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USAID In the News – August 2-6

On Tuesday, Administrator Shah joined President Obama at the White House for the President’s Town Hall with young African leaders to discuss their vision for Africa for the next 50 years.  USAID programs highlight America’s commitment to supporting the next generation of African leaders.

On Wednesday, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to brief the press on the latest developments in assistance to the victims of flooding in Pakistan. On Thursday, an additional $25 million in assistance was announced – bringing the overall contribution to $35 million.  USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Acting Director Mark Ward and Daniel Feldman in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan spoke with journalists at the start of the State Department’s daily briefing to detail the additional aid.

USAID continued the discussion of the importance of science, technology and innovation in global development in a joint op-ed in the Huffington Post by USAID Administrator Shah and Dr. John P. Holdren, the president’s science and technology advisor.

Ambassador Garvelink spoke at two sessions during the International Food Aid and Development Conference in Kansas City.  His keynote address underscored the U.S. commitment to addressing global hunger and food security, highlighting the whole-of-government approach and goals of Feed the Future.

Telling Our Story

USAID successes are once again being broadcast to the world through the recently revamped USAID Telling Our Story page, and now you can catch the latest and greatest tales right here on the blog. That’s right, Telling Our Story, a site bursting with stories of development success and progress, is up and running. Check out one of the latest stories about conflict resolution in Kenya:

For years, banditry, arms smuggling, and a crisis of national identity have prevented members of the same Ogaden clan from reaching peace along the Kenya/Somalia border, but residents on both sides are now taking the first steps towards collaboration.

Thanks to USAID, the divided clan members have found mutual interests in their desire for a maternity wing, a much needed addition to their community’s dispensary….(more)

This Week at USAID – August 2, 2010

Administrator Shah will join President Obama at the White House for a town hall during the Presidential Young African Leaders Forum.  As a global leader in empowering and engaging youth, USAID works to ensure that young people have access to skills and opportunities to be active and effective citizens who contribute to their country’s overall stability and development.

Ambassador Garvelink, Deputy Coordinator of Feed the Future, will speak at two sessions during the International Food Aid and Development Conference in Kansas City.  His keynote address will underscore the U.S. commitment to addressing global hunger and food security, highlighting the whole-of-government approach and goals of Feed the Future.

Interns Meet Administrator Shah

Interns from the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau with Administrator Shah.

Submitted by Michael J. Del Moro, FrontLines Intern, USAID

The buzz about a fresh, youthful energy infiltrating the agency was at full pitch today when a group of student interns got the chance to meet Administrator Shah in an informal setting. For months, young-ins like me had experienced the abundance of energy and passion for success at USAID and have now found the source: a sharp, well-spoken leader with the ability to change the way people think about development.

Forty of my colleagues and I had the privilege of taking pictures with Dr. Shah and listening to his plea for us to accept that the big issues of world hunger, disease and lawlessness are not indefinite tragedies, but solvable problems.

The Administrator spoke off-the-cuff for about 10 minutes before fielding questions ranging from how he got to where he is to how he intends to improve Agency deficiencies like understaffing.

Interns walked away with a photo with a VIP and insight into USAID leadership. I hope the Administrator walked away excited about our enthusiasm. We are proud to be the next generation of development professionals.

This Week at USAID – July 26, 2010

Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Management Drew Luten will testify before the Commission on Wartime Contracting on Subcontracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Administrator Shah and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke will appear before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations for an oversight hearing on corruption in Afghanistan.

Chief Innovation Officer Maura O’Neill will participate in a briefing entitled: Innovation to Catalyze Development: Leveraging Research in Foreign Assistance, which is organized by the Global Health Technologies Coalition and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.

Administrator Shah will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere about: The Crisis in Haiti: Are We Moving Fast Enough?  He will also brief the Congressional Black Caucus about efforts in Haiti.

How to describe the International AIDS Conference in Vienna?

Submitted by Robert Clay, Director of USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS

Robert Clay briefs VOA's global broadcast community. Photo by VOA

Over 20,000 people (a small city) all focusing on one of the greatest development problems of our time. The first thing that strikes you is the diversity of those at the meeting – from the famous (Bill Clinton and Bill Gates) to academia (professors and students) to civil society and advocates to multilateral and bilateral donors to pharma. There are talks, seminars, posters, demonstrations (even in the plenary sessions), exhibits, condom demonstrations, cultural events, marches, press conferences, and lots of reports and products to take home. At times, it reminds me of a village scene in India where I lived for 5 years – crowded, colorful, loud, unpredictable, widely diverse, and even wonderful food smells.

There is definitely a buzz in the air. The results of the USAID-funded CAPRISA 004 trial results has excited everyone – standing ovations and tears from those who have waited so long for good microbicide news. But also excitement at seeing other results since the last meeting two years ago and hearing insightful analysis on how to overcome barriers. There is personal excitement of seeing old friends and colleagues and making new contacts in this diverse setting.

But concerns are also there. Will the money dry up? Will leaders change negative policies that fuel stigma? Will we be able to stop the number getting infected? These are big issues and everyone here seems consumed in trying to solve these problems.

This has been intensive and on the last day you can see the tired and sleep deprived faces. I don’t think people could do this any longer – especially since so many want to get back to implementing all the new ideas. But after a good rest, I’m sure most will have renewed energy and determination from Vienna. I know I can’t wait to get back to work!

Pic of the Week

Haitian workers are building a USAID-funded irrigation canal. Photo by Herve Jean-Charles.

As Haiti passes six months since the earthquake, men and women are employed in the USAID-funded reconstruction of an irrigation canal that not only provides a source of water for agriculture and livestock, but also a source of income for Haitians.

New Video Debuts on USAID’s Game-Changing Use of Science, Technology & Innovation

Science, technology, and innovation are core to USAID’s work around the globe. This new video lends some fascinating insight into USAID’s efforts in these areas as well as how we can even further unpack their power to leapfrog development hurdles and the game-changing potential of science, technology and innovation.

USAID premiered the below video at the opening session of last week’s “Transforming Development through Science, Technology and Innovation” conference. To read Dr. Shah’s remarks from the event, click here.

Video Credit: Jonathan Shepard/USAID

The President’s Commitment to Fight HIV/AIDS

Cross-posted from The White House Blog.  Originally posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 03:50 PM EDT

In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

First, consider the facts:

As a UNAIDS report documented just days ago, the United States provided 58 percent of all funds worldwide to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries.  Furthermore, while numerous developed countries were cutting back on their support for HIV/AIDS between 2008 and 2009, the United States actually increased its funding by more than 10 percent.  The fact that these increases were done during the worst recession in a generation and a deteriorating fiscal situation speaks volumes about the President’s – and our country’s – commitment to the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Read more on The White House Blog

Resetting for Clean, Efficient Energy in Russia

I am very excited to sign a Protocol of Intent on energy efficiency cooperation between USAID and the Russian Energy Agency. Russian Minister of Energy Sergei Shmatko and Secretary Chu will witness the signing. The Russian Energy Minister is here to take part in the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial, which is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Working under the protocol, USAID will link U.S. and Russian utilities and regulators to share best practices and to exchange lessons learned about smart grids. I am convinced that bringing people together will accelerate development and deployment of clean energy technology. We really need it to fight climate change!

The USAID protocol is part of a larger effort aimed at fulfilling Presidents Obama and Medvedev’s commitment to jointly promote energy efficiency and clean energy. I am so pleased to be able to get this protocol in place little more than two months after I first met with Russian energy officials in Moscow back in May. I am now headed back to Russia to keep this initiative moving forward.

Read the Press Release.

 

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