Dr. Jill Biden at the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto
submitted by Themba Mathebula, Development Outreach Communications Assistant, USAID South Africa
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, visited the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto, on her arrival in South Africa yesterday. The centre is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID. Mapetla Day Care provides care and early education for 102 orphans and vulnerable children, including life skills development and preparation for primary school.
During her visit, Dr. Biden met the ecstatic children and staff. The centre’s principal Thabo Baloyi said “I’m very humbled to have met the U.S Second Lady and appreciate the support from the American people through USAID.” The U.S. Second Lady also met Kami, the HIV-positive muppet from Takalani Sesame, South Africa’s version of Sesame Street. USAID’s education program had supported development of Takalani Sesame for South Africa. South Africa was the first country to adapt Sesame
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Najeeb focuses during welding training. He is among 100,000 underemployed Pakistani youth USAID is training and helping with job placement under its Economic Growth program.
Holding an electric arc in his right hand, and a steel and glass helmet in front of his face with his left, Najeeb Ahmed bears down on a sheet of metal, focusing intensely as he heats a straight line across a forge under the watchful eye of an experienced ironworker.
Like millions of young Pakistanis, the 30-year-old Najeeb is ambitious and eager to work yet is nonetheless unemployed. Becoming a welder may be his last chance to provide a good life for his family of six.
USAID is facilitating the placement of 100,000 Pakistanis – at least half women – in skill-matched jobs through training and placement
centers that establish linkages with the businesses, complementing other USAID programs such as education, health, and economic growth initiatives.
USAID is helping people find new economic options that offer hope for themselves and their children. Growing job opportunities in key emerging sectors, such as food processing, construction, educational and health services, and marble, gems and jewelry will offer a way out of the cycle of poverty and violence currently afflicting much of Pakistan, particularly in the rural parts of the country.
In male dominated cultures, USAID programs are helping to decrease maternal deaths by encouraging men to become involved in pregnancy and childbirth matters. Pictured: a man and child in Pakistan.
Reducing maternal deaths by 75 percent throughout the world by 2015 will take the involvement of men in countries where it matters most. Many of the countries where USAID works are male dominated cultures. To improve maternal health outcomes for women in developing countries, men must be equal partners since they are the decision makers about health care in the family. These decisions include determining family size, timings of pregnancies, and whether women have access to health care for themselves and their children. USAID-supported programs make special efforts to emphasize men’s shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood, sexual and reproductive health. This means reaching out to community elders, leaders, and religious groups – entreaties that could be rejected because of traditional cultural values and perceptions that maternal health is the responsibility of women only.
In Pakistan, USAID is building on the efforts undertaken by the Government to create a cadre of religious leader master trainers to conduct roll out trainings in family planning and reproductive health, and maternal and child health, and gender issues consistent with and supported by the teachings of Islam.
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While major progress has been made in the fight against malaria in the Mekong SubRegion covering the six countries of Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China, the disease continues to be a major public health problem, according to the World Health Organization’s recent Mekong Malaria report.
USAID provides critical strategic support in the region to address three major challenges: monitoring and mitigation of emerging multi-drug resistant malaria; combating the distribution of counterfeit and sub-standard drugs; and assessing hard-to-reach and mobile trans-border populations.
Malaria is on the agenda of the Lower Mekong Initiative Infectious Diseases Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 17–18 where participants will examine integrated regional approaches to fighting infectious disease. President’s Malaria Initiative Coordinator, Rear Admiral (USN, retired) Timothy Ziemer, will open the conference and co-lead the U.S. delegation.
The U.S. Government six-year strategy to combat malaria globally outlines contributions to stop the spread of multi-drug resistance in Southeast Asia; increase emphasis on strategic integration of malaria prevention and treatment activities with programs for maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, and tuberculosis through multilateral collaboration to achieve internationally-accepted goals; and intensify efforts to strengthen health systems.
Currently leading the U.S. delegation to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Board meeting in Rome, today Administrator Shah meets with the Executive Director of WFP, Deputy Director Generals of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Earl Gast will be sworn-in as the new USAID Mission Director to Afghanistan.
Several USAID officials will be speaking at the Women Deliver Conference at the Washington Convention Center. In addition, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Amie Batson, and the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, will both speak at the Global Business Coalition on AIDS, TB and Malaria’s annual conference, also in Washington, DC.
Great news on maternal and child health today. On behalf of the Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates committed $1.5 billion to support integrated women’s and children’s health programs in developing countries at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC. The United States through the Global Health Initiative shares the goals of the Gates Foundation to improve the health and nutritional status of women and children worldwide. While progress in reducing maternal and under-five mortality has been made, much remains to be done. The new commitment of the Gates Foundation highlights the need for the global community to develop more integrated approaches to women’s and children’s health. It also plans to evaluate innovative programs and share effective strategies with other countries. This approach will help national governments achieve lasting reductions in maternal and under-five deaths. USAID welcomes the opportunity to partner with Gates and other partners in this effort.
Submitted by Jessica Scott
Administrator Shah took part in the first ever US-India Strategic Dialogue this week. The meeting included a host of senior leaders from both sides. Dr. Shah discussed development as part of the complex relationship between the two countries.
The final 314 American troops from Operation Unified Response were airlifted from Haiti on Tuesday. Even as troops were being pulled out of the country, they continued to work with USAID and the UN in nine camps housing Haitians who lost their homes. The Washington Post’s editorial page commemorated the transition with a lead editorial that mentions USAID in connection with the importance of continued U.S. involvement in Haiti’s recovery. USAID officials who have been leading this effort, including Paul Weisenfeld and Christopher Milligan, attended the World Summit on the Future of Haiti.
The USAID-Funded FIRMS Initiative is helping bridge the gap between Pakistani mango farmers and European consumers. Pakistan exports a relatively small percentage of its mango production. Under the FIRMS program, farmers are being trained in the best ways to pick, sort, grade, and package the
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By Zack Taylor
Khana Mohri buffalo milk producers, primarily men, developed a dairy association with USAID support. The association provides training and veterinary support to its members, and stores its milk in a chiller bought through the USAID project.
On October 8, 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and AJK, killing 74,000 people and injuring 70,000. In the years since the devastating earthquake, reconstruction of the region has been an important component of the development portfolio at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pakistan.
Read more about efforts to rebuild lives and livlihoods of the families and communities who live in this remote, mountainous province in Pakistan.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the U.S. government mobilized all of its available resources. Military helicopters transported survivors out of destroyed cities and brought in thousands of tons of relief materials such as food, medical services, clothing, and tents in collaboration with the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team. Heavy machinery moved debris to search for victims and set the stage for rebuilding.
The close teamwork of Pakistani and U.S. governments, along
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Due in large measure to USAID-provided health messages provided to a member of the local Village Council and leader in her community, 15-year-old Bakhtawar will be able to finish school - and growing up - before she is married.
Kanjeer, Pakistan – Bakhtawar was a good student in the fifth grade at a small school located in a Southern Pakistan village.
She enjoyed learning, laughing with her friends, and spending time with her family. But one evening, as she sat nervously in a chair beside her parents at the local meeting hall, she knew that everything about her childhood was coming to an end. No more school, no more girlfriends, no more fun.
At 15, Bakhtawar was about to become engaged to be married. Read her story here!
The impacts of early marriage are substantial not
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The signing in Moscow concluded the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Joint Committee for Emergency Management and Disaster Response.
On Friday, May 28th, FEMA Deputy Administrator Timothy Manning and I signed a work plan with the Russian government to expand bilateral cooperation through 2012 on responding to international disasters and humanitarian crises. The signing in Moscow concluded the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Joint Committee for Emergency Management and Disaster Response. This committee was formed in 1996 and now serves as one of the working groups under the Bilateral Presidential Commission established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev last year. The U.S. delegation from FEMA, USAID, and the Department of Transportation discussed ways to enhance preparedness and response capabilities for disasters at home and abroad. The Russian delegation, led by First Deputy Minister of the Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) Ruslan Tsalikov, was especially interested in sharing humanitarian aid best practices, and proposed partnering with USAID to address food security issues in the region.
The committee meeting was the culmination of an exciting week for cooperation in this area. During the earlier part of the week, a FEMA-USAID delegation held a joint table top exercise with EMERCOM that simulated an earthquake scenario. American and Russian experts jointly examined response considerations related to declaring a disaster, deploying teams to another country, coordinating search and rescue with humanitarian response, and demobilizing. Specialists from Fairfax County’s Task Force 1 Search and Rescue team, who responded to the earthquake in Haiti, had the opportunity to sit across the table from Russian responders who also served in Haiti, and to share lessons learned from that experience. The exercise is part of U.S. efforts to support the Russian Government’s goal of meeting the standards for the United Nations’ highest classification of search and rescue teams.
Russia’s commitment to cooperating with the U.S. in addressing humanitarian crises is another sign of its reemergence as strong global partner and international donor. U.S. and Russian teams are already working together to improve rescue efforts in response to natural disasters and terrorism, and this is just one of many areas in which we are collaborating on global development. USAID/Russia also partners with the Ministry of Health to send Russian medical experts to countries in Africa and with Russia’s new agency for humanitarian cooperation, Rossotrudnichestvo, to strengthen its capacity to provide aid.
After spending the week in Russia, I am even more convinced that the U.S. and Russia have much to gain by working together to address the big challenges of the 21st century. I believe USAID should continue to be at the center of much of that cooperation and partnership.
Now I am off to Bosnia for the next phase of my trip.