USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah

USAID @ UNGA: Harnessing Innovation to Achieve the MDGs

What an amazing week it’s been, with so many people from around the globe gathered in one place, intent on finding ways to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  To do so, we need innovators to dramatically change the way development is done.

Today, at a forum co-hosted with the New York Academy of Sciences, USAID is spotlighting the use of science and technology to solve some of the greatest development problems of our times.  S&T has transformative power and will be key to meeting the MDGs.

Many of the biggest challenges require solutions that cross borders, sectors and disciplines.  It will take all of our insights and creativity to address them in collaboration with partners around the globe.

Facing these shared problems means creating opportunity for people living in extreme poverty:  transforming zones of conflict into zones of opportunity and security;  addressing the reasons why infectious diseases emerge;  strengthening the resilience of nations to adapt to global climatic disruption;  tapping new sources of energy and finding better ways of distributing it;  applying new technologies creatively to traditional development challenges;  narrowing global inequities by expanding markets;  and in the end, giving people the capacity to solve their own problems.

Our S&T Forum stands apart from the standard UN General Assembly event.  Engineers, researchers, and development experts are gathered in one place to demonstrate their work in an interactive science fair featuring innovations that can improve lives and livelihoods throughout the developing world.  The science fair will highlight game changing innovations from more than 20 entrepreneurs  from the U.S. and abroad in the areas of health, water, agriculture, environment, energy, and IT.  Some of their solutions include the Jaipur Knee, a root hydration system that delivers clean water from any source, a technology to generate energy from dirt, and a pedal-powered phone charger.

USAID and our partners are intensely focused on harnessing S&T to tackle the toughest development challenges. We’ll double, even triple, our efforts to integrate the Agency’s use of S&T for development.

We’re thrilled at the growing momentum for S&T in development. It’s great to see the kind of unbridled entrepreneurial spirit that it takes to achieve the changes the world needs and USAID intends to be there leading the way.

USAID @ UNGA: A Conversation with GHI “Plus” Country Leaders

This morning, I had the privilege to meet with leaders from  Global Health Initiative (GHI) “Plus” countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nepal and Rwanda.

I was joined by Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, and Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, to discuss how U.S. global health programs will partner with countries to save more lives and do so in a sustainable and efficient manner.

I focused on three of our key objectives: increasing country ownership so that the U.S. is aligned with country health goals; investing in sustainable systems to create a lasting effect on the health of citizens regardless of future disease initiatives; and fostering innovation from vaccine research to trials of new technologies such as microbicides to ensuring that cost-effective and game changing approaches and technologies are being used effectively on the ground.

Countries are at the leading edge of health in development. And as GHI implementation and learning accelerates, we want host country leaders to share lessons and best practices with the entire global health community.

David Mphande, the Malawi’s Health Minister, outlined a serious challenge in his country: every day, 16 women in Malawi die in childbirth because they would have to walk 10 miles or more to reach a clinic or skilled worker.  GHI’s approach will emphasize reaching women and children with health services through training community health workers and engaging community leaders.

Karin Slowing Umaña, Secretary of State for Planning and Programming of Guatemala, noted it would be difficult to meet ambitious targets for improved health outcomes without a strengthened health system.

Richard Sezibera, Minister of Health of Rwanda, told us that Rwanda’s various donors require them to report on more than 650 health indicators.  We are already looking at how we can reduce the reporting demands from the U.S. governments and will coordinate with other donors so that Rwanda can use its resources to oversee its health care, not prepare endless reports.

This morning’s conversation will continue as we work with partner countries to identify greater efficiencies to improve the lives of more people.

USAID at UNGA: How we are Impacting Lives in Pakistan

This week I’m attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and I’m looking forward to joining a broad and historic international body to discuss the wide spectrum of global issues we face today.  My week at UNGA began with a meeting about a topic of immediate urgency – relief and recovery efforts for the more than 20 million Pakistanis affected by the devastating flooding.

On my recent visit to Pakistan, I witnessed the severe devastation and unimaginable loss experienced by the flood victims.  I’m proud to say that from the beginning, USAID has been at the forefront of the U.S. government response along with our colleagues at the Department of State and Department of Defense.  To date, the swift and immediate response has addressed the wide range of needs in Pakistan, from sending in emergency food supplies and water purification units to ensure safe drinking water, to facilitating waterborne disease warning detection systems and funding anti-malarial medications.

In mid-October, The World Bank and Asian Development Bank will present a Damage and Needs Assessment to give us a more comprehensive picture of the scale of the damage.  Undoubtedly, that picture will be grim and the upcoming months will be daunting, especially as winter descends on Pakistan. But as we face the extreme scale of the disaster, the most critical question we will be asking ourselves is:  How are we improving the lives of Pakistanis? USAID is committed to a long-term relief, recovery, and reconstruction.

USAID will continue responding to these situations on the ground, and work closely with the Government of Pakistan and our partners. We are committed to a long-term relief, recovery and reconstruction effort. This week, on the world stage of the United Nations General Assembly, we will continue to work with the international community and the Government of Pakistan as they rebuild their country.

To find out more about what USAID has done on the floods so far, see USAID’s work in Pakistan.

To contribute to humanitarian and relief operations: www.interaction.org

Countdown to MDG Summit: Conversations With America “The Obama Administration’s Work Toward Achieving the Millennium Development Goals”

Conversations With America

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID
David Lane, President and CEO, ONE

The Obama Administration’s Work Toward Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Conversations With America
U.S. Department of State

Moderator: PJ Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs

September 16, 2010

On Thursday, September 16, 2010, David Lane, President and CEO of ONE, will hold a conversation with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, on global development opportunities and challenges on the eve of the Millennium Development Goals summit.

The discussion will be moderated by PJ Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. The event will be streamed live on this page and DipNote, the Department of State’s official blog, at 10:15 a.m. (EDT). You will have the opportunity to participate through the submission of questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now on DipNote.

This is the sixth in the Conversations with America video series recently launched by the Bureau of Public Affairs, in which the State Department’s senior leadership hold monthly conversations live, online, with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. Discussion topics include foreign policy and global issues, and provide a candid view of how leaders from civil society engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.

If you missed it, please click here.

Our Commitment to the People of Pakistan

As I stood on the tarmac in Islamabad yesterday, waiting for the U.S. Air Force Reserve aircraft that would take me to the flood-ravaged southern part of Pakistan, I saw a large group of Pakistani men loading up boxes marked with the USAID brand mark into a local “jingle” truck.

I walked over to the group and met with Major Murdeza who had just joined an international organization. He told me that these trucks were bound for Multan, carrying 1,600 rolls of plastic sheeting that will help provide shelter for flood-affected families.

The plane I was on was also carrying much-needed US aid materials to the city of Sukkur. I visited two camps there run by USAID partner organizations. There I listened to the stories of immeasurable loss. I met women who had lost every last possession. They were unsure of how they would take care of their children. And I met a man still jolted by the tragedy of losing a child due to the historic floods.

As I stared at the swollen Indus River, it only reaffirmed the need to renew our commitment to the people of Pakistan. With each passing day, as disease and hunger threaten and supply and aid routes remain cut off, the breadth of the destruction affecting millions of people only grows.

Yesterday, I announced a commitment by the U.S. Government to redirect $50 million for early recovery efforts from funds provided by Congress last month. The additional funding will support early recovery programs, such as rehabilitation of community infrastructure and livelihood recovery activities, and was authorized under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act. This funding will go a long way in helping Pakistan start to rebuild and heal in the wake of so much loss.

Where our goal was once to improve a water system, we now must help reconstruct it. Power stations that, just a month ago, needed fine tuning to operate more efficiently must be fixed to become operational again. But in spite of the obstacles, we are making progress. We are feeding 1.8 million people per day and we have curtailed the potentially devastating threat of a large outbreak of waterborne illness because of our previous efforts to implement a disease early warning system (or DEWS). Focused efforts of this kind speak to our long and productive history in Pakistan.

With the help of the international community, we must now double those efforts to help minimize further hardship and pain in what has already proved the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. I know this crisis is far from over. I’ve seen the suffering of the Pakistani people. But I am convinced that the work we have done, and the work we continue to do in Pakistan, will be some of our most important efforts for years to come.

This Week at USAID – August 16, 2010

Administrator Shah will officially swear-in Alex Dickie to be the Mission Director-designate to Iraq and Mike Harvey to be the Mission Director-designate to West Bank Gaza.

Secretary Clinton gives a speech on the Global Health Initiative (GHI) at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.  The GHI is building on the Bush Administration’s successful record in global health, and taking these remarkable achievements to the next level by further accelerating progress and investing in sustainable health delivery systems.

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.

Dr. Raj. Shah Attends Launch of Pakistan’s Birthspacing Initiative

Dr. Raj Shah at the launch of the Pakistan Ministry of Health’s new Birthspacing Initiative to Improve Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Mortality. Photo by Amy Koler.

The U.S. and Pakistan have consulted closely on the shared objectives of addressing Pakistan’s National Health Policy, which outlines the priorities for the nation, which include family planning, maternal and child health, workforce development, and combating infectious diseases to meet the Millennium Development Goals. 

On Sunday, Dr. Shah attended the launch of the Pakistan Ministry of Health’s new Birthspacing Initiative to Improve Maternal, Newborn, Infant  and Child Mortality.  “Overall, (the strategy) will help ensure that pregnancies occur at the healthiest times of women’s lives.  Specifically, it will help reduce high risk pregnancies – those that occur at too late or too early an age, or too soon after a previous pregnancy – through greater use of birth spacing services,” he said.

The Obama administration recognizes that the key to improving health is to strengthen country and local ownership, especially at the community level. ” We know that strong national leadership and capacities are essential for development progress.  Health systems can only thrive where there is wise leadership investing in people, institutions and infrastructure; particularly where governments are responsive and accountable to their citizens. 

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USAID In The News – July 12th thru 16th

submitted by Amanda Parsons

Science Magazine’s Insider Blog looks at how USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah brought together the world’s leading science minds this week during a 2-day conference to focus and highlight the ways innovation, science and technology can revitalize the development agency. Shah hopes science and technology can help the agency solve “grand challenges” in global development and used the workshop to pose broad questions about how USAID could identify, select, and implement these challenges. USAID had solicited input via a Web site for possible ideas like “a model toilet of the future for the poor.” About 60 people from academia, industry, and government have begun to whittle down the list and brainstorm about how to proceed.

On Monday, Secretary Clinton and Dr. Rajiv Shah gave remarks regarding the status of Haiti six months after a devastating earthquake ravaged the small nation. The AFP reports that the duo reconfirmed their commitment to reconstruction and development after the disaster. Secretary Clinton stated, “Six months later, our resolve to stand with the people of Haiti for the long term remains undiminished. We are committed to aligning our investments with the needs of the people and the government of Haiti.” Dr. Shah emphasized the idea of stricter construction codes and working with local partners to achieve a responsible and functional outcome.

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This Week at USAID – July 12, 2010

Today is the six-month commemoration of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Administrator Shah just returned from a trip to Haiti and issued a statement to mark the commemoration.

USAID is hosting a conference entitled Transforming Development through Science, Technology and Innovation.  The conference is co-hosted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the President’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren.  Participants include many of the world’s leading scientists and development thinkers, along with leaders of key federal science agencies who will help map out USAID’s bold new science, technology and innovation agenda.

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