Weekly Briefing (1/9/2012 – 1/13/2012)

January 11: Foreign Policy published a Letter to the Editor written by Ambassador Ertharin Cousin and USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg. The letter provided clarification describing U.S. food aid and highlighted the fact that aid is distributed after careful analysis and in a competitive manner. Furthermore, the letter states that USAID now has a program that uses cash, vouchers, and local and regional food purchases to ensure “we reach people more quickly with the right type of response based on local conditions.”

January 11: In The Miami Herald, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah published an op-ed citing the accomplishments in Haiti, two years after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. “Over half of the 10 million tons of rubble has been cleared from Port-au-Prince’s streets, more people have access to clean water today than before the earthquake, and collective efforts have mitigated the outbreak of cholera that killed thousands in the country.” In addition to rescue efforts, the U.S. is also working to rebuild the country. “With the leadership of Secretary Clinton, we are trying to harness the transformative power of science, technology and innovation to accelerate economic progress and improve lives throughout Haiti.”

January 11: OhMyGov! published a story on the Famine, War, Drought (FWD) Campaign being led by USAID. The article highlighted the important role social media has played in the campaign, as well as the dramatic increase USAID has experienced in Facebook followers. According to OhMyGov’s media analysis platform, during the week of December 22-29, USAID’s Facebook page experienced a 27% growth in total Facebook fans, amassing nearly 12,000 new fans in just seven days.

January 12: On NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More programs, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg were interviewed to discuss the two-year anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake. In both interviews, Administrator Shah and Steinberg stated that the U.S. remains committed to supporting and investing in Haiti.

January 12: Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, published an op-ed in The Huffington Post discussing the progress being made in Haiti. In addition to playing a critical role in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, “the United States is helping Haiti create jobs, boost agricultural production, more effectively deliver services, expand access to health care and provide higher quality education to its youth.”