Interns from the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau with Administrator Shah.
Submitted by Michael J. Del Moro, FrontLines Intern, USAID
The buzz about a fresh, youthful energy infiltrating the agency was at full pitch today when a group of student interns got the chance to meet Administrator Shah in an informal setting. For months, young-ins like me had experienced the abundance of energy and passion for success at USAID and have now found the source: a sharp, well-spoken leader with the ability to change the way people think about development.
Forty of my colleagues and I had the privilege of taking pictures with Dr. Shah and listening to his plea for us to accept that the big issues of world hunger, disease and lawlessness are not indefinite tragedies, but solvable problems.
The Administrator spoke off-the-cuff for about 10 minutes before fielding questions ranging from how he got to where he is to how he intends to improve Agency deficiencies like understaffing.
Interns walked away with a photo with a VIP and insight into USAID leadership. I hope the Administrator walked away excited about our enthusiasm. We are proud to be the next generation of development professionals.
Submitted by Robert Clay, Director of USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS
Robert Clay briefs VOA's global broadcast community. Photo by VOA
Over 20,000 people (a small city) all focusing on one of the greatest development problems of our time. The first thing that strikes you is the diversity of those at the meeting – from the famous (Bill Clinton and Bill Gates) to academia (professors and students) to civil society and advocates to multilateral and bilateral donors to pharma. There are talks, seminars, posters, demonstrations (even in the plenary sessions), exhibits, condom demonstrations, cultural events, marches, press conferences, and lots of reports and products to take home. At times, it reminds me of a village scene in India where I lived for 5 years – crowded, colorful, loud, unpredictable, widely diverse, and even wonderful food smells.
There is definitely a buzz in the air. The results of the USAID-funded CAPRISA 004 trial results has excited everyone – standing ovations and tears from those who have waited so long for good microbicide news. But also excitement at seeing other results since the last meeting two years ago and hearing insightful analysis on how to overcome barriers. There is personal excitement of seeing old friends and colleagues and making new contacts in this diverse setting.
But concerns are also there. Will the money dry up? Will leaders change negative policies that fuel stigma? Will we be able to stop the number getting infected? These are big issues and everyone here seems consumed in trying to solve these problems.
This has been intensive and on the last day you can see the tired and sleep deprived faces. I don’t think people could do this any longer – especially since so many want to get back to implementing all the new ideas. But after a good rest, I’m sure most will have renewed energy and determination from Vienna. I know I can’t wait to get back to work!
Haitian workers are building a USAID-funded irrigation canal. Photo by Herve Jean-Charles.
As Haiti passes six months since the earthquake, men and women are employed in the USAID-funded reconstruction of an irrigation canal that not only provides a source of water for agriculture and livestock, but also a source of income for Haitians.
Science, technology, and innovation are core to USAID’s work around the globe. This new video lends some fascinating insight into USAID’s efforts in these areas as well as how we can even further unpack their power to leapfrog development hurdles and the game-changing potential of science, technology and innovation.
USAID premiered the below video at the opening session of last week’s “Transforming Development through Science, Technology and Innovation” conference. To read Dr. Shah’s remarks from the event, click here.
Cross-posted from The White House Blog. Originally posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 03:50 PM EDT
In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
First, consider the facts:
As a UNAIDS report documented just days ago, the United States provided 58 percent of all funds worldwide to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Furthermore, while numerous developed countries were cutting back on their support for HIV/AIDS between 2008 and 2009, the United States actually increased its funding by more than 10 percent. The fact that these increases were done during the worst recession in a generation and a deteriorating fiscal situation speaks volumes about the President’s – and our country’s – commitment to the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
I am very excited to sign a Protocol of Intent on energy efficiency cooperation between USAID and the Russian Energy Agency. Russian Minister of Energy Sergei Shmatko and Secretary Chu will witness the signing. The Russian Energy Minister is here to take part in the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial, which is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Working under the protocol, USAID will link U.S. and Russian utilities and regulators to share best practices and to exchange lessons learned about smart grids. I am convinced that bringing people together will accelerate development and deployment of clean energy technology. We really need it to fight climate change!
The USAID protocol is part of a larger effort aimed at fulfilling Presidents Obama and Medvedev’s commitment to jointly promote energy efficiency and clean energy. I am so pleased to be able to get this protocol in place little more than two months after I first met with Russian energy officials in Moscow back in May. I am now headed back to Russia to keep this initiative moving forward.
Carol is in her mid-20s and raising her young daughter on her own. With very few economic options available to her she turned to commercial sex work when she was 21 years old. Every day she puts herself at risk of HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy. Because of a USAID-funded campaign, Carol knows she needs to use condoms to protect herself but as a commercial sex worker she does not always have the negotiating power to do so.
Often at USAID we support the ABC approach- abstain, be faithful, and correct and consistent condom use. While these methods can be effective in preventing HIV transmission, often it can be difficult for women to negotiate prevention interventions. With women representing nearly 60 percent of those living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, it is imperative to find a method of prevention that can be initiated by women.
Women participating in the CAPRISA 004 trial in the CAPRISA Vulindlela Clinic in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa
A summary map on the activities announced or underway in Pakistan.
During Dr. Raj Shah’s whirlwind two-day visit to Pakistan with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the ongoing Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, the U.S. announced more than $500 million in new development assistance for Pakistan.
The new projects include the completion of two hydroelectric dams in South Waziristan and Gilgit-Baltistan that will supply more than 34 megawatts of additional power to 280,000 residents in those areas, the renovation and construction of three medical facilities, economic growth programs and seven projects to improve water distribution and efficiency in the country. Much of the assistance will be delivered by USAID.
The United States shares with Pakistan a vision of a future in which all people can live safe, healthy, and productive lives. Dr. Shah spoke with press about USAID’s role in Pakistan, saying that “Our commitment is broad and deep,” and one that encompasses programs ranging from health and energy to economic growth and agriculture.
Health was one focus of last week’s Transforming Development through Science, Technology and Innovation conference, which highlighted the central role innovation and technology play in USAID’s mission to achieve high-impact development goals, including HIV service delivery. While recent breakthroughs hold promise for a future HIV vaccine, USAID is using information technology today to share innovation and successes in HIV programming, enhancing local, national, and regional responses to the pandemic.
The Agency’s Office of HIV/AIDS is leveraging advances in web technology to identify, document, and disseminate promising HIV practices through the AIDSTAR-One Promising Practices Database. This unique knowledge-sharing portal allows HIV program implementers to share their recent successes in resource-constrained settings with other programs across countries, regions, and continents, leading to rapid replication of cutting-edge HIV program strategies. For example, an AIDSTAR-One database user recently identified lessons learned from an Ethiopian HIV prevention program for adolescents to design a similar project in Kenya. AIDSTAR-One’s HIV Prevention Knowledge Base is another knowledge-sharing tool that provides quick access to current HIV prevention research, examples of successful programs, and tools and resources to help design and implement a range of HIV prevention programs.