Weekly Briefing (7/9/2012 – 7/13/2012)
July 9: In advance of World Population Day on July 11 and the London Summit on Family Planning to begin the same day, the Financial Times reported on efforts to provide reproductive health services to women worldwide. According to the report, approximately 215 million women in developing nations who are seeking contraception cannot get it. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who is attending the summit, was quoted as saying, “Family planning has been a huge determinant of long-term development. We have an obligation and a real need to do a better job.”
July 11: New York Times Columnist, Nicholas Kristof, highlighted President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative and the work being performed by USAID to address global hunger and food security. Specifically, in Malawi, USAID is working with local farmers to promote new crops and methods to address the root causes of food insecurity. “President Obama has made agriculture a focus of his foreign aid programs,” reports Kristof. “These initiatives are smart, cost-effective and potentially transformative.”
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June 24: USAID’s completion of its work in Panama was highlighted in an editorial from Voice of America, which noted that given the country’s economic growth and commitment to development, U.S. assistance is no longer needed. USAID’s 50-year partnership with the Panamanian government included the building of schools and youth centers, preservation of the Panama Canal watershed, and the establishment of new government ministries, among other efforts. The USAID office in Panama will close in September.
June 24: In a Huffington Post blog post, former UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kul Chandra Gautam says the Child Survival Call to Action Summit held in Washington recently was an opportunity for reflection on USAID’s 50th anniversary and its 30-year contribution to the Child Survival and Development Revolution. Gautam attributes the success of the effort to reduce preventable child deaths to collaboration between USAID and UNICEF, eventually creating a truly global movement for child survival and development. Still, Gautam notes, “the continuing loss of 21,000 children daily from preventable causes is unacceptable.”
June 27: The Guardian featured coverage of a report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, which urges the European Commission to develop a stronger nutrition strategy. The report discussed the merits of public-private partnerships to meet development challenges, citing the example of Enterprise Ethiopia, a partnership among USAID, PepsiCo, the PepsiCo Foundation and the World Food Programme. The effort enabled 10,000 Ethiopian farmers to achieve a twofold increase in chickpea production through modern agriculture and irrigation techniques.
Weekly Briefing (6/18/2012 – 6/22/2012)
June 18: Last Friday, The Guardian published a story highlighting the importance of advancing water supply and sanitation. USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer, MauraO’Neill, cited the benefit of working with the private sector to address development needs. “Increasingly, we are co-creating solutions [with private companies] around a big, difficult development problem,” O’Neill says. USAID is hoping to promote more of these kinds of advances through its Development Innovation Ventures fund, a government program that operates like a venture capital fund for new ideas in development.
June 18: The Guardian also highlighted USAID’s and PEPFAR’s (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) support for an HIV/AIDS clinic in South Africa. Nearly 130,000 patients have visited the clinic since it opened in 2007. The clinic treats an average of 250 people a day and it is currently providing more than 3,500 patients with Antioretroviral therapy (ART) in their fight against HIV/AIDS.
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Still can’t get enough USAID? Here’s a lot more. We were in the news quite a bit this week. National Journal and Politico both reported on our new mobile money partnership with Citi. We spoke to the Global Pulse blog about the need to focus efforts on the five countries that have 50 percent of all preventable child deaths.USA Today reported on the newly released report about global childhood deaths in the Health Policy and Planning medical journal.
And don’t Ben Affleck and Administrator Shah make a great team? We think so, read their joint op-ed in Politicoon ending child mortality and more about Ben Affleck and Secretary Clinton’s commitment in Foreign Policy Magazine. Finally, Administrator Shah chatted with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC about child survival.
Weekly Briefing (5/21/2012 – 5/25/2012)
May 21: Last Friday, President Obama outlined a public-private partnership to work on global poverty issues ahead of the Group of Eight summit in Camp David. On the eve of the summit, USAID unveiled the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security, a program designed to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth. AFP, The Hill, McClatchy Newspapers, PBS NewsHour, Reuters, Time Magazine, and USA Today covered the announcement.
The White House also published a blog on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition written by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and Gayle Smith, Senior Director at the National Security Council.
May 22: Voice of America reports that USAID is working to improve safe drinking water and sanitation around the world. Through USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States government is working to sustain the management of watersheds and ecosystems, and recently joined the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. “The United States Government considers sanitation and water and our related partnering activities to be a critical component of our overall international development assistance effort,” said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.
Weekly Briefing (4/23/2012 – 4/27/2012)
April 22: In the Huffington Post, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah previewed a new global campaign to end preventable child deaths.“Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” will focus on raising awareness ahead of the Child Survival Call to Action event in June, when the governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia will join together with UNICEF to mobilize the world to end preventable child deaths.
April 23: Today at the Kaiser Family Foundation, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah launched the “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign to end preventable child deaths. Administrator Shah spoke with The Guardian and the UN Dispatch, which highlighted the launch. The Global Post also wrote a story on the 5th Birthday campaign.
April 24: On the eve of World Malaria Day, US Global Malaria Coordinator Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer published an op-ed in The Hill, discussing the importance of malaria intervention and his first-hand experience distributing malaria bed nets in Ghana.
April 25: In an interview with Federal News Radio, Assistant Administrator Mark Feierstein discussed USAID’s focus on strengthening its investments in local intuitions and working with previous aid recipients. For example, Feierstein cited Brazil, a long-time receipt of aid and now the sixth-largest economy in the world, as a USAID partner for agricultural development in Haiti and Mozambique. “Hopefully, we’ll see places like Mozambique and Haiti and elsewhere achieve the kinds of successes Brazil has in recent years,” Feierstein said.
Weekly Briefing (4/9/2012 – 4/13/2012)
April 9: Returning from a recent trip to Ethiopia, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah told Voice of America that assistance to the country’s health sector has saved thousands of children’s lives. “Because of those joint partnerships that we have had for years and years, last year, we now know, that partnership helped save 36,000 Ethiopian kids’ lives,” said Shah.
April 12: In an interview with NextGov, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer, Maura O’Neill, discussed the role the White House’s new chief technology officers’ council will play. O’Neill also discussed USAID’s approach to technology and development. How do you get the interagency to not stifle innovations? We have a lot of the same issues in each of our agencies and we can talk about particularly smart approaches to them.”
Weekly Briefing (3/12/2012 – 3/16/2012)
March 14: A recent study highlighted in Federal Computer Week magazine showed that USAID was one of three federal agencies currently in full compliance with the White House transparency recommendations issued in March 2011. Under the Administration’s Open Government Directive released in December 2009, agencies developed open government plans in April 2010. Many of the agencies updated those plans in mid-2010 and again in 2011 and are now preparing for a third round of updates.
March 14: The White House Blog published An Alliance for Global Development written by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and DFID Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell. The blog discussed the official state visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the unique partnership the two countries share on global development.
March 14: Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg joined Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney to discuss the on-going humanitarian crisis in Sudan and South Sudan. The Associated Press, Voice of America, and The Washington Post covered the hearing, among other major outlets.
March 15: The Oregonian (Portland, OR) reports that 20 international students from Latin America will soon be heading home after receiving two years of academic and technical studies at a local college. The students were selected to participate in the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program, an initiative funded by USAID. SEED scholarships provide training to youth and community leaders from economically disadvantaged and historically underserved populations, including women and ethnic/Indigenous groups, to become key leaders in their countries’ development.
Weekly Briefing (3/5/2012 – 3/10/2012)
March 4: Over the weekend, the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.) highlighted USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah’s trip to General Mills’ Minnesota headquarters. Shah was in town to present the company with a Global Citizenship award, recognizing several hundred employees who volunteered their time and expertise to educate farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and other African countries through the Partners in Food Solutions program.
March 6: Last Friday, USAID announced the creation of the Donald Payne Fellowship program, which aims to attract diverse young professionals to careers in international development. With the passing of Congressman Payne, Roll Call published a story that included a statement Administrator Shah issued. “There have been few greater friends of USAID, and Rep. Payne’s legacy of helping people and solving problems around the world will continue through this fellowship,” Shah said.
March 8: Speaking at a Congressional hearing to discuss the latest developments in the Horn of Africa, AFP and Voice of America report that Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg testified that the U.S. took immediate action, ensuring direct food assistance to 4.6 million people and emergency health care for nearly one million more. Lindborg also underscored the serious challenges ahead, particularly the unsteady rains which will impact the amount of food the region will be able to produce. The United States and other major donors will meet in Kenya later this month to discuss longer-term Horn of Africa plans.
Weekly Briefing (2/27/2012 – 3/2/2012)
February 27: Over the weekend, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah visited the campus of Bethel University, in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Administrator Shah praised Bethel for their commitment to international engagement and discussed USAID’s work in the areas of global health and food security. While in Minnesota, Administrator Shah also visited General Mills headquarters and recognized employee volunteers for their global citizenship.
February 27: Bloomberg highlighted the release of the “Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index,” the first ever report to measure the impact women play in food growth in developing countries. USAID was a key partner in the development of the report and the index will be applied to all programs in President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative.
February 29: The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed written by Senator John Kerry, discussing his support for foreign aid and the work being performed by USAID and the State Department. Citing former President Ronald Reagan, Kerry writes that Reagan “knew that diplomacy and development policy neutralize threats before they become crises; manage crises if threats escalate; and assure security and stability after conflicts are resolved, all at a fraction of the cost of military deployment.”