The Huffington Post featured a piece about the work that USAID is doing to help Jordan deal with a massive influx of Syrian refugees in the country, which is straining local economies, municipal services, and natural resources, particularly in Jordan’s southern region. The USAID Community Engagement Project (CEP) is soliciting local opinions to target initiatives to strengthen communities’ ability to cope the demands that the refugees are creating, and in the process improving life for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees.
The Express Tribune of Pakistan reported on the USAID-backed Training for Pakistan Project, which will offer practical educational opportunities to more than 6,000 Pakistani professionals over the next four years. Training services provided by the initiative will include assistance with program design and implementation, participant recruitment and selection, and monitoring and evaluation. The program will also create a USAID alumni association of participants who can be tapped to discuss the country’s development and share their experiences.
The website Inc. covered USAID’s announcement of its annual Grand Challenge, which makes available $25 million in grants that can be won by innovators to help them develop solutions for this year’s theme, “Securing Water for Food.” This year, USAID is seeking candidates who have discovered ways to improve water efficiency and reuse wastewater, capture and store water, or reduce water salinity. “We think water scarcity is one of the most pressing development challenges of the 21st century,” says Chris Holmes, USAID’s global water coordinator.
Ventures Africa reported that USAID, Western Union, and Nigeria’s Bank of Industry will come together in Lagos for the second Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Live Banking Panel, which will provide the opportunity for the business leaders of more than 100 SMEs to pitch business plans to Nigerian and pan-African banks. The event aims to expand access to financing opportunities for African entrepreneurs and training for capacity development.
The Libya Herald featured a story on USAID’s Libya Diaspora Marketplace Entrepreneurship Competition, which selected three winning business plan submissions to receive a grant from $25,000 to $50,000 to help them bring their plans to fruition. The projects will be monitored and the grants disbursed based on the projects meeting development milestones, and project leaders will be connected with other entrepreneurs to share valuable lessons and best practices. The chosen projects represent the agribusiness, information and communications technology, and transportation sectors.
The Wayne Independent reported on a $5 million USAID grant that will go towards establishing a Feed the Future Lab for Climate-Resilient Beans at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Those researching at the lab will employ new techniques to accelerate common bean breeding programs with the goal of cultivating traits that will increase crop yield under heat and drought stress, which could increase food safety and reduce hunger. Trials of the plants will eventually be conducted in the U.S., Mozambique, Columbia, and Honduras.