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.
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The balcony outside the “Flag Mess,” or Admiral’s dining room, on the sixth floor of the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), offers one of the most all-encompassing views of Honolulu and the southern coast of the island of Oahu in Hawaii. From the Diamond Head promontory on the far left (familiar to fans of Hawaii 5-0) through Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, to Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field, on to the Waianae mountains to the far right, on a sunny December morning it is hard to envision how different the scene would have been 72 years ago.
December 7, 1941 – the “day that will live in infamy” in the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – saw the Japanese Imperial Navy attack on Pearl Harbor and many other U.S. military installations on Oahu. A Hawaiian friend, now 85 years old, was a schoolgirl at the time. She remembers the sound of the attack and running out onto the lawns of the Kamehameha School – the first school established for native Hawaiians – to see the Japanese planes bombing the U.S. fleet at Pearl, an experience that left indelible memories.
Other witnesses to the attack, who survived and lived to fight in the Pacific campaign, are fewer and fewer every year. They still return, some to spend eternity with their fallen comrades. In a solemn ceremony, survivors who served on the USS Arizona can have their cremated remains entombed within the hull of the ship – approximately three dozen have done so, joining the more than 1,100 who went down with their ship.
These days, the job of protecting American interests in the USPACOM area of responsibility (AOR) falls to the people of USPACOM and the four service commands. It is a massive job – the AOR reaches from the west coast of the U.S. to the western borders of China and India, more than 50% of the surface area of the world. With 60% of the world’s population, the world’s five largest militaries, five of the world total of seven U.S. mutual defense treaty allies, and sea lanes through which the bulk of world commerce passes, the region is vital to U.S. national interests.
The importance that USAID places on our partnership with USPACOM is demonstrated by the assignment of four USAID advisors to the Command – two Development Advisors and two Humanitarian Assistance Advisors. Working closely together, we are committed to advancing U.S. national interests and USAID developmental objectives in this critical part of the world –responding to humanitarian disasters, building host nation capacity to counter instability and violent extremism; mitigating the effects of climate change; and countering illicit trafficking; and promoting stability, good governance, and regional cooperation in Asia. Although this cooperation takes many forms, it is usually most visible when military forces respond to a USAID and host nation request for support with disaster assistance programs, as was the case just last month when the strongest typhoon to ever hit land devastated parts of the Philippines.
As we pause to remember the sacrifice of those who fell here 72 years ago, we should also remember that the people of USAID and USPACOM continue to work in peaceful ways to achieve the ideals for which our fathers and grandfathers fought not so long ago.
Richard Hough is the USAID Senior Development Advisor to U.S. Pacific Command. A career Foreign Service Officer, he works to maximize interagency cooperation and develop solutions to developmental challenges faced by both civilian and military agencies. His international career has spanned more than thirty years, with assignments in Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Richard served as USAID Mission Director in Romania and Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro), opening the missions in each country in the immediate post-communist period and managing significant democratic, social and economic transition programs, including pro-democracy support that was instrumental in removing President Milosevic from power. As Director of Programming for the USAID Missions to Indonesia and the West Bank and Gaza (Palestine), he managed the development of a new, post-9/11 strategy for USAID programs in Indonesia, the fourth largest country, with the largest Muslim population, in the world. Following the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26, 2004 Richard developed a $400 million recovery and reconstruction plan for the province of Aceh. In Palestine he managed a $2 billion development assistance portfolio that supported the Israeli-Arab peace process. He is married to Jill Gulliksen, an international development professional with thirty years of program management experience; they have two grown children.
US News and World Report reported on USAID’s contributions to the relief effort in the Philippines following the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan. The article focuses on USAID’s decision to purchase food directly from local Filipino distributors—a choice which will not only ease the logistical complications of getting supplies to the areas where they are needed, but also inject cash into the Philippine economy at a time when it is greatly needed. Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance program at USAID, said, “We’re getting to a point where we can start thinking about recovery aspects, but we don’t want to declare victory prematurely. The destruction in those coastal areas was near total.”
Thomas Reuters Foundation featured a story that examined the USAID relief efforts in the Philippines in the light of lessons learned from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The piece quotes USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah saying that the Philippines’ “strong, capable central government” will help avoid problems in the reconstruction process. “To get reconstruction investment back into the (Philippines) economy and rebuild these communities will take a longer amount of time and will have to be very strategic and focused. But it will require very strong leadership from the government of Philippines and we expect we will see that,” said Shah.
GMA News reported on the scale of USAID’s relief operations for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, quoting Al Dwyer, the head of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) at USAID, who said that the current effort in the Philippines “is much greater than what we have ever done in the past.” The U.S. is working with other countries to coordinate the response, and has donated at least $47 million in humanitarian assistance and sent 2.6 million food parcels thus far.
Another piece from GMA News focused on the $10 million that was pledged earlier in the week by the U.S. government to help restore clean water in Tacloban City and provide support to the logistical operations. USAID Assistant Administrator of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy E. Lindborg said that the funding “will allow much-needed relief supplies to reach to hard-hit areas and ensure that 200,000 people in and around Tacloban have clean running water.”
Devex reported on a speech given by Administrator Shah at Brookings Institution, which outlined the agency’s new three-part commitment to helping end extreme poverty. The approach will focus on public-private partnerships, country programs that demand mutual accountability and disaster-prone, fragile areas and communities. In the speech, Shah expressed that a focus on fragile areas must be better informed by an understanding of what results investment in these areas can be expected to produce.
Spy Ghana covered USAID scholarship awards to prospective students through the USAID West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program at the University for Development Studies in Tamale. The scholarships will support 30 students at six universities in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger who wish to pursue master’s degrees in the fields of soil and water conservation, innovation communications, development studies, and science.
Dhaka Tribune featured a piece on the USAID Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity partnership with WildTeam focused on conserving the rich biodiversity of Bangladesh, particularly the Royal Bengal Tiger. The effort, named the Bagh Project, will devote approximately $13 million to wildlife conservation efforts through reducing illegal trafficking, minimizing human-wildlife conflict, enhancing outreach and engagement, and improving livelihoods for conservation.
The Huffington Post featured a piece about the work that USAID is doing to help Jordan deal with a massive influx of Syrian refugees in the country, which is straining local economies, municipal services, and natural resources, particularly in Jordan’s southern region. The USAID Community Engagement Project (CEP) is soliciting local opinions to target initiatives to strengthen communities’ ability to cope the demands that the refugees are creating, and in the process improving life for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees.
The Express Tribune of Pakistan reported on the USAID-backed Training for Pakistan Project, which will offer practical educational opportunities to more than 6,000 Pakistani professionals over the next four years. Training services provided by the initiative will include assistance with program design and implementation, participant recruitment and selection, and monitoring and evaluation. The program will also create a USAID alumni association of participants who can be tapped to discuss the country’s development and share their experiences.
The website Inc. covered USAID’s announcement of its annual Grand Challenge, which makes available $25 million in grants that can be won by innovators to help them develop solutions for this year’s theme, “Securing Water for Food.” This year, USAID is seeking candidates who have discovered ways to improve water efficiency and reuse wastewater, capture and store water, or reduce water salinity. “We think water scarcity is one of the most pressing development challenges of the 21st century,” says Chris Holmes, USAID’s global water coordinator.
Ventures Africa reported that USAID, Western Union, and Nigeria’s Bank of Industry will come together in Lagos for the second Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Live Banking Panel, which will provide the opportunity for the business leaders of more than 100 SMEs to pitch business plans to Nigerian and pan-African banks. The event aims to expand access to financing opportunities for African entrepreneurs and training for capacity development.
The Libya Herald featured a story on USAID’s Libya Diaspora Marketplace Entrepreneurship Competition, which selected three winning business plan submissions to receive a grant from $25,000 to $50,000 to help them bring their plans to fruition. The projects will be monitored and the grants disbursed based on the projects meeting development milestones, and project leaders will be connected with other entrepreneurs to share valuable lessons and best practices. The chosen projects represent the agribusiness, information and communications technology, and transportation sectors.
The Wayne Independent reported on a $5 million USAID grant that will go towards establishing a Feed the Future Lab for Climate-Resilient Beans at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Those researching at the lab will employ new techniques to accelerate common bean breeding programs with the goal of cultivating traits that will increase crop yield under heat and drought stress, which could increase food safety and reduce hunger. Trials of the plants will eventually be conducted in the U.S., Mozambique, Columbia, and Honduras.
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.
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.
Carribbean 360 detailed a new program launched by USAID to improve nutrition and access to locally produced foods in an effort to prevent hunger in the most vulnerable households in Haiti. A large focus of the program, which is a part of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, will be on developing the agriculture sector in Haiti. Combined with the use of food vouchers, improved nutrition education, and better quality health and nutrition services, the program is expected to reach 250,000 households.
Nehanda Radio featured a story on the $10 million increase in food assistance granted to Zimbabwe by USAID’s Office for Food and Peace. This funding will go to feeding the 2.2 million people who require food assistance in Zimbabwe, particularly during the hunger season, which is expected to affect 32% more people than it did last year. Melissa Williams, the USAID Mission Director in Zimbabwe said about the project, “Although the U.S. Government and other major donors are transitioning assistance in Zimbabwe from humanitarian relief to promoting sustainable development, humanitarian assessments continue to indicate that significant numbers of people in Zimbabwe still require seasonal assistance to meet their minimum food needs.”
The Nation (Pakistan) reported on a meeting between the Pakistani Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, and USAID Mission Director for Pakistan, Gregory Gottleib, where the Federal Minister praised USAID for economic and social support in the country and discussed important areas of study and focus to address as the partnership moves forward.
News Medical covered two five-year awards from USAID to International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) to advance new HIV prevention tools for women and ensure that they will be available to the countries where they are most needed. “Women urgently need a range of new tools that are tailored to their needs, and to the complex social, cultural and behavioral realities they face,” said Dr. Lee Claypool, USAID Biologist. “To beat the epidemic, we must continuously invest in innovative HIV prevention tools for women.”
CarDekho reported on a certificate of recognition given to Volkswagen India at the USAID-organized International Conference on Promoting Water Use Efficiency in Urban Sector to Address Climate Change. Volkswagen India received the recognition for eco-friendly measures they have taken to minimize their impact on the environment. Many of Volkswagen India’s initiatives have focused on adopting measures to reduce the consumption in fresh water, with scarcity being a problem in the area.
The Guardian reported that USAID and the Department for International Development (DfID) in the UK will be joining forces in Mozambique to fight against trachoma, a disease that is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. The first crucial step the organizations will undertake is mapping the areas to determine where people are at risk of blindness from the disease, which will help identify where prevention measures, distribution of medicine, and surgery are most needed. The goal of the program, set forth in a World Health Assembly resolution in 1998, is to eliminate blindness caused by trachoma by 2020.
GMA News Online of the Philippines highlighted USAID relief funding and assistance for victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that affected the Central Visayas region early this week. Simultaneously, hygiene kits will be made available to earthquake victims through USAID’s VisayasHealth Project.
AllAfrica reported that USAID will invest $25 million on orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria. The project, which seeks to improve the wellbeing of 500,000 vulnerable children and 125,000 caregivers, will target local governments and strengthen the organizational systems and technical capacity of the Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Science Daily detailed the results of a USAID-supported study that examined the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of a one-year contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR). The results of the study, which demonstrated a positive response to the new contraceptive, indicated that the CVR could have a substantial impact as a resource for women in developing countries who lack convenient access to a health care facilities or reliable electricity. Currently, a wide range of obstacles prevent women in developing countries from accessing effective contraceptive methods.
Sun Star had an announcement that the city of Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental province of the Philippines has been chosen by USAID as a pilot city for two-year development project. The project, called Investment Enabling Environment (INVEST), will seek to turn the city into an economic hub by streamlining business processes and improving investment planning and promotion. Government officials in Cagayan de Oro expect the project to boost local business and create employment opportunities in the city.
AllAfrica reported on a joint effort between USAID and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that will increase rice production in Nigeria. The project, which will work to boost agriculture and ensure rural development, is part of an effort to boost economic activity. Farmers in Nigeria will be given access to tools and resources to increase their income and raise their standard of living.
AllAfrica reported on a newly-announced USAID partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund USA and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, which is aimed at supporting the proposed Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new hospital, scheduled to open in June 2015, will provide high-quality medical care to children regardless of their social or economic status.
The Express Tribune featured a story about the fourth National Youth Peace Festival in Lahore, Pakistan, which is being supported in part by USAID. The organizers expects to see 500 young people from across Pakistan attend the festival, the theme of which is “One Nation, One Agenda; Democracy and Peace.” Politicians will attend the festival in hopes of engaging youth by taking up issues that are relevant to them.
Jamaica Observer reported USAID’s tool donation to 105 cocoa farmers in Jamaica as a part of a two-year project, which focuses on “protecting rural lives, livelihoods and ecosystems” in communities affected by climate change. The tools will be used by farmers to combat the negative effects of climate change on agriculture.
Vibe Ghana detailed USAID efforts to support the Western Regional Health Directorate in Ghana. USAID contributions to the health directorate include training, performance-based grants, and equipment that will be distributed throughout district hospitals and health care centers. Dr. Edward Bonko, Leader of the Focus Region Health Project of USAID, explained that the efforts would assist with “maternal, reproductive and child health, HIV/AIDS and malaria preventions and neonatal care” in the Western Region.
Pakistan’s The Nation reported on the visit of a group of U.S. government officials, including USAID Mission Director for Pakistan Gregory Gottleib, to the Jamshoro Thermal Power Station. The power plant will provide an additional 270 megawatts of power to the national grid. In addition to the Jamshoro power plant, USAID is working to rehabilitate thermal plants in Muzaffargarh and Guddu and a hydro-plant in Tarbela.
The website OpenEqualFree detailed a USAID effort to educate student gardeners in Liberia through the Advancing Youth Project—a partnership with Liberia’s Ministry of Education and community organizations that offers “alternative basic education services and entrepreneurship training for young people across Liberia.” The initiative will provide agricultural experts to train students to grow their own gardens and teach them the about agribusiness as a possible career choice.
The Hill featured a piece written by Representatives Albio Sires and Mario Diaz-Balart spotlighting USAID efforts to combat tuberculosis. The story, which describes legislation geared toward encouraging development of health care products in low-resource health systems, includes an overview of USAID’s contributions in the area of research and development in global health, saying, “As a leading funder of breakthrough products for global health, USAID is a key partner in later-stage research that ensures the development of safe and effective health tools.”
The Nyasa Times of Malawi reported on a partnership between USAID and Bayer HealthCare aimed at making the affordable and effective Microgynon Fe Oral Contraceptive available in the country. Malawi is the latest country to benefit from this program, called the Contraceptive Security Initiative, which was first launched in 2010 and has already been implemented in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ghana. The initiative is aimed at bringing affordable and effective family planning into the market.
Pakistan Observer reported that USAID-supported projects will add 1200 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan’s national electric grid by 2014. The energy supply increase will be achieved through supporting reformed energy policies, improving technology, and repairing thermal power plants and dams. The energy increase, which is essential to driving trade and economic growth, is expected to supply 14 million people in 2.5 million households with electricity.
Spy Ghana profiled James A. Bever, the new director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Mission in Ghana. The piece notes that Bever will oversee USAID’s Ghana-specific programs in areas of agriculture, governance, economic growth, education, and health.
The Dhaka Tribune detailed the forthcoming visit from a USAID team to Bangladesh for the purpose of assessing the country’s agro-business sector. The USAID team is scheduled to meet with stakeholders of the sector and the secretaries of agriculture and commerce, as well as with companies, legal associations, and academics that work with agro-business to gain a well-rounded perspective of the issues involved. Agro-business sector improvement could help attract potential investment and encourage economic growth and prosperity in the country.
Ms. Magazine profiled USAID programs that aim to empower girls and women in Afghanistan. The programs that were detailed focus on strengthening the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the work they do to support women, and increasing literacy of Afghan women and girls.
Leadership covered USAID’s support for a third season of the children’s show, “Sesame Square”—Nigeria’s adaptation of “Sesame Street.” The popular show, which just launched a new season in the Hausa language, is geared toward educating and strengthening the reading skills of Nigerian children. Chairman of the Bwari Area Council Peter Yohanna Ushafa noted that the program will help produce good citizen leaders in the country.
The Huffington Post featured a story highlighting the efforts of USAID and other international organizations and governments in reducing child mortality around the globe through the A Promise Renewed program. The article quotes USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, “We can imagine a world without children dying for no need…We’re going to deliver that.”
WPRO630 99.7FM in Rhode Island covered USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah tour of the Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, a Providence non-profit maker of fortified, high energy dense peanut pastes that the agency distributes as ready to use therapeutic food and supplementary food for distribution to countries such as Chad, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan and Syria.
Barrington Patch reported Navyn Salem, executive director of Edesia, led a tour of the small factory for USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. The delegation donned white smocks and hair nets to get a first-hand look at a major supplier of fortified peanut-based, ready-to-use food products. USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and other agencies that address emergencies, conflict zones, and disadvantaged communities overseas buy the ready-to-use foods (RTUF). Shah was especially pleased with USIAD’s partnership with Edesia. These are “newly created, scientifically advanced food products that are designed to save the lives of some of the least fortunate people in the world,” Shah said. “From this facility, you reach 1.6 million kids in 35 countries.” Providence Journal cited Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions annually produce 6,000 metric tons of nutritional food supplements that are shipped around the world tAfro locations where war, famine or natural disaster have imperiled children’s lives. Its factory in Providence , now employs nearly 50 people, including former refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Burma. Using mostly U.S.-sourced ingredients, Edesia makes and ships enough nutrition packets to aid about 600,000 children annually.
Fibre2Fashion, an online textile and fashion website reported that the Global demand for fashion, diversification of sourcing and manufacturing locations around the world, along with the growing African middle class has stimulated demand for stylish, African-made apparel. USAID Africa Trade Hubs build momentum by supporting efforts, such as the Origin Africa Designer Showcase, to promote Africa as a reliable sourcing destination and to help African business take advantage of trade opportunities available under AGOA.
Christian Science Monitor noted that Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) will team up with USAID to create an easy-to-use database of Congolese community-based organizations. “Through the database and the landscape analysis, USAID and ECI have laid the groundwork for augmenting foreign assistance in Eastern Congo,” said USAID’s Global Partnerships Division Director Christopher Jurgens. “Serving as a model of strategic investment in the region, the partnership’s assessment will shape future engagement and elevate awareness and commitment to the region within international development and donor communities.”
The Hill reports that “in a letter sent Tuesday to national security adviser Susan Rice,” a group of 22 lawmakers called for a “more efficient system” to help the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons within Syria. Ahead of the impending strikes, the House Democrats want “Rice to work with the State Department and USAID to establish training, capacity building, and aid delivery partnerships with Syrian relief organizations in order to expand their operations.’”
CNN continues to cover plans to establish Starbucks franchises throughout Columbia, and intends to work with two firms with “experience in the region: Latin American restaurant operator Alsea and food company Grupo Nutresa.” The Seattle-based giant is also “teaming up with the US Agency for International Development,” a private-public partnership that “includes a three-year, $1.5 million commitment from each to support the Starbucks Farmer Support Center.”
The AP reports that on Monday, Starbucks announced plans “to open its first cafe in Colombia.” In addition, the company “announced a $3 million partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help Colombian farmers boost coffee yields and economic stability.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the USAID partnership will help to provide technical and agronomy support to farmers in Colombia. Bloomberg Business Week reports that “Starbucks and USAID are each investing $1.5 million during the next three years for research to help small-plot coffee farmers in Colombia.” The piece notes that “USAID has initiated other projects to help areas in Colombia affected by internal conflict, drug trafficking and violence.” Reuters quotes USAID chief Raj Shah, who said that the focus of the initiative is to reduce “extreme poverty, which is still a reality for almost all of these small-scale coffee growers that have barely one hectare (2.5 acres) of land.”
AllGov.com profiled Nisha Desai Biswal, the newly-nominated next assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Affairs. The piece notes that Biswal, “assistant administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development,” “will be the first person of South Asian origin to head the bureau.”
Washington Blade highlighted thirty activists from across Colombia are attending a four-day training in the city of Cartagena designed to encourage LGBT people to become more involved in the country’s political process. The training is the second to take place in the South American country as part of the USAID-backed LGBT Global Development Partnership that will contribute $11 million over the next four years to advocacy groups in Ecuador and other developing countries.