I’m in Beijing to take part in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue along with other Obama Administration leaders.
First stop: China Agricultural University where the Agriculture Cadres Training College is preparing the next generation of development professionals.
This is the only university In China to have a discipline in development; it offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. The visit here was very exciting — there were great questions about Africa and partnerships — and the students were extremely engaging.
USAID in the News …
Administrator Rajiv Shah said in Nairobi, Kenya that the agency is working to make Africa a bigger priority. USAID currently funds and runs programs to improve health, food security, democracy and entrepreneurship in Africa.
In Southern Sudan, Dr. Shah announced that USAID and its local partners are launching the $55 million, five-year Food, Agribusiness and Rural Markets (FARM) Program aimed at helping to improve the ability of small farmers to grow staple crops.
The Lancet published an assessment of proposed reforms to USAID that Dr. Shah had announced, including the reinstatement of a bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning.
The Los Angeles Times wrote an editorial in favor of the Obama Administration’s plans to expand pilot programs to get food aid to the world’s needy faster.
The Obama Administration, as reported by the Reuters News Agency, is signaling a shift in U.S. foreign policy in the wake of the 2008 food crisis. The Administration wants to spend at least $3.5 billion over the next three years to potentially help 60 poor nations feed themselves. USAID is the lead implementing agency for Feed the Future.
USAID, on behalf of the U.S. Government, is proud to launch the Feed the Future website.
“We are all impatient because we are acutely aware that today the lack of adequate food will result in the premature deaths of about 25,000 people,” Dr. Shah said during a speech today where he outlined the U.S Government’s new architecture for food security. “We can Feed the Future, but we have not one more moment to waste.”
Feed the Future is the Obama Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative. The website includes the Feed the Future Guide, an implementation strategy for the initiative officially released today.
Please find more information here.
Ambassador William Garvelink recently joined USAID as Deputy Coordinator for Development for the Feed the Future initiative.
Q. What is Feed the Future?
Garvelink: Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Through Feed the Future, we will contribute to raising incomes, improving nutrition, and enhancing food security – seeking to impact millions of lives worldwide.
Q. Why the emphasis on food security — why now?
Garvelink: Right now, we have a historic opportunity. Global leaders at the 2009 G8 Summit made a commitment to act with scale and urgency. President Obama’s $3.5 billion pledge helped to leverage more than $18.5 billion from other donors in support of a common approach to achieve sustainable food
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USAID is supporting health training of mothers in Kenya. The programs encourage women to consider delivering their children in a hospital, rather than at home. Women who deliver at home face greater risk of complications and infections, and their babies are less likely to be fully vaccinated. In areas where USAID programs are in place, hospital deliveries have nearly doubled.
Young people are watching a play about adults being encouraged to get tested for HIV as part of participating in a clinical trial for a novel HIV vaccine at YRG Care, a premiere HIV referral center in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Administrator Shah recently said that “humanity demands an AIDS vaccine” when describing USAID’s approach to high impact development. USAID and its partners continue to support the quest for a safe vaccine that could effectively prevent HIV — a search that is commemorated each year on May 18th, HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. This work is essential since notable progress in providing life-saving treatment to those who need it cannot keep up with the number of new HIV infections. For every two people living with HIV who begin taking antiretroviral therapy, five additional people become newly infected. Each day, there are at least 7,400 new infections.
Our current efforts are outlined in a vaccine brief.
USAID’s Senior Technical Advisor for HIV Vaccines was featured in a recent issue of Frontlines [PDF].
USAID and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched the FARM program, which marshals a variety of resources in a re-emerging agricultural area. It's designed to inspire others to join as partners in reducing hunger in southern Sudan.
Today we launched the Food, Agribusiness, and Rural Markets (FARM) Program, an innovative and promising partnership with the Government of South Sudan to rebuild capacity in the “green belt zone,” where conflict destroyed much local agricultural production during Sudan’s civil war. This area has high potential and, with new road construction, will be connected to fast-growing markets for farm goods.
Read more about the FARM program here.
Welcome to my debut in the brave new world of blogging at USAID.
We’ve made the most of our time during Dr. Shah’s first Africa trip as the head of this amazing agency; only in the home stretch have I found a few minutes to share an observation or two.
With impressions still intense from a day and a night in Darfur – most notably, visiting under a scorching sun a vast and desert-dusty camp for internally displaced people that thousands of victims of violence, mostly women and children, now know as home – we rose at dawn to head to Juba in the far south of Sudan. Here the climate is different in every sense.
Right off the bat we met with our civil society partners in the effort to improve governance and confidence in democracy. The Sudanese Group for Democratic Elections and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections provide voter education and poll-watching in the country’s north and south, respectively. They face very different political situations but similar challenges in trying to protect the integrity of the electoral process. USAID facilitates this grassroots work with technical guidance and
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This afternoon we visited two sites where USAID, together with community groups, is helping improve health in Juba.
Sudan is a top U.S. government foreign policy priority; we need this country to be on a stable, peaceful path, which in turn is crucial to regional security. Ultimately this means transitioning from humanitarian assistance to long-term development.
At more than $1 billion per year, USAID’s program in Sudan is our largest in sub-Saharan Africa. One important project is the Lolongo Clinic in an outlying area of Juba, which helps meet the community’s basic health needs while also educating parents in preventative care. About 35,000 people in the region rely on the treatment and care that Lolongo offers; that works out to about $6 per person per year.
Non-governmental organizations such as this clinic account for a full 86 percent of all health care services in Sudan. And it’s by far not enough. Southern Sudan has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world, and a girl stands a higher chance of dying in childbirth than completing secondary school.
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