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Rebuilding Livelihoods in the Philippines Post-Typhoon Haiyan

On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines and affected 16 million people, killing thousands and displacing millions.

Entire villages and cities were destroyed, but the rebuild effort began quickly thanks to a global response.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. military were the first to deliver life-saving support, including the provision of emergency shelter, food assistance, relief commodities, and water and sanitation support. To date, the U.S. Government has provided over $90 million in aid.

Seven months later, humanitarian efforts are ongoing. An estimated 5.6 million workers have seen their livelihoods affected and many of them still need assistance. Schools opened on June 2 but thousands of children returned to classrooms that have been destroyed or damaged. Millions of people still require shelter.

“With the Principal & the Foreman of a school torn to shreds being rebuilt by USAID to get the kids back to life again. They said all the books and computers were swept away and they are finding them destroyed all over the place far away.” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

“With the Principal & the Foreman of a school torn to shreds being rebuilt by USAID to get the kids back to life again. They said all the books and computers were swept away and they are finding them destroyed all over the place far away.” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

Late last month, I had the opportunity to see the recovery efforts firsthand during a visit to the island of Leyte, home to Tacloban — the epicenter of the storm.. Tacloban City was completely obliterated, leaving only tents, makeshift “squatter” living conditions and other sorts of temporary housing all around, with signs of destruction in between.

But massive clean up efforts had taken place over the last six months with piles of somewhat organized garbage and debris scatteredd everywhere. Organizations and work crews were still cleaning up while I was there, repairing houses that could be fixed, and building new homes from scratch.

I heard many stories of hardship and resilience, but was particularly struck by that of Mang Danny — a driver from San Jose, Tacloban City. Mang Danny lost his wife and child to the disaster, and struggles to support his other children and rebuild the house he lost to the waves in Tacloban. USAID is helping to rebuild houses for millions of survivors like Mang Danny.

During my visit I was even able to help build houses myself in a village just south of Tacloban called Tanauan. I worked with Gawad Kalinga, an organization that brings together volunteers to build homes in the Philippines. With the Philippine Red Cross, I visited Sition Gubat, where they have built 56 new houses. This little town is part of the overall target of 20,000 new houses for Leyte.

“#USAID doing tremendous work here in #Tacloban helping the community build shelters quick before storm season starts in the next month. I built houses with an organization called Gawad Kalinga.” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

“#USAID doing tremendous work here in #Tacloban helping the community build shelters quick before storm season starts in the next month. I built houses with an organization called Gawad Kalinga.” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

Today, USAID is continuing to lead the charge to provide durable solutions to the recovery and reconstruction needs in the devastated areas of the Philippines. One of the ways is through encouraging public partnerships—several of which are already helping rebuild lives. One USAID partnership with Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola helped rebuild sari-sari stores, or small community stores. USAID in the Philippines has also demonstrated successful partnerships with many private organizations including the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Philippine Development Foundation, Smart Communications and Petron Corporation. With each success there is an opportunity to further implement a working strategy and improve conditions.

And on May 20, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — together with USAID — brought together foundations, organizations and corporations and the Filipino diaspora community to discuss how to create more partnerships for the Philippines’ recovery. Participants committed to partnerships on disaster mitigation and small business projects in the Philippines, and continuing such collaborations long term.

“Meet my cute family aka my dance troupe aka my eating partners in the Islands of the Philippines!” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

“Meet my cute family aka my dance troupe aka my eating partners in the Islands of the Philippines!” / From the Instagram of Billy Dec

The Philippines has made great progress since Haiyan. But the typhoon season will start again, and there are still thousands of people living in tents and residing in dangerous areas. There are tens of thousands of young children who will have to study inside tents and improvised classrooms. There are thousands of farmers and fishermen that have yet to restart their livelihoods, and thousands of workers who have yet to replace the assets they lost in the storm.

Although there was much sorrow for the loss of the Filipinos hit by the typhoon, witnessing the complete destruction of homes and communities and getting to meet many survivors, I saw firsthand the strength and determination in the Philippines. The U.S. Government is working to ensure that months after the brutal devastation of Haiyan, Filipinos like Mang Danny have a chance to rebuild, start again, and move on.


Billy Dec is a member of President’s Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. You can follow him at @BillyDec

Open Data and Entrepreneurship – The Best of Both Worlds

The benefits of open data and transparency are uniquely visible within the entrepreneurial world. Data is what fuels innovators’ work; the more data available for them to use, the easier it is for them to create new tools, apps, projects, and programs, all of which can be geared towards boosting entrepreneurship. With this in mind, it is important for us to promote the idea that fusing the two – open data and entrepreneurship – will result in more positive, impactful results, and right now, the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program is doing a great job combining the best of both worlds.

The White House PIF program pairs top innovators from non-profits, academia, and the private sector with top innovators in government to develop solutions that can save lives, increase effectiveness, and drive job creation. Each fellow is a part of the program for 6-13 months, working with the government on specific projects ranging from disaster response and recovery to cyber-physical systems to open data for development, and more.

USAID's Presidential Innovation Fellow Robert Baker presents on Open Data at Tech Camp. London, October 2013. Photo Credit: TechCamp Global

USAID’s Presidential Innovation Fellow Robert Baker presents on Open Data at Tech Camp. London, October 2013. Photo Credit: TechCamp Global

This year, fourteen fellows are working on open data initiatives across the federal government with three focusing on global development. Erin Maneri Akred, working with the Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a data and analytics specialist who most recently worked at Accenture Technology Labs where she led efforts to build analytical capabilities used in healthcare applications. Vidya Spandana, working with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is a paradigm example of an entrepreneur who made her business enterprise successful with open data; as a college undergraduate she co-founded the govtech startup, a web platform that provides about 110 million Americans with government data and information. And USAID’s Rob Baker, on leave from his role as Operations Manager at Ushahidi and before that a developer at Oxfam, has founded and configured a free and open source platform to host and share data that can be used by any federal agency, and others.

The fellows work with innovators in government to lead open data initiatives to get government open and host challenges and events to engage other entrepreneurs.  These include the Food Security Open Data Challenge, Global Development Data Jam, and most recently, the Open Data TechCamp held in London and organized in partnership with Department of State, USAID, Ernst&Young, USDA, and MCC. The TechCamp connected civil society organizations from around the world with new and emerging technology resources, and provided a forum for the PIFs to connect with entrepreneurs and government officials passionate about using open data for global development.

USDA and MCC’s Presidential Innovation Fellows Erin Maneri Akred and Vidya Spandana consult with Eric Nelson, Director of the Department of State's Office of eDiplomacy. London, October 2013 Photo Credit: TechCamp Global

USDA and MCC’s Presidential Innovation Fellows Erin Maneri Akred and Vidya Spandana consult with Eric Nelson, Director of the Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy.
London, October 2013
Photo Credit: TechCamp Global

The question that USAID and other development agencies are asking is how can open data relevant to development be made more accessible, useable, and knowable to entrepreneurs that can build out their organizations for their own development solutions?  Spandana provides the example of one project in Botswana that uses a mobile SMS tracking system to keep track of Rhino poachers. Because Botswana’s economy is so dependent on tourism and natural resources, poaching has become a huge problem, especially for those entrepreneurs and people whose businesses rely on those sectors in order to thrive. Thus, those involved in the project were inspired to use open data to map out where poachers might be in an attempt to reduce poaching from occurring.

The goal of the PIF program’s open data initiatives is to show why data is impactful – not only for entrepreneurs but for others as well – and make sure users are aware of its benefits.

“We want to evangelize open data globally,” said Akred, “and we are stronger and more effective when we work together across fields and disciplines.”

Click here to learn more the PIFs program, and if you’d like more information about the PIFs program and future rounds, feel free to send your inquiries here.

Follow @WhiteHouseOSTP to get the latest news and updates.

Empowering Health Workers to Improve Service Delivery in Uganda

Agnes Masagwayi has a fierce determination to give her community the best possible care. But as a clinical health officer in Mbale District, Uganda, she knows how difficult it can be.

Agnes Masagwayi. Photo Credit: Sarah Dwyer, IntraHealth International

Agnes Masagwayi. Photo Credit: Sarah Swyer, IntraHealth International

Until recently, Agnes’s working conditions were very challenging. Her health facility often lacked running water. Essential drugs ran out. Space for maternity care was so limited that women often had to deliver their babies on the floor. And there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the community’s demand for care. (In Uganda there are only about 14 doctors, nurses, and midwives for every 10,000 people, yet the World Health Organization recommends a minimum threshold of about 23 per 10,000 people.)

However, working conditions started to improve when Agnes and her district health officer joined 18 other districts in the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Leadership and Management Program, a six-month course aimed at improving health services in Uganda. This training was just one part of Uganda’s efforts to improve health services by focusing on health workers.

Two USAID-supported projects led by IntraHealth International—the Uganda Capacity Program and CapacityPlus—lent a hand. In addition to improving health workforce leadership and management, the projects are working with country stakeholders to strengthen health workforce information and use the resulting data to advocate for more health workforce funding.

Agnes provides integrated HIV and family planning counseling to client. Photo credit: Carol Bales, IntraHealth International.

Agnes provides integrated HIV and family planning counseling to client. Photo credit: Carol Bales, IntraHealth International.

These efforts are paying off. Not only did the Government of Uganda allocate funds to hire more than 8,000 new health workers across the country, thanks to successful advocacy, but existing health workers like Agnes are making key improvements in their facilities. Newly empowered by the leadership training, Agnes realized that “really it is ourselves who need to plan, prioritize, know what problems we have and the available opportunities for addressing them.” Here are a few of the changes Agnes and her colleagues made at their facility:

  • Running water is always available. “We acted as a team and lobbied with the district and partners,” Agnes says, proudly pointing to some big tanks outside the clinic.
  • A new maternity ward provides space for women to deliver. Agnes and her team prioritized the construction of a building to accommodate mothers.
  • Drug management helps prevent stockouts. A new system provides key data for Agnes and her colleagues. “You can forecast for your drugs using the available data,” she says.
  • New housing is available for health workers. Nearby housing constructed by the district will help attract new health workers to the area.
  • Service delivery improved. ”Client care has improved in this facility so much,” Agnes beams.
Happy clients at Agnes’s facility. Photo Credit: Carol Bales, IntraHealth International

Happy clients at Agnes’s facility. Photo Credit: Carol Bales, IntraHealth International

The district as a whole has made progress. Out-patient services have doubled, and over half of all mothers in the district (56 percent) are now delivering in the health facilities, up from 39 percent. The district even rose in the national rankings for health service delivery, from 22 to 6 (out of 111 districts in the country in 2012). And perhaps one of the greatest successes is that more health workers have joined Agnes. “The district has recruited 205 health workers,” she says.

Meet Agnes in our new video, “That’s Improvement!”: Uganda Focuses on Health Workers. Check out our special website section to learn more and access tools that Uganda has successfully used. And join the conversation—follow CapacityPlus on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Video of the Week: USAID and Nelson Mandela

This is a video of Nelson Mandela announcing a partnership with USAID on the AIDS Response Partnership in Durban, 2000. We continue to join with the world as it mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela.

Entrepreneurs Spur Sustainable Growth and Contribute to Development Outcomes

Today, USAID celebrates National Entrepreneurship Day.

Entrepreneurs, both large and small, create jobs and spur sustainable growth that delivers benefits to people in the United States and around the world. Having spent part of my early career working to encourage investment in promising entrepreneurs throughout Africa, I’ve seen firsthand the transformations that can take place in peoples’ lives and communities when we help foster strong cultures of entrepreneurship.

In the lead up to Global Entrepreneurship Week, a worldwide celebration of innovators and job creators, USAID has partnered with other U.S. Government agencies to highlight the ways we can work with entrepreneurs to help them realize success. Every day, entrepreneurs in developing countries drive economic growth, create jobs, and contribute to development outcomes in USAID priority sectors including food security, global health, and access to energy.

Development Innovation Ventures grantee Off-Grid: Electric's entrepreneurs are lighting up Tanzania through more reliable, affordable, and sustainable electrical services. Photo Credit: Matthieu Young

Development Innovation Ventures grantee Off-Grid: Electric’s entrepreneurs are lighting up Tanzania through more reliable, affordable, and sustainable electrical services. Photo Credit: Matthieu Young

USAID recognizes the value in supporting entrepreneurs who advance market-based solutions using sustainable business models. Particularly in this current fiscal climate, enabling entrepreneurs to deliver development results that are sustainable beyond ongoing donor support is one of the best ways to leverage USAID funding. As a donor, our role is to help remove barriers that stand in the way of entrepreneurs starting and scaling their businesses, while also addressing market failures that limit the inclusion of poor and vulnerable populations. Our investments address common challenges facing entrepreneurs such as a lack of access to capital; limited availability of technical assistance, mentoring and peer networks; and a lack of awareness among investors regarding investment-ready enterprises.

Since 2010, the United States has budgeted about $4 billion annually to support programs related to entrepreneurship globally. USAID—particularly the Office of Innovation and Development Alliance, or what we call IDEA—has been proud to be a part of this ongoing commitment.

For instance, USAID is launching the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative to support entrepreneurial ventures that have the potential to lift some of the poorest communities in the world out of poverty. USAID will direct up to $10 million over the next three years to help develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem and scale enterprises in developing countries that offer market-based solutions in areas like food security, global health, and energy access. Today, USAID launched an open call for partnership concept papers (PDF) , inviting organizations to submit ideas on ways to partner and co-invest with USAID.

USAID also recently announced a new $4.1 million Global Development Alliance with Echoing Green, Newman’s Own Foundation, General Atlantic, Pershing Square Foundation, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Called “Priming the Pump,” the partnership will invest in young social entrepreneurs in developing countries who are pioneering innovative new solutions to major development challenges.

These are just two examples of some of the USAID initiatives designed to harness the power of entrepreneurs to advance global development that we have forthcoming. Additional fantastic entrepreneurship efforts coming out of USAID include:

  • USAID’s forthcoming partnership with Yunus Social Business (YSB) to promote entrepreneurship and the development of “social businesses” in vulnerable and underserved communities around the world and to collaborate on the development of social business incubator funds in a targeted set of developing countries
  • The USAID-Skoll Innovation Investment Alliance, a Global Development Alliance with the Skoll Foundation and Mercy Corps, identifies and invests in innovative social entrepreneurs to enable them to scale up their business models for delivering sustainable impact in areas such as education, climate change, water, and food security.  The first organization supported through the partnership, Imazon, uses the latest mapping technology and satellite imagery to help local governments in Brazil stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon.
  • Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an investment platform that finds, tests, and scales new solutions to development challenges around the world.  DIV is currently investing in over 80 entrepreneurial solutions in eight sectors and 27 countries around the world. Many of these solutions are almost elegant in their simplicity. For example, DIV is supporting Georgetown University researchers who are using stickers, like the kind my daughters are always putting on their notebooks, to reduce road deaths in Kenya. DIV is also working with the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) on a multilateral global investment platform called GDIV that builds on DIV’s success in supporting breakthrough solutions to global development challenges.

As we embark on Global Entrepreneurship Week, I look forward to not only learning about the impactful work of emerging social enterprises, but continuing to develop new ways USAID and the U.S. Government can partner to bring these game changers to scale.

Learn more about USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative.

Visit USAID on LinkedIn to read “My First Job” stories from USAID employees, partners and beneficiaries. Share your story on Twitter using #GEW2013!

Empowering Women to Address Climate Change

Today marks the second annual Gender Day at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference, which opened (PDF) last week in Warsaw, Poland. Leaders from around the world are focusing on how to achieve their commitments to promote gender balance and improve women’s participation in international and local level decision-making related to climate change.

This year, USAID is proud to announce that we are initiating a new partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to work together to expand and enhance USAID’s efforts to address gender issues through programming and support to our partner governments.

Members of the Huruma Women’s Group in Kenya. Photo credit: Photo Credit: Fintrac Inc.

A group of women in Kenya who supply maize for sale in local markets. Photo credit: Photo Credit: Fintrac Inc.

This support is critical as climate change will have a serious impact on the livelihoods of poor women in developing countries; the increasing frequency of droughts and stronger storms will affect agriculture and water resources, sectors in which women have an essential management role.

Speaking on a panel this morning, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality emphasized that “globally, women are central to unlocking solutions to the climate change challenges we face.”

IUCN has found that women often lead the way in adapting to climate change impacts, and play a key role in mitigating climate change by optimizing energy efficiency, using low-footprint energy sources and techniques, and influencing a household’s and community’s consumption patterns. Women’s participation in decision making at higher levels has specifically benefited environmental policy, such that countries with a higher number of women in their parliaments are more likely to set aside protected land areas and ratify international environmental treaties. In fact, recent data (PDF) reveals that there is a causal relationship between environment and gender; when gender inequality is high, forest depletion, air pollution and other measures of environmental degradation are also high.

While women can be agents of change, their contributions are seldom fully harnessed. The result is a lost opportunity. This new partnership will be aimed at advancing women’s empowerment and gender quality to achieve greater strides in reducing emissions to mitigate climate change, building resilience to climate change impacts, and promoting better development in general.

While plans are necessary to illuminate the pathway to a goal, they are not sufficient for attaining those goals.  This new agreement with IUCN to implement the Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO) project will provide USAID and our partner governments with support for our mutual goal of advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality through and for the benefit of climate change and development programs.

We have seen great progress in recent years, with growing attention to gender issues within the UNFCCC and within projects addressing these issues at the country level.  However, there is much work still to be done, so we are excited about the opportunities this new partnership with IUCN brings.


A “Conference of Parties” to Face Climate Change

Eric Postel is assistant administrator the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment

Eric Postel is assistant administrator the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment

I’m here in Warsaw at the 19th so-called “Conference of the Parties” – basically every nation is represented plus all kinds of interested NGOs and private sector companies to work on global climate change issues. USAID participates robustly for three reasons.

First, we come to assist our Department of State colleagues in the negotiations. These COP meetings are very big. To accommodate everybody, COP19 is being held inside Poland’s national soccer stadium. On five levels. Every concourse is filled with temporarily-built meeting rooms, booths, press facilities, work stations, etc. Most skyboxes have been converted to offices.

The playing field has been covered over with enormous tents serving as temporary meeting halls for the plenary sessions. At any one time there are dozens of meetings negotiating different aspects of climate change initiatives. To cover them all, the State Department asks other U.S. Government climate change experts, including USAID experts, to join in the effort.

Second, we are here to learn more about how nations are facing climate change so that we are better able to fulfill our development mission. The COP represents a very efficient way of interacting with many other governments and members of civil society to learn about their successes, failures, concerns, and future plans. For example, a session on Fast Start Finance (FSF) was held today. Nine of the developed countries that collectively committed to providing $30 billion in public finance to developing countries for climate action between 2010 and 2012, including the United States, spoke about lessons learned during the period.

19th "Conference of the Parties in Warsaw, Poland. Photo credit: USAID

19th “Conference of the Parties in Warsaw, Poland. Photo credit: USAID

The good news is we all met our commitments: from Liechtenstein’s $700,000 to the United States’ $7.4 billion. The interesting part was to hear each country talk about lessons learned. I was struck by the parallels between climate assistance and “Aid for Trade” in WTO meetings I have attended. Aid for Trade discussions have evolved over the years, moving beyond inputs like dollars spent, and starting to grapple with outcomes, aid effectiveness, and private sector engagement. I can already see climate finance headed in the same direction.

These lessons will help us improve our programs at USAID. Today’s discussion gave me fresh insight into one of the challenges USAID is facing in continuing to develop good outcome measures for our adaptation work with developing countries. With workable adaption metrics, the global community could be in a position to shift the conversation from inputs to outcomes — a place we surely want to be.

Third, USAID staff come to climate talks to tell the rest of the world about the good results we are getting with the effective deployment of limited U.S. resources. Telling our story is important – so the rest of the world knows the U.S. is engaged in these issues as a good global citizen. For example, I will moderate a panel tomorrow that focuses on projects working to conserve the planet’s precious forests. A Colombian panelist will talk about a project, funded in part by USAID, working with 29 autonomous communities – Afro-Colombian Councils and Indigenous Reserves – to conserve more than 1 million hectares in the Colombian Pacific, one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. Another effort we will discuss is the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) – a new public-private partnership committed to addressing the global drivers of deforestation by reducing tropical deforestation associated with commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp. TFA 2020 has already attracted six major new partners – the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, World Resources Institute, Conservation International, and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative. These partners have joined the United States and the Consumer Goods Forum, a global network of more than 400 companies with over $3 trillion in annual sales. TFA 2020 shows how far we have already come and where we are headed.

So, there are lots of reasons to be here representing the United States and lots to get done.

Accelerating Development through Science, Innovation, and Partnership

Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator at USAID

Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator at USAID

On a visit to Rhode Island last month, I toured a factory called Edesia, where fifty employees manufacture a high-energy peanut paste to feed millions of starving children around the world. What is remarkable is that nutrient-packed meal did not exist ten years ago. It is the result of a decade of research backed by USAID to elevate the science behind creating foods that can restore severely malnourished children to health.

America has always led the world in advancing innovation to deliver unprecedented legacies for humanity. Across our proud history, it is when we harness American science and entrepreneurship that we achieve the greatest leaps in social and economic development. For example,  the Green Revolution pulled millions from starvation thanks to high-yield varieties of rice and oral rehydration solutions saved millions of children.

Americans can be proud of USAID’s history of embracing and then advancing science, technology, and innovation to create new solutions for age-old challenges. Today, we are building on this legacy with a renewed sense of focus and energy around the world.

In the last year, twenty USAID missions (see box) have stepped forward to work hand-in-hand with university and private sector partners to harness science, technology, innovation, and partnerships to advance development goals. Imagine them as field labs where we will demonstrate the real impact of new, cost-effective innovations. That means working closely with local communities to invent, test, and apply groundbreaking ideas to help end extreme poverty.

This is a real challenge. But it is achievable if we continue to reach out to the brightest minds on the planet to generate solutions to challenges like providing vitamin-rich food to children in crisis and producing affordable, renewable, off-grid energy.

Through Development Innovation Ventures, for example, we’re investing in a team of young graduates who started a company called EGG-Energy to provide families with rechargeable batteries they can rent to power their homes for five nights at a time. In Tanzania, where 90 percent of people lack access to electricity—but 80 percent live within 5 kilometers of the power grid – this could help a generation of children grow up with light.

Through mobile money platforms like the Better than Cash Alliance, we can accelerate financial inclusion for the 1.8 billion people with access to a phone but not a bank.

Through Global Development Alliances, we’re leveraging private sector resources and expertise to help diasporan entrepreneurs in the U.S. grow their businesses. One such company, Sproxil, developed a prescription medication verification system using a scratch card on each pack of medication revealing a numerical code. By texting the code to a toll-free phone number, you can verify whether the drug is genuine or possibly fake. Today, thanks in part to a seed grant that Sproxil won through the USAID-supported African Diaspora Marketplace, the company has introduced its products in five countries where it reaches over one million consumers.

Our Grand Challenges for Development offer innovators opportunities to apply their scientific and technological expertise to clearly defined development challenges. In the last three years, we’ve launched five challenges, and we have already identified many promising innovations, including the Pratt Pouch, which won our Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge. Designed by students at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke  University, this low-cost foil pouch – similar to a ketchup packet – remains stable without refrigeration and allows mothers who give birth at home or far from a clinic to give their newborns medication to prevent HIV within the critical 48 hour window after birth.

We know that talent is everywhere, while opportunity is not. That is why our Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) is helping to level the playing field for scientists in developing countries. PEER is providing funding and mentoring support to developing country scientists working side-by-side with U.S. researchers who are funded by U.S. research agencies.  Together, these scientists are addressing a wide range of development-related topics, including health, food security, climate change, water, biodiversity, disaster mitigation, and renewable energy.

These are exciting times at USAID, and I’ve seen first-hand that the enthusiasm is contagious – from university halls to board rooms to research labs. Our challenge is to harness this wealth of energy and excitement to build a pathway out of poverty for millions of people around the world.

The 20 USAID Missions harnessing science, technology, innovation, and partnerships to advance development goals are:

Armenia Georgia Kenya RDMA
Bangladesh Haiti Mozambique South Africa
Brazil India Pakistan So. Africa Regional
Colombia Indonesia Peru Uganda
Egypt Jordan Philippines Yemen


Video of the Week: Adapting to Melting Glaciers: A Partnership Approach

Through the USAID-supported High Mountain Partnership (HiMAP), Peru and Nepal are addressing the impacts and risks of rapidly melting glaciers in high mountain areas. The HiMAP brings scientists, governments officials, and local people together to share lessons learned on managing high-risk, high-impact floods caused by rapidly melting glaciers.

Learn more about USAID’s work in climate change and promotion of development based on climate-smart planning and clean technologies.

USAID in the News

Devex featured a piece about USAID’s new approach to tackling urban policy through the use of crowdsourcing. A public comment period will be made available on November 7 as a part of the Sustainable Service Delivery in an Increasingly Urbanized World program. By soliciting public opinion, USAID hopes to find new ways to encourage the formation of local solutions that will allow the agency to partner with city governments and community groups to build on expertise and bolster development efforts.

The Times of India reported on a USAID grant that was awarded to three Indian companies to help them share successful low-cost agricultural innovations with African countries. The grants come through the USAID India-Africa Agriculture Innovations Bridge Program, which seeks to improve food security, nutrition, and long-term sustainability by sharing Indian innovations with farmers in Africa who will benefit from them.

Administrator at at The George Washington University’s Feeding the Planet Summit, where he announced the Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Photo credit: Joslin Isaacson, HarvestPlus

Administrator at at The George Washington University’s Feeding the Planet Summit, where he announced the Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Photo credit: Joslin Isaacson, HarvestPlus

AllAfrica covered USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s announcement of 10 new Feed the Future Innovation Labs that will partner with American universities to tackle the world’s most challenging agricultural research problems. A part of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, these labs will work to address the challenges of climate change in agriculture and research ways to produce food in an environmentally sensitive manner to ensure global access to nutritious and safe foods.

Zawya reported on a joint effort between USAID and the Caterpillar Foundation, which seeks to provide intensive technical training to youth in Jordan. The program equips trainees with the skills to fill technician-level positions in key industrial sectors of the Jordanian economy. Rana Al Turk, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) Jordan Country Director says that the program aims to fill job positions, “while providing youth with a comprehensive employability approach that includes the technical training and soft skills they need to enhance their employment prospects and lead successful lives.”

Citizen News featured a story on a USAID-funded program that provides students in Kenya with laptops to enhance their educational experience. According to Jaribu Primary School headmaster Mohamed Gedi, the project has triggered a spike in the performance of the 300 hundred students that benefit from the laptops.

The Express Tribune reported on USAID’s hand over of a state-of-the-art Expanded Program on Immunization Coordination and Planning Resource Center to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation, and Coordination in Pakistan. The center is equipped with technology and software that will allow the government to track vaccine supplies throughout the country. USAID Health Office Director Jonathan Ross, who inaugurated the center, reaffirmed the U.S. Government’s commitment to improving health indicators in Pakistan through continued health development assistance.

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