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USAID in the News

January 3: Billboard Magazine highlighted USAID’s work to launch a public awareness campaign for the famine in the Horn of Africa. Specifically, the magazine praised USAID’s partnership with MTV to not only “forward the facts,” but auction off items to benefit families in East Africa.

January 2: Over the weekend, Forbes India published a transcript of an interview with USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. The interview discusses Feed theFuture and the budget, and took place during Administrator Shah’s trip to India earlier in the month.

December 24: Voice of America reports that the U.S. continues to support the Republic of South Sudan. New efforts are under way to help establish a viable government and lay the groundwork for economic growth. USAID/South Sudan Mission Director Kevin Mullally was quoted, stating that “As the country takes the leadership in its development, we are committed to supporting them in trying to achieve their vision.”

December 22: NPR interviewed Alex Thier, Director of USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to discuss a promising new survey showing that medical care in Afghanistan has improved dramatically over the past decade.

December 20: USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer, Maura O’Neill, published a post in The Huffington Post’s Impact Blog. In the piece, O’Neill discusses India’s innovative approach to development. She also highlights USAID’s new partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), one of the largest microfinance organizations in India. The partnership aims to identify and develop cost-effective aid programs that will benefit India as well as the rest of the world.

USAID-Devex Essay Contest: Last Chance to Add Your Voice

Through a joint USAID and Devex essay contest, you have the exciting opportunity to have your say on the most pressing issues in international development – and to be published along with the most prominent international development leaders of our time. The deadline for submission is this Sunday, January 8.

USAID is seeking five of the most interesting, innovative and insightful opinions and ideas for inclusion in an essay collection, along with essays by leading global development thinkers, to be released in May 2012. The best of the remaining submissions will be posted on USAID’s website.

The essays can focus any issue directly relevant to one of these topic areas:

  • Democracy and development in the 21st century
  • Pressure on the planet: climate change, resource demand and demography
  • Strengthening security to accelerate development, accelerating development to strengthen security
  • Competing in global markets in 2025: trade, jobs, growth, and the role of the state
  • Making markets and technology work for service delivery

For more information about contest topics and guidelines for submission, please see the contest announcement.

Winning essays will address an issue or idea directly relevant to one of the major topic areas listed above, and will present an original, innovative insight to help shape how some aspect of development practice is undertaken in the foreseeable future. They should focus on where the world is going and how developing countries and their partners can best prepare for future changes. We are particularly interested in essays that engage in broader debates on future-oriented key challenges to development, rather than essays that focus on analysis of U.S. foreign policy or foreign assistance.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (12/12/2011 – 12/16/2011)

December 9: Last Friday, the Global Post highlighted USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah’s visit to Harvard University. On December 12thThe Guardian’s Global Health Blog also published a post about his trip to Cambridge. Speaking at a dinner, hosted by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Dr. Shah recalled his visit to refugee camps in Kenya and the struggle families are currently facing in the Horn of Africa. Shah also encouraged journalists to actively cover the crisis and famine.

December 14: The Guardian reports that during the International Engagement conference for South Sudan, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah stated that theconference is an opportunity for the government of South Sudan to lay out its vision for the future of its economy. Shah also stated that the event will “help private companies and investors see the Republic of Southern Sudan as a place where they want to increase their investments, thereby enabling significant economic development and economic growth”. Bloomberg News also reported on the conference, citing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s strong support for the new nation and the promising economic opportunities in farming and oil sectors. ReutersThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times also covered the conference.

December 15: ABC News’ “Million Moms Challenge” blog highlighted an innovative approach USAID is using to help pregnant women and new mothers in Bangladesh. By utilizing a new cell phone program, women are receiving text or calls with potentially life-saving alerts regarding their upcoming due date. After they give birth, themothers continue to receive messages with information regarding healthy nutrition and how to care for their newborn. The USAID initiative is called Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (11/28/2011 – 12/2/2011)

November 29th: The Taipei Times and The China Post reports that USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah will visit Taipei, Taiwan on December 1st and 2nd.  Shah is visiting Taiwan at the invitation of the American Institute in Taiwan, as part of his trip through Asia to celebrate the USAID-Taiwan relationship, as well as the country’s transformation into a democratic society.

November 30th: An op-ed written by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah was published on CNN’s Global Public Square blog. In the piece, Shah discusses the current aid effectiveness forum taking place in Busan; and South Korea’s transformation from aid recipient to aid donor. He also describes the importance of delivering transparent foreign aid and how the U.S. is making important strides in ensuring development assistance is made in an efficient and effective manner.

December 1st: AFP noted that during his stop in Taipai, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 2006. During his trip, Administrator Shah met with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and opened the “American Footsteps in Taiwan”, an exhibition that highlights the friendship between the United States and Taiwan.

December 1st: In recognition of World AIDS Day, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah published a blog in The Huffington Post citing the importance of developing innovative approaches to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.

USAID to work with New Department of State Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations

We are in the midst of a new era of political and social transitions around the globe. These transitions, as with many of the problems of the developing world, often involve conflict and crisis. The Department of State has launched the new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. This new bureau will be an important partner for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in increasing our global capabilities essential to crisis prevention, response, recovery, and transition efforts.

The new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations is part of Secretary Clinton’s broader strategy laid out in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review to build smarter, more effective U.S. engagement with the world. The Bureau will subsume the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

A key responsibility of the new State Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations is the continued management of the Civilian Response Corps, civilian staff from various U.S. government agencies trained to enhance U.S. government engagements in fragile states and post-conflict environments while laying the path for longer-term development and peace. Last year alone, USAID Civilian Response Corps personnel provided more than 9,300 person days to augment Embassy and USAID Mission efforts managing crises in 25 countries such as Haiti, South Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia and others.

Within USAID, the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance brings together wide-ranging technical expertise, flexible funding, and global operational capabilities with $2-3 billion per year in programs to support disaster and crisis prevention, response, recovery, and transition efforts.

We look forward to partnering with the State Department’s new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations to drive integrated development and diplomatic efforts to prevent, respond to, and stabilize crises in priority states and regions, helping local actors set the conditions for sustainable solutions and long-term peace.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (11/14/2011 – 11/18/2011)

November 14: CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that five former U.S. Secretary of States wrote a joint letter to Congress addressing the importance of foreign aid. In the letter, former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger write that, “now is not the time for America to retreat from the world.” And that, “this is one area where leaders of both parties can find common ground and come together to ensure a better, safer world and a more prosperous future.”

November 16: The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Alumni magazine published a story on USAID Foreign Service Officer Michael Eddy. Eddy served in South Sudan and worked during the historic referendum and voting process. His service helped promote democracy and governance in the world’s newest country.

Selectivity and Focus

You’ve heard USAID talk about selectivity and focus in theory, but what do these principles mean in practice?

In response to the global trends that are reshaping the development landscape and in line with the QDDR and PPD, USAID will apply seven operational principles across the Agency to help us focus on achieving and measuring results. These principles are not new; many have a long and rich history within the Agency. But under the USAID Policy Framework, they will be applied systematically and with greater discipline and analytical rigor to demonstrate results at a higher level.   One of these principles is the application of selectivity and focus to our programmatic decisions.

According to this Policy Framework, selectivity is about where USAID invests its resources. It demands that the agency invest resources in countries or sectors where they are likely to have the greatest impact on development objectives at the country and/or global level. The key to applying selectivity is (1) gaining a good understanding of the conditions on the ground that are needed to “move the needle” in a certain development objective, and (2) applying clear, measurable, and relevant criteria for selecting countries, sub-national regions, or sectors on the basis of those conditions.

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Engaging Universities to Address the Global Food Security Challenge

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a national association of 217 state university systems, land-grant universities, and related organizations across all 50 states. This week, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and several Agency representatives are attending APLU’s Annual Meeting, the premier annual summit for senior leaders of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state universities.

USAID has enjoyed a long and productive history of partnerships with U.S. universities — partnerships that are critical to our success in many areas and dating back to our very founding 50 years ago. These institutions’ education, research, and engagement missions directly align with USAID’s charge to help people overseas struggling to make a better life. USAID partnerships with U.S. universities have focused on research and graduate training for promising young developing country scientists and on strengthening colleges and universities abroad to create the next generation of agricultural leaders. Together, we have made great progress. But there is still so much more to be done.

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USAID’s Frontlines – October/November 2011

Read the latest edition of USAID’s premier publication, FrontLines to learn more about the Agency’s 50th anniversary as well as its work in food security.

Some highlights:

 This photo tied for second place in the FrontLines USAID 50th anniversary photo contest. Local community members from outside of Dalanzadgad, Mongolia, often travel into town to join in USAID’s entrepreneurial activities, including craft and furniture production. Camels are the preferred mode of travel because they are able to carry many items. 2007. Photo credit: James Orlando

This photo tied for second place in the FrontLines USAID 50th anniversary photo contest. Local community members from outside of Dalanzadgad, Mongolia, often travel into town to join in USAID’s entrepreneurial activities, including craft and furniture production. Camels are the preferred mode of travel because they are able to carry many items. 2007. Photo credit: James Orlando

  • The Agency’s Horn of Africa aid delivers a one-two punch of emergency assistance and long-term support
  • And, check out photos that illustrate the best of USAID’s past and present from the latest FrontLines photo contest, where readers were asked to send in pictures to mark the Agency’s five decades (If you want in on the action, go to the Viewer’s Choice page before Nov. 18 and cast a vote for your favorite image among the official judges’ top-five picks)

If you want an e-mail reminder in your inbox when the latest issue of FrontLines has been posted online, subscribe here.

Veterans at USAID: Continuing to Serve America and the World

In 1978, I was “roaming” the North Atlantic on a guided missile destroyer (USS Luce DDG-38) as a young Naval Officer. During my four years with the Navy, I saw much of what the military’s finest branch had to offer–first as an electronic warfare officer, then as a damage control officer in the engineering department and finally, as the ship’s navigator.

My military service gave me countless gifts that I have used throughout my professional and personal life.  I made lifelong friendships; got accepted to a top business school on the strength of my military career; and gained leadership experience and skills I have used my entire professional life.

It instilled in me a deep sense of commitment and service to our country.  Most recently I was asked to serve President Obama’s Administration as the Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade (EGAT) at USAID. At USAID, I have made it a top priority for my bureau to hire, develop, and retain our nation’s finest. Military service–my first experience serving our country, helps me fully appreciate the sacrifices and lives of veterans both as warriors and women and men, heroes in our midst–heroes who always deserve, and often need, jobs.

We recently brought on board Dane Thomas who is retired Air Force. He is currently in our office of Professional Development Administrative Management (PDAM) working on personnel matters for EGAT.   We also brought on board Jan Louis Argilagos, a six-year Navy veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He is currently supporting USAID’s Water and Global Climate Change coordinators, and assisting with communications, research and strategic planning for EGAT’s water and climate change teams. Fellow veteran and former Army Chris Holmes serves as the Agency’s Water Coordinator.  Joel Van Essen, currently on active duty with the U.S. Navy and on loan to USAID, is helping to develop USAID’s water strategy. He is engaged with senior leadership to focus on practical resolutions to water issues in the Horn of Africa.

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