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USAID in the News – 28 June 2010

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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Dinner with friends.

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 and Brookings discuss education and militancy in Pakistan

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

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.

USAID – Pic of the Week

Angelina Jolie visits USAID

Angelina Jolie visits USAID at the U.S. Embassy on June 19, 2010. Photo by: Kendra Helmer

Angelina Jolie, U.N.’s goodwill ambassador, talks with USAID/Haiti Mission Director Carleene Dei (in black vest) at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on June 19, 2010. Jolie spoke about child-protection issues with the State Department, USAID and USAID partner Pan American Development Foundation.

For more pics, check out USAID’s Facebook Album.

Landon Donovan scores one for empowering South African youth

Submitted by Saba Hale, Development Outreach Communication Intern/Southern Africa

Landon Donovan scored the winning goal that advanced the U.S. team to the second round of the World Cup

South African youth get autographs from Clarence Goodson (right) and Landon Donovan (left) at the U.S. Team's Open Practice on June 6, 2010.

Landon Donovan and Clarence Goodson may be winning the hearts of Americans, but they are also inspiring the youth of South Africa. A group of young people met the two rising stars only weeks before Donovan scored the winning goal that advanced the U.S. team to the second round of the World Cup.  Interactions like this one prove that soccer is more than just a sport.  The World Cup is an opportunity to reinforce development objectives.  USAID is committed to prevention programs that provide the youth of South Africa with the knowledge, skills, social support, and services they need to help reduce their risk of HIV infection. 

Three Things You Should Know about the U.S. Government’s Work in Haiti

submitted by Anna Gohmann

Responding to Haitians’ Questions A daily radio program for earthquake-affected communities recently broadcast its 100th program. “News You Can Use” (“Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen”), produced by Internews and supported by USAID, reaches more than 3 million Haitians via 27 local radio stations and addresses topics including shelter and settlement; health; food, water and sanitation; and disaster risk, assessment and damage. The programs are based on listeners’ questions – 100 daily on average – submitted via text message and ongoing surveys.

Raising Public Awareness USAID, in coordination with the Haitian government, is supporting TV and radio public information campaigns aimed at addressing gender-based violence, security and health. “Stop the Rape” (“Kwape Kadejak”) PSAs are airing on large screens in many of Haiti’s spontaneous settlements during the World Cup and on other popular TV programs.  The PSAs, which are produced with USAID funding by the Pan-American Development Foundation and Population Services International, inform audiences about reporting and prosecuting rape and other violence; preventing HIV and malaria; and hygiene and family planning.

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USAID Supports Rural Pakistani Women Farmers

USAID is supporting rural Pakistani women farmers to increase crop and livestock productivity.

The Rural Livelihood Development Program in Balochistan built the capacity of 50 female community organizations to increase crop and livestock productivity, improve on-farm water management, and foster improved market linkages for agricultural inputs and outputs.

The program also provides institutional capacity building to 200 community organizations which train women in entrepreneurial skills, improved marketing, and agricultural-related technical training.  The program will enable 40,000 women and girls to increase their income by 20 percent.

Rural Pakistani women do the majority of livestock and agriculture management, frequently in the form of unpaid “family” work.  The USAID agriculture programs will develop skills and techniques of female farmers while strengthening women’s control over the financial resources generated by their work.

Balochistan faces debilitating drought and severe water scarcity which negatively affects production and value addition in crop and livestock development.  To address this issue, efficient water use and management is integral to USG livelihood activities in horticulture and livestock development.  Forty percent of sheep in Pakistan come from Balochistan.  Through the introduction of wool grading and a site visit to the Ghazi Wool Industry in Southern Punjab, USAID helped farmers gain from an increased sale price of $11 for 40kg of raw wool to $20 for graded white wool. Read more about the economic growth program.

Football – A Universal Language

submitted by Chris Thomas

Soccer - Youth Mission - photo by Joan Cartwright

The World Cup is underway in South Africa — the first time an African nation has ever hosted the quadrennial event. Joining Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany, England, the U.S. and other football powers in the 32 team field include five from sub-Saharan Africa — Ghana’s Black Stars; Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions; Ivory Coast’s Les Elephants; Nigeria’s Super Eagles; and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (the Boys).

The game has a powerful gravitational pull and unique appeal to humanity. It binds us together – a common language understood throughout the world. While global in scope, it is also markedly local in flavor.

From Dhaka to Dakar; and Kabul to Kinshasa, its pitches are makeshift but ubiquitous – football is played on dusty fields, squalid pastures and dirt plains, in the shadow of great mosques, mountains and monuments, in slums and shantytowns; beside rubble and ruin; and down narrow and congested alleyways.

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This Week at USAID – June 21, 2010

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.

REBUILDING SCHOOLS AND LIVES IN PORT-AU-PRINCE THROUGH THE CLEARS PROJECT

submitted by Anna Gohmann

Before - College St. Pierre

Before - College St. Pierre

Images of the first few weeks after the earthquake in Haiti are seared indelibly into all of our memories. But for USAID, the international community, and the Government of Haiti, our work continues even when there are no cable news cameras to capture it.

Alongside hundreds of other projects, we’re supporting CHF International to clear damaged buildings and help rebuild many of the hundreds of community schools that the earthquake destroyed in and around Port-au-Prince. CHF’s Emily Lynch shared the below story and photos of College St. Pierre, which collapsed in the earthquake and was cleared away through the USAID-funded CLEARS project:

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