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USAID and Brookings discuss education and militancy in Pakistan

USAID held a lively discussion this week on the connection between education and militancy in Pakistan, focused on the Brookings Institution’s newly released report, Beyond Madrassas: Assessing the Links between Education and Militancy in Pakistan.

The Brookings Institution funded and wrote the report, but we thought its release would be a great opportunity for staff from USAID and US government agencies, think tanks, academics, diaspora groups and other development partners to discuss the findings more in-depth.

USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, told the 125 attendees that the event was “part of our reform agenda here at USAID …  to be as evidence-based as possible in making program decisions that get more educational results for U.S. tax dollars”.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey - USAID - Brookings Institution

Congresswoman Nita Lowey – USAID – Brookings Institution

Guest speaker Congresswoman Nita Lowey thanked the report co-authors, Dr. Rebecca Winthrop and Dr. Corinne Graff, saying “we know that education, especially a quality basic education, is instrumental in fostering a more peaceful society, preventing conflict, and ensuring equality between men and women.”

Afghanistan/Pakistan Task Force director Jim Bever moderated the discussion, which featured the report co-authors Dr. Winthrop and Dr. Graff, Steve Inskeep (National Public Radio), Bruce Riedel (Brookings Institution) and Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies).

Read more about the event, see the full transcript.

USAID – Pic of the Week

Angelina Jolie visits USAID

Angelina Jolie visits USAID at the U.S. Embassy on June 19, 2010. Photo by: Kendra Helmer

Angelina Jolie, U.N.’s goodwill ambassador, talks with USAID/Haiti Mission Director Carleene Dei (in black vest) at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on June 19, 2010. Jolie spoke about child-protection issues with the State Department, USAID and USAID partner Pan American Development Foundation.

For more pics, check out USAID’s Facebook Album.

Landon Donovan scores one for empowering South African youth

Submitted by Saba Hale, Development Outreach Communication Intern/Southern Africa

Landon Donovan scored the winning goal that advanced the U.S. team to the second round of the World Cup

South African youth get autographs from Clarence Goodson (right) and Landon Donovan (left) at the U.S. Team's Open Practice on June 6, 2010.

Landon Donovan and Clarence Goodson may be winning the hearts of Americans, but they are also inspiring the youth of South Africa. A group of young people met the two rising stars only weeks before Donovan scored the winning goal that advanced the U.S. team to the second round of the World Cup.  Interactions like this one prove that soccer is more than just a sport.  The World Cup is an opportunity to reinforce development objectives.  USAID is committed to prevention programs that provide the youth of South Africa with the knowledge, skills, social support, and services they need to help reduce their risk of HIV infection. 

Three Things You Should Know about the U.S. Government’s Work in Haiti

submitted by Anna Gohmann

Responding to Haitians’ Questions A daily radio program for earthquake-affected communities recently broadcast its 100th program. “News You Can Use” (“Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen”), produced by Internews and supported by USAID, reaches more than 3 million Haitians via 27 local radio stations and addresses topics including shelter and settlement; health; food, water and sanitation; and disaster risk, assessment and damage. The programs are based on listeners’ questions – 100 daily on average – submitted via text message and ongoing surveys.

Raising Public Awareness USAID, in coordination with the Haitian government, is supporting TV and radio public information campaigns aimed at addressing gender-based violence, security and health. “Stop the Rape” (“Kwape Kadejak”) PSAs are airing on large screens in many of Haiti’s spontaneous settlements during the World Cup and on other popular TV programs.  The PSAs, which are produced with USAID funding by the Pan-American Development Foundation and Population Services International, inform audiences about reporting and prosecuting rape and other violence; preventing HIV and malaria; and hygiene and family planning.

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USAID Supports Rural Pakistani Women Farmers

USAID is supporting rural Pakistani women farmers to increase crop and livestock productivity.

The Rural Livelihood Development Program in Balochistan built the capacity of 50 female community organizations to increase crop and livestock productivity, improve on-farm water management, and foster improved market linkages for agricultural inputs and outputs.

The program also provides institutional capacity building to 200 community organizations which train women in entrepreneurial skills, improved marketing, and agricultural-related technical training.  The program will enable 40,000 women and girls to increase their income by 20 percent.

Rural Pakistani women do the majority of livestock and agriculture management, frequently in the form of unpaid “family” work.  The USAID agriculture programs will develop skills and techniques of female farmers while strengthening women’s control over the financial resources generated by their work.

Balochistan faces debilitating drought and severe water scarcity which negatively affects production and value addition in crop and livestock development.  To address this issue, efficient water use and management is integral to USG livelihood activities in horticulture and livestock development.  Forty percent of sheep in Pakistan come from Balochistan.  Through the introduction of wool grading and a site visit to the Ghazi Wool Industry in Southern Punjab, USAID helped farmers gain from an increased sale price of $11 for 40kg of raw wool to $20 for graded white wool. Read more about the economic growth program.

Football – A Universal Language

submitted by Chris Thomas

Soccer - Youth Mission - photo by Joan Cartwright

The World Cup is underway in South Africa — the first time an African nation has ever hosted the quadrennial event. Joining Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany, England, the U.S. and other football powers in the 32 team field include five from sub-Saharan Africa — Ghana’s Black Stars; Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions; Ivory Coast’s Les Elephants; Nigeria’s Super Eagles; and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (the Boys).

The game has a powerful gravitational pull and unique appeal to humanity. It binds us together – a common language understood throughout the world. While global in scope, it is also markedly local in flavor.

From Dhaka to Dakar; and Kabul to Kinshasa, its pitches are makeshift but ubiquitous – football is played on dusty fields, squalid pastures and dirt plains, in the shadow of great mosques, mountains and monuments, in slums and shantytowns; beside rubble and ruin; and down narrow and congested alleyways.

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This Week at USAID – June 21, 2010

Secretary Clinton and Administrator Shah will deliver opening remarks on “LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy” at an event co-hosted by State’s Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.

At an event in the Ronald Reagan Building, USAID will join the Brookings Institution to launch a new report on education in Pakistan.  The event will discuss efforts to create concrete programs in Pakistan’s education sector that can more effectively advance U.S. security objectives in the region and contribute to longer-term stability in Pakistan.  Administrator Shah, Congresswoman Lowey and Mr. Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, are among the key speakers.

Administrator Shah will give remarks at a dinner during the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) conference in Washington, DC.  AAPI is a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs.

REBUILDING SCHOOLS AND LIVES IN PORT-AU-PRINCE THROUGH THE CLEARS PROJECT

submitted by Anna Gohmann

Before - College St. Pierre

Before - College St. Pierre

Images of the first few weeks after the earthquake in Haiti are seared indelibly into all of our memories. But for USAID, the international community, and the Government of Haiti, our work continues even when there are no cable news cameras to capture it.

Alongside hundreds of other projects, we’re supporting CHF International to clear damaged buildings and help rebuild many of the hundreds of community schools that the earthquake destroyed in and around Port-au-Prince. CHF’s Emily Lynch shared the below story and photos of College St. Pierre, which collapsed in the earthquake and was cleared away through the USAID-funded CLEARS project:

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USAID In The News

The 2010 World Food Prize ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 16th celebrating the winners of the prestigious $250,000 award honoring accomplishments that have improved the global food supply. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Rajiv Shah, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were the keynote speakers helping celebrate the fight to end global hunger.

Dr. Shah travelled to Dakar, Senegal to speak at the opening ceremony of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Food Security Investment Forum.

A meeting was held in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where the topic of discussion was finding business solutions for nutrition problems. Dr. Rajiv Shah explained that USAID will be making some changes regarding investments focusing more on aligning investments in grain storage, market information systems, and feeder roads. Dr. Shah also mentioned that President Obama has committed to spending at least $3.5 billion over three years for agricultural development and food access.

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Why Family Planning Matters

USAID is a global leader in the effort to provide voluntary family planning services and programs that allow couples to choose how many children to have, and when to have them. When men and women are given the knowledge and the right tools to plan their family, most couples choose to have fewer children.  In countries where families have fewer children, women are more likely to be educated, there is a higher paid female population, and women are increasingly involved in activities outside the home because they are not tied to the traditional household role.

USAID currently supports programs in more than 60 developing countries that work to ensure both men and women have access to these life changing services.  Our programs focus on educating people about pregnancy, how to plan it, and how to ensure the health of both the child and mother.  Increasing access to these services will also reduce the rates of abortion since more pregnancies will be planned.

Since the inception of USAID’s family planning programs in 1965, the use of modern family planning methods in the developing world has nearly quadrupled—from less than 10 percent to more than 39 percent today.  In the 39 countries with the largest USAID-supported programs, the average number of children per family has dropped – by choice – from more than 6 to fewer than 4.1.

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