestock, and aquaculture varieties that can tolerate extreme heat, drought, and floods. We are also testing and deploying innovative tools for farmers, like weather-indexed crop and livestock insurance to help communities build resilience to severe weather.

A boy and a woman struggle with the dusty wind looking for water in Wajir, Kenya

A boy and a woman struggle with the dusty wind looking for water in Wajir, Kenya. / Jervis Sundays, Kenya Red Cross Society

The Alliance will advance a more inclusive, innovative, and evidence-based approach to food security. It will provide platforms for partners to collaborate on agricultural practices, make key investments, develop policies that empower producers to mitigate the impact of climate change and, through sustainable agriculture practices, contribute to a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It will also provide farmers—particularly women—with greater economic opportunities.

Joining the Alliance represents an ambitious step in the United States’ efforts to integrate climate change policies into every area of our work. The Alliance will work in concert with the U.S. Global Climate Change Initiative, drawing on its expertise and experience grappling with climate change challenges in more than 50 developing countries around the world. This climate-specific knowledge and practice being pioneered today will be critical to protect lives and livelihoods, and promote low-carbon growth and development around the world.

As one of his Administration’s first foreign policy acts, President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Led by USAID—in partnership with USDA, the State Department, and eight other federal agencies—Feed the Future empowers vulnerable communities to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.

In the last year alone, Feed the Future has improved the nutrition for 12.5 million children across 19 countries. At the same time, it has helped 7 million farmers grow their yields, raise their income, and begin the journey out of the devastating cycle of extreme poverty.

In 2012, President Obama rallied a group of global leaders at the G8 Summit at Camp David to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, aimed to increase public-private partnerships and increase investment in agriculture. Today, we’ve leveraged $10 billion in investment from more than 200 companies—the majority from local African firms, including farmer-owned businesses.

Here in the United States, we’ve taken steps to address climate change and its impact on agriculture, setting up seven climate hubs and three sub-hubs; launching the Soil Health Initiative (healthier soil captures more carbon and helps farmers succeed), engaging more farmers than any time in American history in land and water conservation efforts, and we’re contributing to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gasses. Our experiences at home can provide lessons that are valuable for farmers around the world.

We don’t have time to wait. From India to the United States, climate change poses drastic risks to every facet of our lives. Ground water supplies are vanishing faster than they can be replenished. Typhoons, wildfires, and floods are showing signs of becoming more frequent and more deadly. And with each day, families are pushed to the brink of survival—threatening our own prosperity and security in an increasingly connected world.

Addressing climate change will not be an easy fix, and it won’t be simple. Long term global food security depends on us acting together now.  That’s why the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture is so critical. By joining together, we can design new technologies and create new alliances to effectively protect and manage the environment that supports us—and the thriving ecosystems that will sustain our world for generations to come.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

John Kerry is the U.S. Secretary of State and tweets from @JohnKerry
Tom Vilsack is the U.S. Agriculture Secretary and tweets from @USDA
Dr. Rajiv Shah is the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and tweets from @RajShah

Five Promising Innovations in Contraception

You may know that there are countless forms of contraception available to choose from: pills, IUDs, injections, implants, and more.

What you may not know is that USAID has supported the development of essentially every modern contraceptive available today, both in the U.S. and abroad.

World Contraception Day on September 26th draws attention to the important health and economic benefits contraception brings families, communities, and nations. Studies show that pregnancies that occur too early or late in life or too close together can result in devastating consequences for both the mother and child.

Increasing access to modern contraception across the globe could avert an estimated 7 million child deaths and 450,000 maternal deaths by 2020.

We also know that family planning is crucial to ending extreme poverty by opening the opportunity for countries to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, a phenomenon that can add as much as two percent to annual GDP growth for decades.

For this reason, USAID has worked for nearly half a century to expand access to voluntary family planning information and services across the globe.

As we work to meet the needs of the 222 million women who want to avoid pregnancy but aren’t using modern contraception, it is vital for us to invest in new methods that expand women’s options. Studies show that some women don’t use currently available contraceptives because of concerns over potential side-effects, preference for non-hormonal methods, and a lack of options for women who have infrequent sex. Furthermore, we must expand availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives and permanent methods for women who choose to delay or limit childbearing.  Here are five promising new innovations in contraception:

SILCs Diaphragm. / Credit: PATH/Mike Wang

SILCs Diaphragm. / Credit: PATH/Mike Wang

1)  SILCs Diaphragm: The SILCS diaphragm, marketed as the Caya® contoured diaphragm, is a new type of diaphragm that is easy to use, non-hormonal, does not need to be fitted by a clinician, and is reusable for up to three years. In addition to being a contraceptive, this diaphragm has the potential to be a true multipurpose prevention product, serving as a delivery platform for gels that help protect against HIV and other STIs. After numerous studies clinically proving safety, acceptability, and comfort, Caya® recently received FDA regulatory approval for marketing within the United States. USAID and partners are currently working in Malawi and Zambia to make this new contraceptive available to women.

Sayana Press. / Credit: PATH/Patrick McKern

Sayana Press. / Credit: PATH/Patrick McKern

2) Sayana Press: Sayana Press is an injectable contraceptive packaged in a pre-filled single-use syringe. Its unique delivery system makes it more portable and easier to use, allowing injections to be delivered by health care workers to women at home or in other convenient settings. This new delivery system has the potential to drastically expand the availability of injectable contraceptives in the hardest-to-reach areas. Through a public-private partnership, USAID, DFID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer, and Path are supporting the introduction of Sayana Press in Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger and Bangladesh.

Woman's Condom. / PATH

Woman’s Condom. / PATH

3) Woman’s Condom: The Woman’s Condomis designed to be easy to insert, use and remove, making it unique compared to other female condoms. Condoms offer contraception and protection against HIV in one inexpensive, simple-to-use package. As awareness about the multipurpose protection benefits of the female condom grows, global demand is increasing.

NES/EE vaginal ring. / Julie Sitney

NES/EE vaginal ring. / Julie Sitney

4) One-Year Contraceptive Vaginal Ring and Progesterone Vaginal Ring:  The NES+EE Contraceptive Vaginal Ring is the first medium-term hormonal method completely under the woman’s control that lasts for one year. This discreet method meets the needs of women who may encounter partner opposition and who don’t want a family planning method that requires a daily routine. The three-month Progerone Vaginal Ring for breastfeeding women is an effective, user-controlled method that can be used safely by breastfeeding women to aid in spacing pregnancies. It does not affect a woman’s ability to produce breast milk and does not require insertion by a healthcare provider.

CycleTel. / Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University

CycleTel. / Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University

5) Digital Fertility-Awareness Based Methods of Family Planning iCycleBeads™ Smartphone Apps, CycleTel™ and CycleBeads® Online are mobile and digital services that enable women to use the Standard Days Method (SDM) directly on a phone or internet-enabled device. This effective, natural family planning method helps women track their cycle and know on which days there is a high likelihood of getting pregnant.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Starbird is the Director of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health.

René Van Slate: “I’ve pretty much done everything that terrifies me… except for Ebola”

Morgana Wingard This is the first blog in our Profiles in Courage series in which photojournalist Morgana Wingard compiles snapshots and sound bites from our USAID and Disaster Assistance Response Team staff on the front lines of the Ebola response. Here she talks to a veteran in humanitarian disaster assistance, René Van Slate, who serves as a liaison between the military on the ground and the U.S. civilian team.
René Van Slate

René Van Slate
USAID Humanitarian Assistance Advisor to the U.S. Military

A veteran in humanitarian disaster assistance, René Van Slate is afraid of nothing… nothing except Ebola. She was on the ground after the flooding in Thailand in 2011, typhoon Bopha in the Philippines in 2012, the Republic of Marshall Islands drought in 2013, and typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year. Now, on her fifth disaster response team René explains her trepidation, “Ebola is microscopic, it’s covered in mystery and it’s incredibly deadly.” But, René is here with USAID facing her greatest fear on the front lines of the Ebola response in Liberia.

René touched down with the first crew from USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) at the beginning of August. Since then, she has liaised between the military on the ground and the U.S. civilian team, advising and coordinating logistics to best utilize military assets and personnel. Specifically, she is working on Operation Liberty with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) supported by U.S. forces to build Ebola treatment units across Liberia.

One of the greatest challenges on the ground is that almost no one had ever dealt with an Ebola outbreak other than Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and those were much smaller and rural. “The whole humanitarian community is learning Ebola,” René says. “Though [building] an Ebola treatment unit is simple, like rocket science, it must be done perfectly every time.”

In an operation as large and complex as the current Ebola response, it takes a team of people working day in and day out processing requests to arrange for all the logistics to get materials transported, imported and delivered to where they are needed.

The best part of her job is days like today, when requests are fulfilled, referring to Thursday’s  arrival of 9,000 community protection kits—a joint effort of UNICEF, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and USAID—as part of the response to help Liberians fight Ebola. Each kit includes biohazard bags, soap, personal protective equipment, and gloves. They will be distributed to Ebola Community Centers across Liberia in partnership with UNICEF.
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(all photos by Morgana Wingard)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgana Wingard is a photojournalist documenting the many facets of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. All this week she will be guest posting from USAID’s instagram

Liberia Gripped By Ebola’s Many Tentacles

Morgana Wingard This is the second blog in our Daily Dispatches series in which we’ve teamed up with photojournalist Morgana Wingard, who is on the ground with USAID staff in Liberia documenting the fight on Ebola. Her photo series and blogs from the team will offer unique angles into the many facets of the Ebola story – from life inside a treatment center, to profiles of the health care workers battling Ebola from the front lines, to the many ways the epidemic is impacting the health, economy and future of the nation. 

“This deadly epidemic underscores the importance of USAID’s focus on ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies. As fragile states just emerging from decades of conflict and poverty, Sierra Leone and Liberia were particularly vulnerable as the disease jumped to urban environments. Even people who aren’t sick have not escaped Ebola’s reach. [...] The United States is providing basic needs support and food aid to help counter these effects and boost access to food and water, especially for isolated communities.” – Nancy Lindborg, Testimony before Congress – September 17, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia—While the Ebola virus is having devastating impacts on Liberia’s health system, beyond the spotlight it is having an equally damaging impact on the economy. We have yet to know the full extent of the impacts, but the warning signs are already showing.

Sales have plummeted in Waterside Market—an economic hub in downtown Monrovia where Liberians trek to buy commodities like fresh fish from the Atlantic Ocean, school shoes, or used household goods imported from America. And at this time of year, many parents should be back-to-school shopping. However, with all of Liberia’s schools closed and many parents now jobless, vendors wait for days sometimes before selling a single ware.

I stopped by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare one morning and met Emmanuel Patrick, 55. He was an instructor at the Salvation Army School until the government closed the schools due to the epidemic. Now, to support his six children, he travels to the Ministry every morning in the hopes of obtaining a day labor job working in the warehouse. But there is not enough work, and the income doesn’t cover the cost of increasing living expenses.

You can find stories like Emmanuel’s on every corner of the nation’s capital and throughout Liberia: Ordinary Liberians, who, while not infected with the virus, are suffering its impacts.

Ibrahim, 20, sells shoes in Waterside Market in downtown Monrovia on Sept. 18, 2014

Ibrahim, 20, sells shoes in Waterside Market in downtown Monrovia on Sept. 18, 2014. Normally at this time of year he sells shoes for students going back to school. On a typical day he would sell between two and five pairs. Since the Ebola virus epidemic, sales have plummeted. Schools are closed and Liberians are staying at home as much as possible. Many people have lost their jobs and are living on their savings to survive.


Hana, who sells donuts, lays across a counter once filled with meat products for sale in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 18, 2014.

Hana, who sells donuts, lays across a counter once filled with meat products for sale in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 18, 2014. Waterside Market is typically a bustling commerce center in downtown Monrovia. Now, with fears of Ebola, vendors are struggling to sell their goods. The Liberian Government is threatening to close down the market which sits next to the largest township, West Point, where members of the community broke into an Ebola isolation unit on August 16. Because of concern that Ebola is spread through contaminated bush meat, stalls that used to be filled with meat are now empty.


Anne Benson, 49, sells used clothes in Waterside Market to support her nine children and five grandchildren in Monrovia on September 18, 2014

Anne Benson, 49, sells used clothes in Waterside Market to support her nine children and five grandchildren in Monrovia on September 18, 2014. She lives with her husband and children in Sinkor. Since the Ebola outbreak her sales have plummeted. She used to sell the equivalent of $23 to $35 per day. Now she’s lucky if she sells $6 worth. She says only people in town are buying. People are not traveling to the market anymore because of the costs of transportation and the fear of taxis, which are often carrying Ebola patients to Ebola Treatment Units. When she travels to work in a taxi, she protects herself from the other passengers in the car with a long sweater. She makes seven of her nine children stay at home all day to protect them from the Ebola virus and regularly uses hand sanitizer and their bucket of chlorine water at home.


Oretha Sampon, 40, sells fish in Waterside Market next to West Point in Monrovia on September 18, 2014.

Oretha Sampon, 40, sells fish in Waterside Market next to West Point in Monrovia on September 18, 2014. Before the Ebola Outbreak she would sell 50 to 100 fish each day. Now she only sells about 25. She says no one is buying during the crisis because because of the precarious economy. Business owners are forced to live off their savings—if they have them—because they are not making enough to cover their expenses. Oretha used to come sell six times a week in the market, but now she only comes three times a week. With the cost of goods and transport going up and sales going down Oretha has lost her means to support her four children.


Vincent, 24 (center, in blue) and Junior, 20 (middle, in red), both residents of West Point

Vincent, 24 (center, in blue) and Junior, 20 (middle, in red), both residents of West Point, a  township that has been one of the hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic, used to drive motorcycles for a living — a form of local transport in Liberia used like taxis. After the government banned motorcycles in downtown Monrovia they had to stop. Now, because of Ebola, they can’t find any work and are feeling disgruntled. They want a job, but no one is hiring so they wait on the side of the street at the entrance of West Point.


Emmanuel Patrick, 55, was an instructor at the Salvation Army School in Monrovia, Liberia

Emmanuel Patrick, 55, was an instructor at the Salvation Army School in Monrovia, Liberia. He’s been teaching for 26 years—four of them at the Salvation Army School. Since the schools are closed due to the Ebola outbreak, he doesn’t have a job to support his wife and six children. He spends the equivalent of $1.75 a day to take a taxi to the Ministry of Health in hopes of being hired as a temporary day worker, but there are not enough jobs to fill the demand. If he gets hired for a day, he’ll make $5.90. It costs over $5 per day to feed his family, and the cost of living—including rice, a staple of the local diet—is going up.

According to USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg, “Economic growth projections have been cut by more than half in all three of the most impacted countries [Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea], and the cost of living is rising—particularly in Liberia where inflation is expected to nearly double by the end of the year.”


To maintain economic and political stability, it is paramount that Liberians have the basics to survive.

To maintain economic and political stability, it is paramount that Liberians have the basics to survive. The United States is providing support for basic needs and food aid to boost access to food and water, especially for vulnerable communities like West Point. USAID has provided $6.6 million worth of American-grown food aid to support the U.N. World Food Program’s regional response. This photo shows USAID-donated rice being prepared for distribution on September 19, 2014, in West Point—a township of 20,000 to 80,000 that has been one of the hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic.


Monrovia, Liberia - September 18, 2014: West Point, a township of 20,000 to 80,000 people, is a hot zone for the Ebola virus.

Monrovia, Liberia – September 18, 2014: West Point, a township of 20,000 to 80,000 people, is a hot zone for the Ebola virus. Active case finding teams are discovering 20 to 30 cases a day in the community.


The U.N. World Food Program distributes USAID-donated rice in West Point

Monrovia, Liberia – September 19, 2014:  The U.N. World Food Program distributes USAID-donated rice in West Point—a township of 20,000 – 80,000 that has been one of the hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic. 

(All photos by Morgana Wingard and provided c/o UNDP)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgana Wingard is a photojournalist documenting the many facets of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. All this week she will be guest posting from USAID’s instagram

Powering The Ebola Response: Monrovia’s Island Clinic

Morgana Wingard This is the first blog in our Daily Dispatches series in which we’ve teamed up with photojournalist Morgana Wingard, who is on the ground with USAID staff in Liberia documenting the fight on Ebola. Her photo series and blogs from the team will offer unique angles into the many facets of the Ebola story – from life inside a treatment center, to profiles of the health care workers battling Ebola from the front lines, to the many ways the epidemic is impacting the health, economy and future of the nation.

MONROVIA, Liberia—One of the saddest things about the Ebola outbreak in Liberia is the inability for many patients to get treatment. In Dolo Town recently, I watched a father carry his ailing son in a wheelbarrow to the clinic for treatment, but they did not have the capacity to help. He had been calling the government hotline for four days to no avail. A team of NGO workers proceeded to call the hotline again and a personal ambulance, but they also couldn’t get any help. All the treatment centers were full. In the end, the clinic sent him and his son home along with two other patients. Different versions of the same story have repeated across Monrovia for weeks. Liberians, trying to do the right thing, called the hotline and drove their loved ones to the hospital only to be denied entrance.

A father is devastated in Dolo Town after he was unable to get his son into an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) . It’s unclear whether he has Ebola as he can’t get to a facility for testing -- an all too common problem. The U.S. Government is helping build and staff several new facilities in Liberia. / Morgana Wingard

A father is devastated in Dolo Town after he was unable to get his son into an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) . It’s unclear whether he has Ebola as he can’t get to a facility for testing — an all too common problem. The U.S. Government is helping build and staff several new facilities in Liberia. / Morgana Wingard

After hearing too many of these stories as I have documented the unfolding Ebola crisis over past weeks, the opening of another Ebola treatment unit (ETU) was a huge relief. With the help of USAID, the Liberian Government and the WHO opened the 100-bed facility on Sunday, September 21. To power the treatment center, USAID provided two generators, amongst other supplies. These generators are vital to the functioning of the clinic by providing power for lights, pumps for water, and washing machines to clean scrubs worn by health care workers under their personal protective equipment (PPEs).

Miata, a nurse we met, said all the health care workers ran from nearby Redemption Hospital, the largest government-run hospital in Liberia, at first. A doctor and several nurses on staff became infected with Ebola and died as the outbreak was beginning in Liberia. But when a team of Ugandan health care workers arrived in Liberia who had fought previous Ebola outbreaks in their own country, they called them together for a training workshop.

“That workshop inspired me to come back. If we don’t help the patients, who will?” Now, she is not afraid because she can cover herself with personal protective equipment before she enters the “hot zone” to provide food for patients fighting the Ebola virus. This new Island Clinic facility is helping. But many more beds and qualified health care workers are needed to meet the needs of growing numbers of patients.

Qualified health care workers’ interested in volunteering can go to http://www.usaid.gov/ebola/volunteers for information.

Here are some shots I took on our trip to Island Clinic on Monday.

The entrance for health care workers going into Island Clinic

The entrance for health care workers going into Island Clinic, a new Ebola Treatment Unit that opened in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept. 21, 2014 and within one day, reached capacity. The building was a Doctors without Borders hospital during Liberia’s Civil War. It was neglected for several years until the government, with help from the World Health Organization, transformed it into a 100-bed clinic in response to the surge of patients needing care due to the Ebola crisis that is hitting Liberia especially hard. Many people are calling the battle against the Ebola epidemic a “biological war” and now these same facilities that were used during the country’s long Civil War are finding a new use as Liberia struggles to contain the crisis. USAID has provided two generators to the facility which are providing power for lights, pumps for water, and washing machines to clean scrubs worn by health care workers under their personal protective equipment.


A family waits at the entrance to the Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia

A family waits at the entrance to Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, which was opened by the World Health Organization and the Liberian Ministry of Health in response to the surge of patients needing an Ebola Treatment Unit. Here, a health worker in protective gear tells the family to wait on the side as they open the doors for an ambulance to exit the facility. Before the facility opened on September 21, ambulances and patients arrived at the gates waiting to be admitted. Just a day after opening, the clinic is already at capacity. USAID has provided two generators and other supplies to equip the facility with life-saving care.


Health care workers put on personal protective equipment before going into the hot zone at the Island Clinic in Monrovia

Health care workers put on personal protective equipment before going into the hot zone at Island Clinic, in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept. 22, 2014. The 100-bed clinic opened on Sept. 21, and within one day it is already at capacity after approximately 100 Ebola patients were moved from the nearby Redemption Hospital and ambulances brought other Ebola-stricken patients from the community. There are still more patients on the way. The facility was set up by the World Health Organization and Liberia’s Ministry of Health in response to the surge of patients needing an Ebola Treatment Unit. USAID has provided two generators and other supplies the facility.


Hygienists at the ebola treatment unit at Island Clinic in Monrovia wash health workers' scrubs

Hygienists at the ebola treatment unit at Island Clinic in Monrovia wash health workers’ scrubs, a vital part of the operation at the new clinic, which opened September 21, 2014. Health workers at the clinic must follow extensive protocol to protect themselves. All scrubs worn under their personal protective equipment and shoes must be washed thoroughly in chlorine water and then with soap. While we were at Island clinic, one of the health workers told me why she was working here: “If we don’t help the patients, who will?” She said she is not afraid because she can cover herself with personal protective equipment before she enters the “hot zone” to provide food for patients fighting the Ebola virus.


A patient lies in a bed at the newly opened Island Clinic in Monrovia

A patient lies in a bed at the newly opened Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia on Sept. 22, 2014. The patient is getting an intravenous treatment – a crucial part of treatment for Ebola because the virus quickly dehydrates those it infects. However, using IV is also considered risky for health workers if they do not take proper precautions and not all treatment centers are using them. At the Island Clinic, a concrete wall and glass window offers those outside the clinica sobering view into the patient area. While I am standing less than a foot from this man, the perception is that I’m peering into a restricted and isolated world.

(All photos by Morgana Wingard)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgana Wingard is a photojournalist documenting the many facets of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. All this week she will be guest posting from USAID’s instagram

The U.N. World Conference on Indigenous People: An Opportunity for Real Change

Brazil’s Xingu Indian dancers celebrate. USAID has supported various efforts to reduce deforestation in the Xingu region, such as training a fire control brigade of Xingu men, and promoting sustainable cattle ranching in the reserve’s buffer zone.

Brazil’s Xingu Indian dancers celebrate. USAID has supported various efforts to reduce deforestation in the Xingu region, such as training a fire control brigade of Xingu men, and promoting sustainable cattle ranching in the reserve’s buffer zone. / International Katoomba Group

The first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), which kicked off today at the United Nations General Assembly, provides us with the opportunity to reflect and take action on the vital role that indigenous peoples play in sustainable development, protection of biological diversity, long-term food security, responding to global climate change, and safeguarding the earth’s remaining intact ecosystems.

Although they make up less than 5 percent of the global population, indigenous peoples are guardians of nearly two thirds of the world’s languages, over 80 percent of its biodiversity, and most of the genetic diversity of the planet’s seed crops. As we struggle to find solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges, the importance of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge cannot be overestimated.

Despite remarkable gains in recent decades—including increased participation in international policy-making processes, legal recognition under constitutions of numerous countries and significant advances within the United Nations—indigenous people still face many challenges. Around the world, they are still among the most marginalized peoples, facing multiple forms of discrimination, exclusion and oppression. All too often, development is a threat to their communities; logging, extractive industries, hydroelectric dams, industrial agriculture and even conservation projects continue to decimate their lands, lives and livelihoods.

Indigenous village women in Cambodia extract corn seeds from plants grown on titled community lands to provide villagers with food and income.

Indigenous village women in Cambodia extract corn seeds from plants grown on titled community lands to provide villagers with food and income. / Winrock International, SFB Project

For this reason, the success of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is critical. Not only must the world’s governments adopt a strong outcome document, they must commit to taking action to promote, protect and recognize the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. On this day, USAID reaffirms our commitment to extending the inclusiveness of its programs, while also highlighting some of our recent work:

  • In Colombia, USAID’s Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program is investing $61.5 million over five years to build up community-based organizations, and ensure their members’ legal rights to the land they inhabit.
  • In Peru, USAID is helping indigenous communities protect their lands in the Amazon.
  • In Brazil, USAID is training indigenous people to fight forest fires and helping the Surui develop and implement their own land management plan.
  • In Guatemala, USAID has improved health clinics, trained providers and worked with communities to improve health in 30 municipalities in the Western Highlands.
  • This is encouraging, but there is much more work to do. Less than a year ago, I was honored to be appointed to the new position of Advisor on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues, a role that was created by the U.S. Congress to implement a comprehensive U.S. strategy to support indigenous peoples around the world. I undertake this role with a sense of deep responsibility.
Supported by USAID, the Cofan indigenous people of Ecuador are working to become more united and stronger to continue conserving biodiversity within their territories.

Supported by USAID, the Cofan indigenous people of Ecuador are working to become more united and stronger to continue conserving biodiversity within their territories. / Thomas J. Müller

More than two decades spent working with indigenous peoples to promote and defend their rights has prepared me well for this task. I have seen firsthand the devastating impacts that poorly conceived development projects have on communities, and witnessed the brutality that native communities are met with when they seek to protect themselves and their lands. In my new role, I hope to develop policy, programs and projects that will ensure that indigenous peoples are included as equal partners in all of USAID’s work.

Strengthening their organizations has enabled Ecuador’s Cofan indigenous community to preserve their cultural identity and ancient knowledge.

Strengthening their organizations has enabled Ecuador’s Cofan indigenous community to preserve their cultural identity and ancient knowledge. / Thomas J. Müller

When President Barack Obama announced U.S. recognition of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, he declared that the United States is committed to taking a leadership role in ensuring that the collective rights of indigenous peoples—to their lands, resources and knowledge—are recognized and respected internationally. The responsibility for ensuring the long-term survival of indigenous peoples rests with all of us. If we are going to find our way forward to a truly sustainable development, if we are going to create societies that are resilient and democratic, if we are going to advance security and prosperity around the world, we are going to have to work in partnership with indigenous peoples. Let us hope that the WCIP inspires the world’s governments to take action to put into practice the ideals expressed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Keane is USAID’s Advisor for Indigenous Peoples Issues

Millennium Development Goals: Interconnected Web of Individual Goals

In 465 days we will see which Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) we achieved and where we fell short. As the focus sharpens on progress and impediments to reaching our objectives, the clearer it becomes that the eight MDGs are fundamentally interdependent. Progress towards an individual MDG can accelerate advancement elsewhere; stagnation in one area risks impeding progress towards other goals. To advance, we must balance the focus on single sectors with a cross-sectoral vision that ensures we foster long-term prosperity and well-being.

In Kenya, communities were given cows to fatten and sell for profit.

In Kenya, communities were given cows to fatten and sell for profit. / USAID, Riccardo Gangale

This interconnectedness is driven home every time I visit the field. In Kenya, I spoke with women and men about a project to increase resilience by diversifying sources of income; communities were given six cows to fatten and sell for a profit. The business helped the community ride out droughts and increase income (MDG 1). It also empowered women (MDG 3) by vesting them with responsibility for the animals, traditionally a man’s role within Maasai society. The women, in turn, used the profits to pay school fees for families too poor to send their kids to school, contributing towards universal education (MDG 2).

Data makes the intersections even clearer. For example, fostering universal primary education (MDG 2) promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment (MDG 3). The World Bank  finds that a girl’s completion of primary education will increase her lifetime wages by 5 to 15 percent. That investment can also reduce child mortality (MDG 4); according to the United Nations children under 5 have a 5 to 10 percent lower mortality rate for each additional year their mothers are educated. Universal primary education could also reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS (MDG 6); UNICEF estimates that educated girls are half as likely as uneducated girls to contract HIV/AIDS.

The World Bank finds that when a girl completes her primary education, she will earn more over her lifetime. These young girls are taking part of a school feeding program in the commune of Mbao, near Dakar, Senegal..

The World Bank finds that when a girl completes her primary education, she will earn more over her lifetime. These young girls are taking part of a school feeding program in the commune of Mbao, near Dakar, Senegal. / Engility, Stéphane Tourné

Investments in gender equality (MDG 3) can pay similar dividends. Increasing gender equality can help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1). The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization believes that if women had access to the same agricultural inputs as men—including land, technology, financing, extension services— we could reduce the number of hungry people globally by 100-150 million. A USAID and Bangladesh Government supported project implemented by CARE found that fostering women’s empowerment in conjunction with interventions to improve nutritional well-being demonstrably increased the impact of food security-related interventions. Fostering women’s empowerment can also enhance maternal health (MDG 5) and lower child mortality (MDG 4); Kenya’s Demographic and Health Survey (2008-09) found that women with greater decision making authority were more likely to seek health care for themselves and their children before, during and after pregnancy.

Progress toward achieving certain MDGs can be inhibited by insufficient progress towards other goals. For example, permanently eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1) necessitates advances towards environmental sustainability (MDG 7). In the long-term, the two are intrinsically linked. A country is unlikely to have sufficient food for its citizens in perpetuity if natural resources—land, water, flora and fauna—degrade or disappear. Research from the Partnership for Economic Policy, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture found that in sub-Saharan Africa 80 percent of the loss of life and 70 percent of economic losses can be attributed directly or indirectly to droughts and floods, disasters exacerbated by climate change, unsustainable land use, and poverty that undermine resilience and create vulnerability.

Many agri-businesses, like Angelinia Michael Shirima’s rice business in Tanzania, stand to benefit from initiatives like Power Africa. The goal is to unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the region to enhance energy security, decrease poverty, and advance economic growth.

Many agri-businesses, like Angelinia Michael Shirima’s rice business in Tanzania, stand to benefit from initiatives like Power Africa. The goal is to unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the region to enhance energy security, decrease poverty, and advance economic growth. / CNFA

Partnerships (MDG 8) will be key to success across the board. An example—electricity is a key driver of development. Among the benefits, it enables education and storage of vaccines and medicines to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases. It also increases economic opportunity, helping eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.  To meet the needs of the 70 percent of the African population currently lacking electricity, the public and private sectors must work together. The U.S. Government launched Power Africa to focus public and private sector attention, political will and financial resources on delivering cleaner, more efficient electricity to 60 million household and businesses in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania. Only a collective effort will successfully mobilize the over $300 billion in capital needed to meet African energy demand between now and 2030.

So how do we manage the connections to maximize progress? First of all, we need to better understand how the MDGs intersect and affect one another. Using that deeper appreciation we must prioritize where we get the greatest bang for the buck, particularly when a single investment can advance progress towards multiple goals. We should also explore technologies to accelerate progress. Finally, we must track progress against the multiplicity of goals, understand the impact of our efforts and course correct when necessary.

USAID is striving to better understand and leverage the interconnections. For example, in 2010, we partnered with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative to create the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) as part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, which aims to sustainably reduce global poverty and hunger. WEAI gives a broad picture of progress towards gender parity in agriculture and helps ensure we are elevating the status of women as an integral part of our work.

We are also using science and technology more extensively. In April, we launched our Global Development Lab to incubate and scale innovations that will enable faster, more effective, less expensive development. Among the advances the Lab is expanding use of is Chlorhexidine, an antiseptic for treating the umbilical cord stump of newborn infants that could potentially prevent half a million deaths globally. In Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, the use of Chlorhexidine is reducing neonatal mortality by 20 to 40 percent. Testing is now underway around the potential value of bringing the innovation to sub Saharan Africa.

As we accelerate towards the finish line, let’s focus and concentrate work to achieve the MDGs. It will pay big dividends for development and could transform the lives of millions worldwide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carla Koppell is USAID’s Chief Strategy Officer. She was formerly the Agency’s Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. You can follow her @CarlaKoppell

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