To the more than 80 Filipino Americans from the metro Washington, D.C., area and beyond who came to speak with me on Friday, August 19, thank you for doing so much to help our kababayan (our fellow Filipinos).  It was a pleasure to hear about your efforts as dedicated Filipino American leaders and activists from prominent charitable, social, and cultural organizations.

USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele met with Filipino American leaders and activists to discuss how USAID could complement their development projects in the Philippines. Photo Credit: Hope Bryer/USAID

Our projects span several areas, such as education, economic growth, and health. But one of our biggest efforts is working together with the Government of the Philippines to tackle the overarching challenges to improving social and economic conditions here, including corruption and governance.  We are also focusing on a new initiative, the Partnership for Growth , a joint effort with the Government of the Philippines and the U.S. Government to promote broad-based economic growth in emerging markets such as the Philippines.

What was especially heartwarming was seeing community members connect directly with each other, and with USAID, on finding solutions.  One participant, a pediatrician working locally, apologized to us that she had to rush back to the hospital for her evening rounds.  But in the short time she was there, she told me about her efforts to stop tuberculosis in the Philippines, which sadly remains a critical health issue here, and exchanged contact information with me and several other participants also working on TB.

Let’s see how our efforts can complement each other to improve the lives of the people of the Philippines.