USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Youth

Education Week 2012: Reading Improves with the 5 “Ts”

As part of the USAID Education Strategy (PDF), we are focused on improving reading for 100 million primary school students. We are supporting a movement to get All Children Reading. Our core approach is focused on improving teaching, making sure children have enough time to learn to read, using a language they understand, making sure they have access to reading materials, and testing to ensure they are meeting goals. These five “Ts” are key to reading success.

Reading is the most important skill that children learn as they start school. Reading success in elementary school leads to success in other subjects, higher education and life. And yet, in some sub-Saharan African countries, children who have attended school for five years have a 40 percent chance of being illiterate.

Reading saves lives. A child born to a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5. Educated women are more likely to send their children to school and better able to protect their children from malnutrition, HIV infection, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Reading impacts financial stability. As many as 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills. That is equivalent to a 12 percent drop in the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day. Research has found that countries that have experienced surges in literacy rates by 20 percent to 30 percent have seen simultaneous increases in GDP of 8 percent to 16 percent.

USAID’s approach to improving reading and literacy revolves around five goals, also known as the five “Ts”:

  1. More time devoted to teaching reading
  2. Better techniques for teaching reading
  3. More texts in the hands of children
  4. Teaching children in the mother tongue (a language they speak and understand)
  5. Testing childrens’ reading progress

Time. Reading has to be taught every day. Teachers and administrators need to maximize the amount of time spent on reading. Children also need additional practice time. Increased time spent learning and practicing reading results in success.

Teaching. To be effective, teachers need to teach the five components of beginning reading: phonemic awareness (knowing the sounds of their language), phonics (matching
the sounds to print), vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

Text. In order to learn to read, children require ample reading materials. Materials don’t have to be expensive, but they must match children’s reading levels, and every classroom needs multiple titles so children may strengthen their reading skills.

Mother Tongue. Beginning reading instruction must be conducted in a language that children speak and understand. Acquiring solid reading skills in their first language allows children to learn content and to become successful learners of other languages.

Testing. Assessment should be conducted in classrooms to ensure that teachers are aware of children’s progress and instructional needs. Assessment must also be conducted at the national level to support data-driven policy making.

Watch how this teacher uses a traditional reading approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now watch how this teacher uses an improved reading approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USAID and our partners are dedicated to pursuing reading improvements because they change lives.

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Stemming the Tide of Labor Migration in Nepal

On any given day, the departure terminal in Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport fills with crowds of young Nepalese leaving the country to find better economic opportunities elsewhere. There is little wonder why: in 2008, Nepal’s unemployment rate was estimated at 46 percent. Each year, approximately 300,000 youth leave the country to become migrant laborers abroad, draining the country of some its healthiest, most productive workers.

Lila Chaulaune repairs mobile phones after learning skills at EIG’s vocational training in Salyan District. Like others, Chaulaune shared her skills with her husband, and together they opened their mobile phone repair shop and are now in business together. Photo credit: Kashish Das Shrestha

Over the past five years, however, a USAID project has helped tens of thousands of youth not only find skills-based work at home but also become employers themselves. USAID’s Education for Income Generation (EIG) project, developed in close coordination with the Government of Nepal and many local partners, began in 2008 just as Nepal was emerging from the shadows of its longstanding political conflict. The program was designed to help marginalized communities, especially in western Nepal, fully participate in the country’s economy and society.

Today 74,000 disadvantaged youth who were trained in entrepreneurial literacy, vocational skills, and agricultural productivity and enterprises are reaping benefits, with higher incomes, raised living standards, and substantially increased food security.

Rina Chaudhary, a former Kamalari (bonded laborer), clutches her entrepreneurship literature text book outside the classroom. She is a graduate of two training programs under USAID’s EIG program—the Business Literacy Program and the Agriculture Productivity Training Program. Once entirely dependent on her husband’s income, she now earns enough that they can designate a portion of their income to savings. Photo credit: Kashish Das Shrestha

The EIG program ends this week, but its investment in furthering opportunities for disadvantaged communities will continue to pay off. Many of the successful approaches and lessons learned developed through this project are continuing under the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future (FtF) activities and other related programs, and most of EIG’s local partners are continuing with follow-on work under FtF.

In agriculture alone, 54,000 beneficiaries have been able to grow and earn more through diverse, high-value crops. All in all, these beneficiaries, of whom 82 percent are women, have seen their incomes grow by about 250 percent. In Karnali, a notoriously food-insecure district, an estimated 9,000 youth have directly benefited from improved food security.

The program, with the help of its partners, designed its vocational skills trainings after studying the market’s needs. As a result, more than 11,000 youth were trained in skills ranging from masonry to mechanics, carpentry to industrial wiring, mobile and air conditioner repair, and more. Within six months, about 80 percent of the beneficiaries were either employed or had managed to establish businesses in which they had employees of their own.

In the region’s disadvantaged Dalit community, EIG offered 421 scholarships for professional degree certificates in teaching and nursing, which empowered these beneficiaries to serve as role models in their communities. And in four districts across the mid-western region of Nepal, the program established 80 distillation units to process non-timber forest products like lemongrass and citronella into essential oils. The raw materials are largely grown and harvested by women’s groups and, with EIG’s help, these products are now sold in the export market.

None of these accomplishments will come to an end, even though EIG does this week. And although young workers continue to fill Nepal’s international airport terminals, the project’s tens of thousands of beneficiaries in western Nepal have shown that Nepalese youth who are willing to work hard can make a life in their own towns and villages, with their families and loved ones …and can contribute to their own country’s future.

 

More photos from EIG have been posted on the USAID/Nepal Facebook page, and a video about the project is available on YouTube.

A Soldier’s Lesson in Development

USAID is proud that today over 750 veterans have continued to serve the American people by joining our Agency. On this Veteran’s day, we value their resiliency and selflessness and we pay tribute to their stories.

Author Mirko Crnkovich  is Deputy Chief, in Plans and Liaison Division of the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation.

I served in the military as an Army officer for 10½ years. My first exposure to USAID didn’t occur until my ninth year of service when I was in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border in Paktika province. I was one of the first special operations team leaders with a USAID officer assigned directly to my team, which was conducting civil affairs in an effort to help stabilize the greater Bermel Valley area.

Mirko Crnkovich during his tour in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: USAID

I honestly had no idea what this USAID civilian was doing in my area of operations, what he was supposed to accomplish, or how he hoped to achieve his objectives – and quite frankly I had no desire to babysit him. Looking back, my ignorance was embarrassing, but was no fault of my own – I simply hadn’t been properly trained or educated on what my civilian counterparts brought to the effort. I had no awareness about what USAID was or did, nor did I have an understanding of what it was doing in Afghanistan.

What I learned from that great USAID officer—a core development principle; that it wasn’t the “what” that we did that was important, it was the HOW; and perhaps most importantly, ensuring the local population was directly involved in all of our efforts—directly led me to leave the military, and ultimately, to join USAID in 2008 as a civil servant, allowing me to continue my service to the United States in USAID’s Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation. What I realized is that our military is not properly trained or resourced to effectively conduct stability operations – and neither are our civilian agencies.

Yet both sides bring incredible dedication and capabilities. My greatest epiphany was that my USAID counterpart and I were exponentially more successful when we worked together, hand-in-hand, to achieve our objectives, than when working unilaterally. I wanted to take that experience and find a place where I could leverage my experiences, serving as a Rosetta Stone between my military and civilian colleagues in an effort to better synchronize USAID and Department of Defense efforts – both in D.C., and in the field – and to make each better and more effective.

Increasing the respect and understanding between our civilian and military partners is what I strive to do every day, and the successes are rewarding. I miss the military daily, but not a day has gone by that I have regretted my choice. I am incredibly proud to be a member of the USAID family, and even prouder still of the work we do around the world on a daily basis.

 

Video of the Week “Opportunities Created, Lives Transformed in Nepal”

Check out this  incredible video on opportunities created, lives transformed in Nepal. Over the past five years, USAID’s Education for Income Generation program has helped tens of thousands of youth not only find skills-based work at home but also become employers themselves. Today, 74,000 disadvantaged youth are reaping benefits, with higher incomes, raised living standards, and substantially increased food security.

Lessons on Youth Leadership from Garissa, Kenya

Many of us youth development practitioners have been eagerly anticipating the release of USAID’s youth policy with the hope that it will increase awareness of the importance of youth issues to development. I know from EDC’s work around the world how integral youth are to economic, social and political development.

Children around a laptop in school. Photo Credit: USAID

One of the main principles in the youth policy is youth participation and youth leadership. In my work with youth in Garissa, Kenya, I see how young people have jumped at the chance to get involved in their communities, when given channels to apply their ideas and energy. Young women and men producing and broadcasting their own radio stories throughout North Eastern Province about news that matters to them is a great example. Youth led programming‐with youth in real decision‐making roles is essential, but it is far from easy and quick; it takes time and involves lots of trial and error. So it’s important for us to understand this when designing programs—we need to be ambitious but also patient and target a range of outcomes, that include building the capacity of young people not just as leaders, but as team members that are able to work together to problem solve and make decisions. I’m hopeful that we, as practitioners, and our colleagues at USAID can design programs that reflect this complex process.

The Youth Policy’s emphasis on families and communities is another principle that the Garissa experience has demonstrated. As important as ‘youth‐led’ programming is, youth still need support and encouragement to take on new roles and responsibilities. In fact, I think parents are often the best partners we have in communities because they know first‐hand how much their children are frustrated or depressed when they do not have opportunities. We hear directly from parents in Garissa how much they want to help their children do something that stimulates them or gives them inspiration, such as access to training or scholarships. Programs need to include parents consistently therefore, and not just at the launch of the project or when problems arise.

I’m also hopeful that the Youth Policy will reinforce USAID’s gender policy to continue to highlight the importance of gender within youth programs and development programs more broadly. All too often, the different needs and considerations for reaching young women and young men are not part of youth program design. We see this particularly in workforce programs in which it is rare to see specific workforce strategies for young women vs. men. As youth employment receives more attention, we can’t forget that meaningful solutions for addressing youth employment must consider the unique constraints affecting young women’s and men’s employment and livelihoods opportunities.

About the Education Development Center, Inc.: EDC designs, delivers and evaluates innovative programs to address some of the world’s urgent challenges in education, health and economic opportunity. EDC has designed and managed youth and workforce development programs in over 25 developing countries. Our programs focus on changing the life trajectory of youth who have been left out and left behind. EDC offers an integrated package of education, supports and experiences to ensure young people transition to successful, productive adulthood. Our focus on earning, education, and engagement and three primary cross‐cutting strategies make EDC’s work unique.

A Welcome Call to Action: Working with Youth in Development

As an active member of the Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD), Plan International USA applauds USAID on the launch of the Youth in Development Policy! Along with many others in the development community, Plan has been anxiously awaiting the Policy’s launch. Plan’s work focuses on empowering children and youth in 50 developing countries, and this Policy offers an important reinforcement of the need to engage this population for lasting impact. We also congratulate Maame Yankah, a Youth Ambassador for Plan, for her participation in the Policy Launch Event, but more importantly for her many contributions to communities in Ghana and the US.

Student Nana Kweku Boateng in Junior High School in Koforidua, Ghana. Photo Credit: USAID

The launch of the Youth in Development Policy marks an important shift in our conversation. Many of us as youth champions are well‐versed in answering the question, “Why work with youth?” The reasons to involve youth as partners are many, and their talents, determination, and influence on the world stage is unprecedented. Yet today, with the heightened status of youth engagement within our own government, we can now embrace youth participation as an assumed component of our programming, and focus on responding to the more difficult question, “How should we work with youth?” Plan looks forward to collaborating with USAID, peer organizations, colleagues in the field, and of course the youth themselves, to collect viable answers to this question.

Now with USAID’s new Youth in Development Policy in our hands, how do we turn it into practice? For many organizations, working with youth may require a departure from current ways of operating and a renewed reliance on the youth community. Plan has made youth a heightened priority for several years, and to truly consider them partners, we will continue working with youth through these 3 steps:

1.Put Youth in the Driver’s Seat
It’s not enough to consult youth; they must be active participants and leaders in development. Because youth have unique needs and perspectives, only they possess the information to make youth programming relevant. Plan will continue to incorporate youth in the design and implementation process by calling on their experience and technical knowledge in such fields as economic empowerment, education, transparency and governance, and health. Not only will this channel youth energy into community‐building and their own personal growth, it will also breathe new life into the work that we do by dispelling old assumptions and continually driving new approaches. From a youth‐run television station in Malawi, to a performance group raising awareness about sexual abuse in India, youth are leaders in Plan’s global programming. We will look to these and other programs to track effective ways that youth can drive the development process.

2.Review and Revamp Internal Policies
USAID’s Youth in Development Policy encourages organizations to embrace youth in development as a cross‐cutting issue. As such, Plan International USA will take the Policy to heart in our own internal operations. Plan will continue to involve our domestically‐based Youth Advisory Board in organizational decisions. We will rely more heavily on our Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) members to inspire awareness raising efforts on global issues among their peers here in the US.
Through the Because I am a Girl Campaign, Plan will continue to highlight the need for gender equality, as young women and girls face additional societal barriers. Plan will also increase efforts to measure youth involvement and youth‐led impact, involving youth in the monitoring and evaluation processes and in improving the evidence base.

3.Engage in Sharing and Learning
With the Youth in Development Policy, Plan is challenged to both share and learn from examples of what works to engage youth. In order to assure the greatest return on investment with limited resources, the youth community must be committed to communicating best practices and forming a community of learning. With this new focus on youth, we are accountable to not only our donors and partners, but especially to youth around the world. We need to work together to deliver the most responsible, impactful, innovative, and youth‐led programming possible. Only together as a united force can we adequately reach the scale necessary to meet the demands of the global youth population.

As a community, we won’t have the answers on how best to engage youth overnight. But with the launch of the Youth in Development Policy, we now have a call to action on behalf of the world’s youth. Plan International USA and the AIYD members are honored to have USAID’s support with our ongoing youth programming. Going forward, we will delegate more trust and authority to our youth partners. We also hope to engage with new youth champions, inspired by youth’s heightened profile within USAID. Congratulations to USAID on this momentous occasion‐ now it’s time for development actors and youth around the world to put the policy into motion!

About Plan International USA: Plan International works in more than 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children by developing long‐term sustainable solutions. Founded in 1937, Plan’s vision is of a world in which all children realize their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity. In addition, Plan International USA engages youth at an individual level through its Youth Engagement and Action (YEA) program, which involves a network of students and youth, as well as teachers and adult allies, in taking action on global issues. YEA’s mission is to build a global, youth‐led grassroots movement to help end the cycle of poverty for children and communities. YEA facilitates engagement through group meetings, school curriculum development, and advocacy reinforcing Plan’s global community development work. Within the United States, programs include educational outreach initiatives, organized retreats, and other special events and activities for youth participation, designed to help young people develop an understanding of the challenges faced by youth in the developing world.

USAID’s Policy for Youth in Development: A Timely Opportunity to Rethink Rural and Agricultural Programming

We applaud USAID’s new Youth Policy for recognizing the central role that youth should play in development strategies. Turning this policy into action at the mission and programmatic level is our next challenge.  U.S. Government’s Feed the Future and rural development initiatives in particular should consider how youth can be better integrated into strategies and specific program design.

A youth participating in a radio program sponsored by USAID. Photo Credit: USAID

We understand that changing processes in ongoing or future programs will not be an easy feat. However, there are concrete steps that USAID can take with its partners to implement this policy at the mission level:

1. Clarify the role of youth in the Feed the Future initiative, we observe that missions have lacked clear guidance about the level of importance and timing of youth integration, which has led to contradictory messages to implementing partners. For example, should programs that focus on the commercialization of agriculture include youth immediately or as a longer term goal? How important is integrating youth in comparison to other programmatic outputs? Clarifying these issues will help missions and implementers to address youth issues, while meeting other key objectives.

2. Develop meaningful evaluation parameters. Current programs often set arbitrary targets around youth integration; with little guidance in terms of how to achieve those. Specific numerical targets (e.g. 30% youth beneficiaries) are a start. Further work is necessary to develop indicators that can disaggregate youth between different cohorts and represent meaningful participation, complemented by guidance for how missions will establish appropriate targets.

3. Share good practices about integrating and engaging youth. Implementers are learning how to change the attitudes of youth toward agriculture, as well as the attitudes of other agricultural value chain actors toward youth; when and how to engage young farmers at the group level vs. when they should be targeted with interventions at the individual level as entrepreneurs; and to engage lead firms on strategies for incorporating youth in their supply chains. The policy tells us “why” youth are important in development, exchanging good practices in these areas among partners and mission staff will move us all further towards answering “how” we can do so effectively.

4. Consider broader issues with respect to youth as they relate to agriculture. There are often trade‐offs associated with encouraging youth to integrate more fully into the agricultural sector.

How do Missions strike a balance between presenting agriculture as a legitimate career choice for young people; and recognizing that there might be other, more profitable opportunities either via other rural livelihoods or by migrating to an urban area?

Should the stemming of rural‐urban migration be a project goal; or should youth be encouraged to move freely in search of economic networks that better serve their needs?

Engaging youth in agriculture and rural markets presents both a critical challenge and important opportunity for USAID. The Youth policy represents an important step in recognizing this challenge; we now look forward to working with USAID and its missions to meet it.

Making Cents International invites all USAID partners and other stakeholders to connect and exchange best practices, research, tools and engage in frank discussion about knowledge gaps at the 7th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference in Washington DC September 1 – 12, 2013. Special spotlight on linking rural youth to markets, www.YouthEconomicOpportunities.org.

About Making Cents International: A member of the Alliance for International Youth Development (AIYD), Making Cents International is an innovative DC‐based social enterprise that offers technical assistance and develops global platforms for leaders to connect and exchange information on issue of youth employment, supporting the world’s young people realize their potential. They maintain www.YouthEconomicOpportunities.org – the leading portal on this topic. – and convene the annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference which next takes place in Washington D.C from September 10 to 12th 2013, with a spotlight on Linking Rural Youth to Markets. All are invited to share their experience and participate.

USAID’s New Youth Policy Is Timely and Urgent: Here’s Why

Originally featured on The Huffington Post

New policies and procedures are announced nearly every day in Washington, D.C., often with little notice, and sometimes, deservedly so. However, a new youth policy just released by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deserves not only our attention, but real applause. For the first time, it lays out specific strategies and guiding principles for how we, as a country, ought to invest in the world’s young people over the coming years. That’s important for all of us. Here’s why.

Today, half the world’s population, nearly three billion people, are under the age of 25, and the vast majority of them struggle every day, often against terrible odds, to stay in school, find a job and have a voice in society. Yet we know that when young people have the skills and opportunities to contribute to the economic, political, and civic life of their communities, they become their country’s and the world’s greatest assets. This potential demographic dividend of today’s youth population, the momentous events of the “Arab Spring” over the past year, and ongoing challenges of poverty, unemployment, and conflict, make this new youth policy both timely and urgently needed.

USAID, working with the NGO community, has been supporting youth development for decades — and having a real impact on young people and their communities worldwide. The International Youth Foundation has been among USAID’s many partners, working together over the years to expand job and civic engagement efforts in dozens of countries worldwide, including major multi-year initiatives currently being implemented in Jordan, Palestine, the Caribbean, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Uganda and Mozambique. This new release, entitled “Policy on Youth in Development, “builds on these years of experience in the field and aims to strengthen our collective efforts. In the words of USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, we need to pursue “smarter, more innovative and evidence-based approaches to empowering youth in development.”

As the head of a global organization that for more than 20 years has worked with our locally rooted civil society partners in 70 plus countries to expand work, learning, and citizenship opportunities for today’s young people, I applaud USAID’s new policy for many reasons.

For those of us in the youth development field, this policy provides a strong framework and a set of overreaching goals within which to pursue and evaluate our efforts on the ground. The policy wisely promotes a holistic approach to youth development as young people make the often difficult transition to adulthood, yet recognizes overlapping links with childhood interventions such as health, protection, and education. It underscores the need to strengthen youth programming in areas such as employment and citizenship while also integrating youth issues across other agency initiatives and operations. I don’t believe the agency needs to change its focus on economic growth, democracy and governance, and post conflict situations. In fact, the new policy will help USAID address these challenges better and more sustainably given that 35 percent of the population of most developing countries is in the 15-29 age group.

I frequently advocate that ensuring young people can find decent jobs or create their own livelihoods through entrepreneurship gives societies a 50-year “return on investment.” Those who can work their way out of poverty will gain the dignity and self confidence to be more actively engaged in their communities. As a result, they will contribute to society, both economically and civically, for decades to come, and their children will be far more likely to succeed in school and in the job market. Policy on Youth in Development buttresses this argument, by making young people’s ability to get a job and support their families a critical piece in USAID’s larger goal of boosting economic growth and reaching those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. Our foundation’s programs focus on expanding opportunities for this same under-served population. Put into practice, this strategy can turn the demographic “bulge” into a meaningful demographic “dividend.”

One of the greatest challenges we face in the NGO community is how to scale up effective and tested programs so we can reach and benefit millions more young people. USAID’s youth policy comes out strongly in support of building public-private partnerships to leverage greater resources to support such expansions. Equally importantly, it presses us all to increase our knowledge and evidence base by implementing rigorous evaluations – so that scaled up programs are built on best practices and metrics-based evidence and will thus have a real and lasting impact on both lives and public policy.

Most importantly, USAID’s youth policy reflects an overarching belief that young people are not simply program beneficiaries but extraordinarily valuable assets in society. This philosophy, that young people, indeed, must be our partners in development, lies at the very heart of our work at the International Youth Foundation. In that spirit, I applaud USAID for engaging 150 youth from 15 countries in the writing and developing of this policy and in providing important feedback. It is a valuable model of cooperation that I hope more policy makers, donors, and implementers will be emboldened to follow in the future.

To create a more prosperous and peaceful society, we need young people who are prepared for jobs in the 21st century, who have the resilience to keep going when times are tough, who feel free to voice their opinions and ideas, and who can lead positive change in their communities. With a renewed sense of urgency, we look forward to continuing our work with USAID and other public agencies and private sector donors to realize this vision for tomorrow.

 

New USAID Policy on Youth in Development

Those of us who are parents know that the sun and moon rise around our children. To those of us who are in development, we know that young people have the strength to move the sun and the moon… and sometimes more.

USAID recently launched the Agency’s first Policy on Youth in Development to make young people a driving force in our development. I am excited about this, because it creates a specific place for youth as partners and leaders in global development—and this, in turn, can help us achieve sustainable results for their families, communities and countries.

Young people must be front and center in development throughout the world. They are critical to alleviating poverty with economic growth, fighting disease and defending human rights. They are also an essential part of promoting peaceful democracy, protecting the planet and fostering innovation. Think back to the Arab Spring and more often than not, it was the determination of youth that inspired us.

I saw this first hand as Mission Director in Colombia, where engaging and preparing young people was a central tenet of our approach to citizen security. Whether it was retraining youth after demobilizing them from an illegally armed group or supporting the internally displaced, youth were critical to achieving larger development objectives.

The new Youth in Development Policy(PDF) strengthens our commitment to elevate the voices and power of young people in all aspects of our work. They will be a central component in all development planning.

I recall Secretary Clinton’s recent words, “With more than half the global population under the age of 30 years and with the vast majority residing in developing countries, young people are at the heart of today’s great strategic opportunities and challenges.”

I am heartened by USAID’s new Youth Policy because it takes these sentiments one step further and makes young people a driving force in our development throughout the world.

Youth in Development joins a series of policies on important issues such as gender equality, climate change, and violent extremism that USAID has recently created to direct us and our missions’ focus in the strategic planning process. 

Live @ UNGA – Day Three

To see the online conversation at UNGA, visit USAID’s Storify Feed

Day three at UNGA included two marquee events spotlighting progress to date on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.  We also announced a new partnership to expand access to contraception for 27 million women and girls in low-income countries.

With only 15 months until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline, USAID partnered on an event with the UK Department for International Development for a second year to draw attention to the importance of the global community working together to reach the MDG targets by 2015.  The event brought to life the enormous development advancements made on the way to achieving the MDGs and featured innovators from across the development community sharing transformative programs and policies.  The world has met two MDG targets ahead of the 2015 deadline – poverty has been cut by 50 percent globally and the proportion of people with no safe drinking water has been cut in half.

That afternoon, Administrator Shah co-hosted with other G8 members the New Alliance: Progress and the Way Forward event.  President Obama announced the New Alliance for Food Security & Nutrition earlier this year, in which G8 nations, African partner countries and private sector partners aim to help lift 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty in the next 10 years by supporting agricultural development. Initially launched in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, at the event, representatives from the New Alliance, G8 countries and the private sector announced the expansion to other African countries, including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mozambique.

Finally, Administrator Shah took part in the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. Prior to the meeting, Dr. Shah joined the Commission Co-Chairs, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, alongside former President Bill Clinton, to launch a new partnership to make a safe, effective, long-acting, reversible method of contraception available to more than 27 million women in the world’s poorest nations. Under the agreement, Bayer is reducing by more than half the current 18 USD price of its long-acting, reversible method of contraception, Jadelle, in return for a commitment to assure funding for at least 27 million contraceptive devices over the next six years.  Dr. Shah stated, “The US Agency for International Development is proud to have funded the development of this life-saving product. Today is a major step forward to making this product more accessible to millions of women, empowering them with the ability to make decisions about their health and family.”

As always, follow us live on Twitter to keep up with the latest developments!

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