USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for USAID

Photo of the Week: Nutrient-Rich Crops for Kenyan Children

During the first week of June, IMPACT will be highlighting the role of nutrition in Global Health

In Kenya, the U.S. Government, through Feed the Future, is working with whole families to improve food security and childhood nutrition by helping farmers introduce nutrient-rich crops to their farms and teaching families new recipes full of vitamins and minerals needed to ensure healthy growth. Photo Credit: Fintrac Inc.

Learn more about USAID’s efforts to improve nutrition.

Follow USAID (@USAID) on Twitter and use #GHMatters to join in the conversation about global health issues including nutrition.

Proof that the U.S. Government, NGOs and Activists are Working Together on Nutrition

During the first week of June, IMPACT will be highlighting the role of nutrition in Global Health

This originally appeared on the ONE Campaign blog

This morning, USAID Administrator Raj Shah joined a Google+ Hangout – a group video chat – with ONE’s U.S. Executive Director Tom Hart and a group of ONE members and agriculture policy experts from Feed the Future, GAIN, Thousand Days and Future Fortified.

USAID Administrator Raj Shah with ONE’s U.S. Executive Director Tom Hart. Photo credit: ONE.org

Tom gave Administrator Shah a fat stack of 100,336 petition signatures from ONE members across the US. Their ask? End chronic malnutrition for 25 million children by 2016. Administrator Shah heard them loud and clear, with two ONE members, George Houk and Vanessa Avila, as witnesses and representatives of our U.S. membership.

One of the highlights of the Hangout was hearing Administrator Shah talk about how global food security is in fact in America’s best interest.

“We know that this [nutrition] is an issue that touches on the economic prospects of countries that will be our trading partners in the future, it touches on our national security in places ranging from Afghanistan to Somalia, where far too many children die of core underlying malnutrition, and most importantly, we know it just touches on our moral consciouness because we cannot live in 2013 knowing that hundreds of millions of children go hungry and that that hunger prevents them from learning in school, from fighting disease, from surviving a simple bout of diarrhea or pneumonia and of building a better future for themselves,” he said.

After handing off the petition signatures, the conversation turned to our agriculture policy experts, Tjada McKenna, Deputy Coordinator for Development at Feed the Future, and Lucy Sullivan, Executive Director of 1,000 Days, and guest foodie activist, Chef Candice Kumai, a nutrition champion for Future Fortified. Adrianna Logalbo from GAIN moderated a lively discussion on the importance of agriculture, some of the successes and progress the world has made on nutrition, and how everyday citizens can get more involved.

Watch the full Google+ Hangout here:

Administrator Shah will be off to the pre-G8 Summit event, Nutrition for Growth, next week, with your petition signatures in hand. Stay tuned to ONE.org for updates on this important and critical event.

Learn more about USAID’s work on improving nutrition

Follow USAID (@USAID) on Twitter and use #GHMatters to join in the conversation.

Video of the Week: The Powerful Women of Kenya Fortified

During the first week of June, IMPACT will be highlighting the role of nutrition in Global Health

In 2012, as East Africa recovered from record drought, we called on the Future Fortified community to help invest in good nutrition in Kenya. And thanks to them, we achieved our goal and right now we are reaching over 20,000 children in southern Kenya with home nutrition packets – small packets filled with the essential nutrients children need to live, grow and learn.

Kenya Fortified is possible because of an incredible network of powerful, local women — community leaders, health workers and mothers — working together to help nourish the future.

Follow USAID (@USAID) on Twitter and use #GHMatters to join in the conversation.

This is not an endorsement of Future Fortified and individuals must make their own choices. 

Women Deliver: Bold Visions for Women’s and Girls’ Health and Rights

Robert Clay serves as deputy assistant to the administrator for Global Health. Photo credit: Robert Clay

I’ve just returned from an inspiring and thought-provoking week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where leaders and advocates from 149 countries gathered for the Women Deliver 2013 conference. My USAID colleagues and I were proud to participate in one of the decade’s largest conferences on the health and rights of girls and women.

One of the most memorable parts of the week for me was speaking on a panel at the Ministerial Forum with Yemurai Nyoni, a youth representative from Zimbabwe. He was a strong and articulate voice for youth and urged that young people be included in program design and implementation of youth-focused programs. It’s people like Yemurai that give us hope for the future. And with 1.8 billion youth in the world today, it is vital that we listen and include them in our development work.

Women Deliver served as a pivotal opportunity to renew commitment to meeting the needs of girls and women across the globe. USAID places women and girls at the center of our global health programs because we know improving women’s and girl’s health is critically important to almost every area of human development and progress. We’re helping countries acquire the resources they need to improve health outcomes through strengthened health systems and integrated services. This week in Kuala Lumpur I discussed the bold visions we have for our future to end preventable child and maternal deaths and create an AIDS Free Generation. Bold visions inspire action, and action paves the way for progress.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen wonderful success in reductions of maternal and child deaths and improved access to family planning. But despite all the good we have done, millions around the globe still do not receive the reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services they need. Every year 6.9 million children die of preventable causes and 287,000 women lose their life in pregnancy or childbirth. Some 222 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern method of family planning.  Closing this access gap to family planning information and services would reduce maternal deaths by 30 percent and could save the lives of 1.6 million children annually (PDF).

After a week of renewed commitments, sharing lessons learned, and listening to those pioneering the way forward on women’s health and rights, I feel inspired to do my part in leading USAID to achieve our global health goals and improve women’s and girl’s health and rights across the globe.

Learn more about USAID’s work at Women Deliver and share with us your thoughts below.

Follow USAID for Global Health (@USAIDGH) on Twitter and use #GHMatters to join in the conversation.

Healthy People, Healthy Environment: Family Planning and Integrated Development in Tanzania

Filmed in the northern coastal region of Tanzania, the short documentary “Healthy People, Healthy Environment showcases an innovative approach to development that combines efforts to conserve natural resources with reproductive health services and sustainable economic opportunities, such as clean cook stoves and seaweed farming.

In the film, three women from the Pangani and Bagamoyo districts – Rukia, Mahija, and Fidea – show how integrated population, health, and environment (PHE) projects empower them to help their families, their communities, and their environment.  Family planning and women’s empowerment are key to this long-term, holistic approach to the problems of environmental degradation and food insecurity.

“When you have a large number of children, there are two consequences: children can get malnutrition as a result of inadequate nutrition in their diet because the family is large. Second, when there are many children, the environment can be affected because it might be necessary for you to cut down trees in order to feed the children,” says Fidea Dastani Haule, a peer educator in Pangani district of Tanzania. “Therefore, the main thing we encourage is that a family plans their number of children so that you can adequately feed, clothe, and educate them.”

Watch Healthy People, Healthy Environment: Integrated Development in Tanzania here.

About the Film

“Healthy People, Healthy Environment” was produced by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program with support from USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health. To request a screening, please contact Sean Peoples at sean.peoples@wilsoncenter.org

Follow USAID for Global Health (@USAIDGH) on Twitter and use #GHMatters to join in the conversation.

A Year of Progress under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

One year ago, on the eve of the 2012 G8 Summit, President Obama announced the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, ushering in a new phase of global investment in food security and nutrition.

A joint initiative launched under the United States’ G8 Presidency, the New Alliance builds on progress and commitments – both to agriculture and a modern approach to development –made in 2009 at the L’Aquila G8 Summit. It calls on African leaders, the private sector and development partners to accelerate responsible investment in African agriculture and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022.

As the President’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future serves as the principal vehicle through which the United States contributes to the New Alliance. In line with the foundational principles of Feed the Future, the New Alliance supports country-driven approaches to development with input and collaboration from local organizations and leaders to ensure lasting results for smallholder farmers and their families,

In the first year of implementation after its launch, the New Alliance has looked to Feed the Future’s innovative, comprehensive approach as a model for fostering transparency and accountability, increasing private investment, expanding access to new technologies, and fostering a supporting policy environment. We are confident that with the collective commitments of our partners, we will carry the momentum forward on these goals.

We know from experience that the path to sustainable global food security across the entire continuum from farm to market to table can’t be forged by governments alone. That’s why the New Alliance matches effective government policy of African governments with targeted investment from the private sector and the commitment of donors and other development partners to catalyze and support Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth.

Photo Credit: Millennium Challenge Corporation

A year later, we can see that this consistent, coordinated effort to reverse a long history of underinvestment in African agriculture is paying off in a variety of important ways. As noted by USAID Administrator Shah in a speech last week at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ annual Global Food Security Symposium, the New Alliance has grown into a $3.75 billion public-private partnership representing commitments from more than 70 global and local companies to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers through essential actions like expanding seed production and distribution, and developing infrastructure. A recent Grow Africa report estimates that over $60 million has already been invested over the past year to help link smallholder farmers to commercial markets, with some 800,000 people reached through training, services and market access.

Meanwhile, six African nations have been making critical, market-oriented policy reforms to foster the right conditions for investment and growth in the agriculture sector. Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique have all developed Cooperation Frameworks that solidify their participation in the New Alliance and align with their Country Investment Plans in support of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program.

These joint endeavors have accomplished a lot in a relatively short period of time. At its launch in 2012, the New Alliance supported a package of “Enabling Actions” designed to spur agricultural growth and incentivize greater private sector investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on smallholder farmers and women. In 2013, under the leadership of the United States, we’ve moved many of these Enabling Actions forward, including:

  • Launching the Agriculture Fast Track Fund, a multi-donor trust fund housed in the African Development Bank that will increase the number of investment-ready agricultural infrastructure projects in New Alliance countries by defraying front-end project development costs the private sector may not shoulder alone
  • Convening an international conference in partnership with G8 countries and the World Bank on Open Data for Agriculture, in order to develop options for establishing a global platform to share reliable agricultural and related information relevant to African countries, farmers, researchers and policy makers
  • Launching a Technology Platform to assess the availability of improved agricultural technologies, identify constraints to their adoption, and create a roadmap to accelerate the adoption of these technologies among farmers

We’ve also seen progress on the ground in our New Alliance countries. In Ethiopia, DuPont recently opened a state-of-the-art seed processing plant and warehouse that will help 35,000 smallholder maize farmers increase their yields by as much as 50 percent. Ghana Nuts, once a recipient of U.S. Government development assistance, is now a leading agro processor and signed a letter of intent under the New Alliance to promote soya and expand maize procurement and processing in Ghana. The Government of Tanzania’s decision this year to end a longstanding export ban on maize, rice and other crops will help rural farmers collect fair prices for their harvests. And just eight months after officially joining the New Alliance last September on the margins of the 2012 UN General Assembly, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso have also begun implementing key policy reforms to improve efficiency and transparency, and boost incomes of smallholders employed throughout the agriculture sector in their countries.

While these are just a few examples of the strides made since last May, we also know that there are still challenges ahead to ensure that the New Alliance makes a tangible and lasting contribution to poverty reduction and food security and nutrition across Sub-Saharan Africa. In June, the United Kingdom will host the 2013 G8 Summit, continuing the momentum of this effort with a major “Nutrition for Growth” event that will call on global leaders to make the commitments needed to prevent undernutrition. More African countries are expected to join the New Alliance this year as well.

By continuing to build our evidence base so we can focus on what works, and by supporting access and adoption of tools and technologies for smallholder farmers, we can spur transformative, agriculture-based growth and advance improved nutrition, particularly in the first 1,000 daysbetween pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. Through Feed the Future, and together with our partners from African and donor governments, the private sector, civil society, and the research community, the U.S. Government will continue to be a strong advocate for the New Alliance as we strive to meet President Obama’s challenge to end extreme poverty in the next two decades.

Read the May edition of the Feed the Future newsletter to learn more about New Alliance progress. For even more about progress on global food security and nutrition, stay tuned for the second Feed the Future progress report, coming this summer. 

 

Source: Feed the Future Blog

Interview with NASA Astronaut Colonel Ronald J. Garan: Working with USAID to bring Global Development to the Next Frontier

Beginning June 2013, USAID will begin a Q&A interview series on our Impact Blog. The first in this series is an interview with NASA astronaut, Colonel Ronald J. Garan, who is temporarily assigned to USAID in the Office of Science and Technology.

In this interview, Colonel Garan discusses his journey to becoming a NASA astronaut and his interest in international development.

Astronaut Ronald J. Garan Photo Credit: NASA

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be an astronaut?

A: On July 20, 1969. That was the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I was seven. I was only a little kid, so I never would have thought to put it this way, but even then I knew that this meant something big. Humanity had changed. Something exciting was happening, and I wanted to be a part of it. So after serving in the Air Force as a test pilot, I finally realized my dream and became a part of the space program in 2000.

Q: What got you interested in international development?

A: Well, I’ve had two passions in my career. First, I wanted to fly in space and contribute to the space program. And secondly, I’ve always been passionate about making life on Earth a little bit better. When you’re looking at the earth from space, it re-shapes your perspective. You can’t help but appreciate the sobering contradiction between the beauty of our planet and the unfortunate realities of life on our planet for a significant number of its inhabitants. I wanted to make a difference.

Q: So now that you are on detail with USAID, what exactly are you working on?

A: As I became more involved with international development and humanitarian work, I saw firsthand just how much duplication of effort exists in the field. We could make development progress much more rapidly by collaborating more efficiently. So I spend a lot of time and energy working on a universal open source platform for collaboration. My dream is to be a part of a collaborative platform that allows international organizations, governments, NGOs, socially-oriented businesses, and entrepreneurs to all collaborate together, speaking the same “language” to achieve common development goals.

Q: What do you see as the most promising new technology in the international development field?

A: Without question, the exponential increase in the ability of computers to solve problems. I can’t say what form that will take in fifty years, or even five years. But the rapid and low-cost diffusion of computing power will ultimately have profound impacts on global health, food security, conflict mitigation… few aspects of USAID’s work will remain untouched by these profound changes.

DRC Making Great Strides in Child Survival

This week, the Congolese Government’s National Steering Committee for Health  is meeting to officially launch the National A Promised Renewed (APR)’s acceleration framework to reduce infant and maternal mortality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Following the Minister of Health’s participation in the Child Survival Call to Action in Washington June 2012 and at the African Leadership for Child Survival in Addis Ababa in January 2013, the DRC Government has made great strides in developing a strategic country-specific plan to move towards accelerated reduction of maternal and child deaths. This Action Framework aims to reduce under-five mortality by 48 percent and maternal mortality by 31 percent, saving the lives of 430,000 children and 7,900 mothers by 2015.

Part of the action framework includes a national scorecard which will serve as a monitoring tool to better track successes at the provincial level.

"Birth - Growth - Progress" for every woman and child. Photo Credit: UNICEF

USAID’s current health portfolio directly aligns with the objectives of the Ministry of Health’s APR plan and efforts to intensify the reduction of maternal and child deaths. USAID has worked with the DRC to improve access, availability and quality of health services in 80 health zones through the Integrated Health Project, led by Management Sciences for Health. This $144 million five-year project spans the spectrum of essential health services and provides support to the government’s Health Systems Strengthening Strategy (SRSS) and the National Health Development Plan (PNDS).

In support of A Promise Renewed, USAID and UNICEF are collaborating to promote essential maternal and child health services through a package of high impact interventions in 27 health zones, where access to health centers faces the greatest barriers and the risk of child mortality is highest. A thorough LiST (Lives Saved Tool) analysis identified these interventions, which will target children under five and pregnant women with vouchers that subsidize care. Some of the key activities will focus on pre-packaged family kits that will be distributed to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections and to provide basic emergency obstetrical and neonatal care in health centers. If this approach is successful, there are plans to scale it up nationwide, impacting those most at risk throughout the DRC.

This is an exciting time for the DRC, and the USAID Mission here in Kinshasa is committed to working closely with UNICEF to support the DRC Ministry of Health on implementing the country plan to drastically improve child survival.

How Rap Music is Saving Lives in the Caribbean

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26 through June 1, following the release of the official forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. This week, USAID is highlighting the work we do to help disaster-prone countries prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

The Caribbean is one of the most hurricane-prone regions in the world, killing people every year and making communities more vulnerable with each and every storm that hits. But it wasn’t a hurricane that put Yen Carlos Reyes at risk.

Reyes’s father dealt drugs in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic and rival gang members routinely raided his home. His mother abandoned Reyes, leaving him to bounce around from one relative’s house to another. At age 17, he was a street fighter in the Dominican Republic, headed for jail—or worse.

Members of the St. Patrick’s Rangers, a voluntary youth club in Jamaica, engage in a map reading session through a disaster preparedness program led by USAID’s partner, Catholic Relief Services. Photo credit: Catholic Relief Services

Reyes’ story is one that resonates with many youth across the islands, where a lack of opportunities leads teens to partake in the crime and violence that plagues their communities. But now, in some of the toughest neighborhoods across the Caribbean, the energy and creativity of at-risk youth are being channeled to help them make the leap from neighborhood trouble-maker to community life saver.

The Youth Emergency Action Committees (YEAC) program led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with support from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is one that transforms teens like Reyes into disaster-preparedness leaders. It teaches young people how to plan for and respond to hurricanes, administer first aid, map out evacuation routes and set up emergency shelters. In dedicating himself to the program, Reyes just may have saved his own life.

Started in September 2009 in four of the most hazard-prone and marginalized neighborhoods of inner-city Kingston, Jamaica, CRS began engaging youth through an ‘edutainment’ approach—education plus entertainment. Teens write music, create skits, and perform them to raise community awareness about disaster preparedness while simultaneously learning life-saving skills. Rap music, in particular, has been a big hit, with the group  coming up with lyrics such as, “Send in the broom and the shovel. Don’t bring the violence, please leave the trouble.” Because the program was so successful, CRS expanded it to the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia and Grenada.

Reyes says his priorities shifted and his life changed when he joined YEAC. With his teammates, Reyes helped build new homes and rehabilitate old ones for families whose houses were not able to withstand natural disasters. When Hurricane Sandy hit Puerto Plata, Reyes and the others on his committee—named El Esquadron, or the Squadron—were ready, helping to relocate 80 families to emergency shelter and implementing a disaster response plan for their community. Reyes says he has a whole new set of goals including going back to school, thanks to the confidence YEAC has given him.

“Little by little, I started to see that I had value and that the other kids weren’t judging me. The work we did within the communities made me feel like I had something to offer and I started to see that my neighbors were looking at me different too,” said Reyes.

Watch this video for an in-depth look on how the program made a positive impact in Jamaica.

 

Helping Others During Hurricane Season

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26 through June 1, following the release of the official forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. This week, USAID is highlighting the work we do to help disaster-prone countries prepare for and recover from hurricanes.

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1 and is expected to be very active. Preparing your family and home for hurricanes is important.  But what about preparing yourself to assist others–do you know how to effectively help those who are impacted by disasters? The best way to help is easier than you think and works 100% of the time.

The simplest disaster readiness activity is also the most cost-effective and the least time-consuming for donors–monetary donations to credible relief organizations working on-site. Each disaster is unique and affects people and infrastructure differently. Monetary donations enable relief workers to respond to evolving needs as those affected migrate to safety, resettle, and eventually rebuild their communities.

Unsolicited donations delivered to Samoa after the 2009 earthquake and tsunami took up space needed by relief organizations to sort and deliver vital emergency supplies. Photo credit: Richard Muffley, USAID CIDI

Most people react to disaster events overseas by collecting clothing, canned food and bottled water for survivors. While well-intended, many of these items actually remain in the U.S. because of the high fees and cost required to transport the donated goods to a foreign country.  Others items are turned away at their destination because they are not tied to a response organization or are deemed inappropriate. For example, thirty-four countries have banned the importation of used clothing and may decline collections that arrive. In reality, needs of disaster-affected people are carefully assessed by relief professionals on-site, who provide the right goods in sufficient quantities at the right time.

USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information recently rolled out a Greatest Good Donations Calculator, created by the Colleges of Engineering and Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island. This calculator illustrates the costs of sending unsolicited donations. For example, let’s say someone purchases a teddy bear for $19.99 in Washington, D.C., intending to send it to Apia, the capital city of Samoa. According to the calculator, the total cost to send this bear (including transportation and other fees) would be a whopping $273.43! By contrast, the same amount of money could be used by a relief organization to purchase 54,686 liters of clean water locally, helping more than 27,300 people.

Monetary contributions to established relief agencies in affected areas purchase exactly what survivors need when they need it. They support local merchants and local economies, and ensure that beneficiaries receive supplies that are fresh, familiar, and culturally, nutritionally and environmentally appropriate.

For more information on effective donations, visit USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information.

Page 25 of 94:« First« 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 »Last »