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USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah Honors the Life, Memory of U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne

U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne of New Jersey. Photo Credit: USAID

A statement on the passing of a true advocate of USAID’s work, Rep. Donald M. Payne of New Jersey.

“There have been few greater friends of USAID than Rep. Donald M. Payne. Mr. Payne beat the drum of dignity and civil rights for women and girls from Rwanda and Afghanistan to Colombia and Morocco. He was a giant in the world of African affairs whose sage counsel I relied upon time and again – whether on the challenges of promoting economic development and justice in post-apartheid South Africa or helping to sustain peace between Sudan and South Sudan. He was there the day South Sudan became an independent republic, and was personally involved in the development of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the creation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program and the strengthening of the African Union. His imprint on our Agency is large. Mr. Payne visited nearly every USAID Mission in Africa and directly touched the lives of our staff in the field and here in Washington, DC. From protecting human rights, to promoting food security or combating HIV/AIDS, Rep. Payne held our Agency accountable for delivering real results. His absence will leave a deep void, but his legacy as a champion for those in need will live on.”

Inclusive Development: USAID’s New Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy

As posted on the White House Blog

There are moments that make you proud. Proud to work in an Administration led by President Obama and Secretary Clinton who have made gender equality a top priority.  Last week was one of those times.

Last year USAID Administrator Shah and I established a task team to craft a new policy on gender quality and female empowerment, the Agency’s first in 30 years. I am proud to say that USAID released that policy, achieving great strides and reaffirming our commitment to close the gender gap in international development.

The goal of this policy is to improve the lives of citizens around the world by advancing equality between females and males, and empowering women and girls to participate fully in and benefit from the development of their societies.

USAID has long recognized that drawing on the full contributions of women is key achieving better, inclusive, and more sustainable results.  That’s why we’re integrating gender equality and female empowerment into the very DNA of everything we do.   From Presidential initiatives like Feed the Future (FtF), the Global Health Initiative (GHI), and Global Climate Change to the full range of the Agency’s programs, we are ensuring that gender is not just being included, but fully incorporated.  Eliminating gender bias and empowering women isn’t just a question of fairness or equity: it’s simply good business practice.   

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USAID in the News

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.”

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (2/13/2012 – 2/17/2012)

February 16: Voice of America reports that at a USAID town hall meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that the U.S. is working “more deeply in fewer areas” as part of diplomatic and aid efforts to resolve conflicts and help countries become more self-sufficient. “The work we do speaks for itself,” she said. “How we do the work, how we are more efficient, leaner, smarter, better will enable us to keep getting the resources we need to be able to deliver the results we seek.”

February 17: In a video preview, PBS News highlights an upcoming story on USAID’s expanding partnerships with faith groups around the world to address global development challenges. The full story and interview with USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah will air this Sunday, February 19th.

FY13 Budget: Making Smart Investments

The Fiscal Year 2013 International Affairs budget, which was released on February 13, showcases President Obama’s commitment to making smart, efficient investments to help those in the greatest need while helping to create economic opportunity and safeguarding American security.

It is important to remember that these numbers represent lives around the world that can be supported and saved through our smart investments in agriculture, health, and access to clean water, among other programs.  And these investments come at an incredibly small fraction of our national budget—in the case of development assistance, less than one percent.

Similar investments we made last year demonstrated a number of important results. Thanks to our investments in humanitarian assistance, we were able to save tens of thousands of lives in the Horn of Africa after a devastating drought led to famine and threw over 13 million people into crisis. U.S.  support helped provide lifesaving AIDS drugs to nearly 4 million people, protect 200,000 infants from HIV infection and keep millions of children throughout Africa safe from malaria. And our  agricultural investments are  supporting the goal of lifting 18 million people from a state of hunger and poverty.

Despite those results, we’ve had to make difficult choices this year, consolidating some programs and eliminating others. Our 2013 budget shows a willingness to focus on countries and programs where we believe we can make the greatest impact.

Global health is a key part of our investment in economic and human security.  Our request goes to cost-effective, proven global health interventions delivered through President Obama’s Global Health Initiative. These investments will help achieve a number of the President’s ambitious global health goals, including saving the lives of five million children by the year 2015, and expanding HIV/AIDS treatment. Thanks to the falling costs of health commodities, including contraceptives, malaria bednets and antiretroviral drugs, and increased investments by partner governments, we can now save more lives.

$1 billion of our FY 2013 request is devoted to Feed the Future, President Obama’s landmark food security initiative. These investments will help countries develop their own agricultural economies and  grow their way out of hunger and poverty, rather than relying on humanitarian food aid that costs us seven times as much to deliver. We’ve also designed a results framework so we can transparently measure and demonstrate the impact our investments have made in fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Our budget request maintains robust funding for our humanitarian accounts. Efficiencies in our use of these resources will ensure we have the necessary means to continue U.S. leadership in responding to natural and man-made disasters, just as we did last year after a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa. In addition, we continue to increase our focus on preventing future crises through disaster risk reduction activities and funding for greater resilience against food shocks through Feed the Future.

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Harnessing Science, Technology, and Innovation To Promote Global Development

Originally posted on the White House blog

Today at the White House, senior Administration officials announced a series of new initiatives to promote game-changing innovations to solve long-standing development challenges.  Answering President Obama’s call to harness science technology, and innovation to spark global development, the Administration announced initiatives from across the government to generate new development solutions.  Announcements include new partnerships with universities; greater use of scientific breakthroughs through expedited technology transfer of federally-funded inventions; a program to reward inventors who use their patented technologies to address humanitarian needs; and initiatives to leverage advances in Internet and communications technologies to provide new development tools.

In an increasingly globalized world, the Obama Administration recognizes that global development is vital to national security and is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative.  One of the cornerstones of our global development policy is a commitment to investments in game-changing innovations with the potential to solve long-standing development challenges in health, food security, environmental sustainability, and broad-based economic growth.  Innovation can play a key role in building a stable, inclusive global economy with new sources of prosperity, advancing democracy and human rights, and helping us to increase the ranks of prosperous, capable, and democratic states that can be our partners in the decades to come.

Administrator Raj Shah announced that USAID is launching a new partnership with universities and research institutes to define and solve large development challenges.  USAID also announced new commitments to increased utilization of electronic and mobile payments to save on costs and increase financial access; a new effort to make assistance to other governments in telecommunications development more efficient; a new “app store” for development to spur humanitarian apps and software; and new commitments to mobile education technology as part of USAID’s All Children Reading grand challenge for development.

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Open for Questions: Innovation for Global Development

Originally posted on the White House blog

On Wednesday, February 8 at 9am, the White House will host an event to highlight how the government and the private sector are harnessing science, technology, and innovation to promote global development. Speakers from the White House, U.S. Agency for International Development, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the private sector will join participants from universities, industry, and nonprofits for a discussion of innovation and global development. Watch live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Later in the day, at 11:00 a.m., Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council will take your questions on the role of science, technology and innovation in global development.

  • What: Open for Questions: Innovation for Global Development
  • Who:Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council
  • When: Wednesday, February 8 at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Where: Watch live at WhiteHouse.gov/live and submit your questions via Facebook, Twitter using the hashtag #WHChat or our webform.

Erin Lindsay is Deputy Director of Online Engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (1/30/2012 – 2/3/2012)

January 25: ClimateWire (registration required) published a story highlighting USAID’s efforts to assist Fiji design climate change plans. John Wilson, director of the office of technical services for USAID’s Middle East bureaus, said the team is working on ways to address water and food security as well as other needs brought about by rising global temperatures.

January 27: In another article, ClimateWire (registration required) also reports that USAID recently released its 5-year, Climate Change and Development Strategy (pdf). The plan calls on the Agency to reduce emissions while at the same time protecting communities from weather disasters. “Consideration of climate change in strategic planning, program design, and project implementation across a wide range of development sectors is essential to the success of USAID’s mission,” wrote USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.

 

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (1/16/2012 – 1/20/2012)

January 17: The GlobalPost highlighted India’s progress in its fight to end polio and noted that the country recently marked one year since its last confirmed case of polio. The news outlet interviewed Ellyn Ogden, USAID’s worldwide polio eradication coordinator. In the published interview, Ogden discusses India’s achievement and the global outlook to end polio.

January 18: On Wednesday, at the University of Delaware-Wilmington, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah joined Senator Chris Coons at an “Opportunity: Africa” Conference. Local media outlets, including The News Journal, the Newark Post, and WDEL-AM covered the event. At the conference, Administrator Shah and Senator Coons highlighted how American businesses, including Delaware-based companies, are developing innovative ways to grow Africa’s economy and open trade markets for U.S. goods.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (1/9/2012 – 1/13/2012)

January 11: Foreign Policy published a Letter to the Editor written by Ambassador Ertharin Cousin and USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg. The letter provided clarification describing U.S. food aid and highlighted the fact that aid is distributed after careful analysis and in a competitive manner. Furthermore, the letter states that USAID now has a program that uses cash, vouchers, and local and regional food purchases to ensure “we reach people more quickly with the right type of response based on local conditions.”

January 11: In The Miami Herald, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah published an op-ed citing the accomplishments in Haiti, two years after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. “Over half of the 10 million tons of rubble has been cleared from Port-au-Prince’s streets, more people have access to clean water today than before the earthquake, and collective efforts have mitigated the outbreak of cholera that killed thousands in the country.” In addition to rescue efforts, the U.S. is also working to rebuild the country. “With the leadership of Secretary Clinton, we are trying to harness the transformative power of science, technology and innovation to accelerate economic progress and improve lives throughout Haiti.”

January 11: OhMyGov! published a story on the Famine, War, Drought (FWD) Campaign being led by USAID. The article highlighted the important role social media has played in the campaign, as well as the dramatic increase USAID has experienced in Facebook followers. According to OhMyGov’s media analysis platform, during the week of December 22-29, USAID’s Facebook page experienced a 27% growth in total Facebook fans, amassing nearly 12,000 new fans in just seven days.

January 12: On NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More programs, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg were interviewed to discuss the two-year anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake. In both interviews, Administrator Shah and Steinberg stated that the U.S. remains committed to supporting and investing in Haiti.

January 12: Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, published an op-ed in The Huffington Post discussing the progress being made in Haiti. In addition to playing a critical role in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, “the United States is helping Haiti create jobs, boost agricultural production, more effectively deliver services, expand access to health care and provide higher quality education to its youth.”

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