This marks my first trip to Russia since I took on the role of Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Europe and Eurasia Bureau. I’m very pleased to be back here, at a time when there is a lot of optimism about the “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations.
Today I met with Russian experts and NGOs that are partnering with USAID to reduce maternal and infant mortality, improve reproductive health, and reduce the number of children living in orphanages and on the streets. These are priorities for both Russia and the U.S., and an important area of collaboration under the Bilateral Presidential Commission established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev last July.
I was impressed by the leading role that Russian organizations such as
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A group of children relax under a net in the Oyam district of Northern Uganda. Source: Gilbert Awekofua/Photoshare
The PMI website, managed by USAID, earned The Gold Screen Award in the 2010 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition, held by the National Association of Government Communicators. The awards competition recognizes superior government communications products and their producers in 51 categories. Gold Screen Award categories are reserved for audiovisual and multimedia products, including broadcast-related products and websites.
More than 500 entries were received and judged by a prestigious panel of expert judges. The website, accessible at www.pmi.gov and www.fightingmalaria.gov, hosts 12,000 unique visitors per month who view over 30,000 pages.
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Currently in Beijing, Administrator Shah is taking part in development-specific talks led by Secretary Clinton at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Later this week, Administrator Shah will be in Dhaka to participate in the Food Security Investment Forum hosted by the Government of Bangladesh. This forum is a country-specific element of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
I’m in Beijing to take part in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue along with other Obama Administration leaders.
First stop: China Agricultural University where the Agriculture Cadres Training College is preparing the next generation of development professionals.
This is the only university In China to have a discipline in development; it offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. The visit here was very exciting — there were great questions about Africa and partnerships — and the students were extremely engaging.
USAID in the News …
Administrator Rajiv Shah said in Nairobi, Kenya that the agency is working to make Africa a bigger priority. USAID currently funds and runs programs to improve health, food security, democracy and entrepreneurship in Africa.
In Southern Sudan, Dr. Shah announced that USAID and its local partners are launching the $55 million, five-year Food, Agribusiness and Rural Markets (FARM) Program aimed at helping to improve the ability of small farmers to grow staple crops.
The Lancet published an assessment of proposed reforms to USAID that Dr. Shah had announced, including the reinstatement of a bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning.
The Los Angeles Times wrote an editorial in favor of the Obama Administration’s plans to expand pilot programs to get food aid to the world’s needy faster.
The Obama Administration, as reported by the Reuters News Agency, is signaling a shift in U.S. foreign policy in the wake of the 2008 food crisis. The Administration wants to spend at least $3.5 billion over the next three years to potentially help 60 poor nations feed themselves. USAID is the lead implementing agency for Feed the Future.
USAID, on behalf of the U.S. Government, is proud to launch the Feed the Future website.
“We are all impatient because we are acutely aware that today the lack of adequate food will result in the premature deaths of about 25,000 people,” Dr. Shah said during a speech today where he outlined the U.S Government’s new architecture for food security. “We can Feed the Future, but we have not one more moment to waste.”
Feed the Future is the Obama Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative. The website includes the Feed the Future Guide, an implementation strategy for the initiative officially released today.
Please find more information here.
Ambassador William Garvelink recently joined USAID as Deputy Coordinator for Development for the Feed the Future initiative.
Q. What is Feed the Future?
Garvelink: Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Through Feed the Future, we will contribute to raising incomes, improving nutrition, and enhancing food security – seeking to impact millions of lives worldwide.
Q. Why the emphasis on food security — why now?
Garvelink: Right now, we have a historic opportunity. Global leaders at the 2009 G8 Summit made a commitment to act with scale and urgency. President Obama’s $3.5 billion pledge helped to leverage more than $18.5 billion from other donors in support of a common approach to achieve sustainable food
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USAID is supporting health training of mothers in Kenya. The programs encourage women to consider delivering their children in a hospital, rather than at home. Women who deliver at home face greater risk of complications and infections, and their babies are less likely to be fully vaccinated. In areas where USAID programs are in place, hospital deliveries have nearly doubled.
Young people are watching a play about adults being encouraged to get tested for HIV as part of participating in a clinical trial for a novel HIV vaccine at YRG Care, a premiere HIV referral center in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Administrator Shah recently said that “humanity demands an AIDS vaccine” when describing USAID’s approach to high impact development. USAID and its partners continue to support the quest for a safe vaccine that could effectively prevent HIV — a search that is commemorated each year on May 18th, HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. This work is essential since notable progress in providing life-saving treatment to those who need it cannot keep up with the number of new HIV infections. For every two people living with HIV who begin taking antiretroviral therapy, five additional people become newly infected. Each day, there are at least 7,400 new infections.
Our current efforts are outlined in a vaccine brief.
USAID’s Senior Technical Advisor for HIV Vaccines was featured in a recent issue of Frontlines [PDF].