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Archives for Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah

1,000 Photos

Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

As of today, 1,000 people around the world have posted photos of their 5th birthday in support of the Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday awareness campaign. From Secretary Hillary Clinton and Kay Warren to Tony Hawk and Mandy Moore, government representatives, faith-based and civil society leaders, celebrity activists and athletes have uploaded photos of themselves at age five to help rally the world around the goal of ending preventable child death and ensuring all children get to celebrate their 5th birthday.

Age five is an important time. It’s when we start going to school, learning to read and making our own decisions. Age five is also an important milestone in the health and development of children.  Over the last 50 years—especially in the last two decades—child mortality has fallen by 70 percent thanks to high-impact interventions like new vaccines, improved health care practices and community health workers.

Despite this progress, more than 7 million children will die this year from largely preventable causes before they turn five.  In Africa alone, 1 in 8 children will die before they celebrate their 5th birthday.  In order to change this devastating narrative, we must do more.

Today, we have the scientific, technological and programmatic advances to dramatically accelerate progress.  Today, the Governments of the United States, Ethiopia and India are working in close collaboration with UNICEF to launch a Call to Action in Child Survival.  Designed to end preventable child death by focusing on the survival of newborns, children and mothers, the Call to Action will convene 700 prominent leaders from government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and civil society to kick off a long-term, strategic effort to save children’s lives.

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Winning the Fight Against HIV in Children

Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

Originally published at

Over thirty years ago, when the fight against HIV first began, the outlook for tackling the pandemic was bleak. Across the world, AIDS was seen as a death sentence. Within just a few years, it had devastated communities from the United States to South Africa.

But the world continued to fight, and the past three decades have seen tremendous progress in HIV research, prevention and treatment, thanks in large part to the leadership of the United States. Today, we can build on that strong legacy to answer President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s call for an AIDS-free generation.

The 19th International AIDS Society (IAS) conference will be an opportunity to renew our commitment to this incredible goal. It also marks an historic moment, as the United States hosts the conference for the first time in over 20 years now that people living with HIV and AIDS are able to visit the U.S. to attend in-person.

We know that we have a long way to go to win the fight against HIV–especially for children.

Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)–the largest international commitment to a single disease by any individual country–the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. government agencies provide lifesaving HIV and AIDS services to millions of children, women, and families worldwide. 

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My 2012 Annual Letter: Elevating Development within America’s Foreign Policy

About a year ago, I decided to write an annual letter to share some of the work our Agency does saving lives and improving human welfare around the world. I also wanted to describe some of the priorities we’ve set and tough choices we’ve made in order to deliver meaningful results for and on behalf of the American people.

Now, I am pleased to share our 2012 Annual Letter, which we issued last week.  This letter highlights the work we’ve done over the last year to seize pivotal opportunities in development and achieve generational legacies of success.

From helping communities build resilience before disasters strike to helping countries improve child survival so they can reap what’s known as a demographic dividend, USAID is working hard to answer President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s call to elevate global development.

We’re also stepping out of our comfort zone, embracing challenging roles and responding quickly to world events. As the Arab Spring took hold in North Africa and Middle East, we helped empower citizens as they embraced new freedoms and participated actively in the political process for the first time. And we’re partnering much more closely with the private sector to expand opportunities for investment in the developing world.

Ultimately, this letter describes our efforts to help countries build the capacity to direct their own development, as we work together to shape a brighter future.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

An Alliance for Global Development

Originally posted on the White House Blog

When Prime Minister Cameron meets President Obama in Washington today it will have been ten months since our two countries signed a new Partnership for Global Development. The partnership outlines specific areas where we are focusing our collective efforts, reaffirming our commitment to saving lives and improving human welfare around the world.

If you needed proof of how much more we can achieve by working together than acting alone, our response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa demonstrates the transformative impact of our partnership.

Over the last ten months, USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) leadership and decisive action in the region has helped avert an even larger catastrophe. As heads of our nations’ respective development agencies, we have both visited the Horn of Africa and seen for ourselves the scale of the crisis, which placed more than 13.3 million people in need of emergency assistance. That is roughly the combined population of London and Washington. (Watch this video of Rajiv Shah and Dr. Jill Biden’s visit to the Horn of Africa last year)

While the drought was regional, the crisis only led to famine in southern Somalia, where a governance failure and lack of access obstructed international relief efforts. This underscores the importance of the recent London Conference on Somalia hosted by Prime Minister Cameron that brought together over 50 countries and international organizations to consider how best to support Somalia not only on development but on issues like piracy, the political process and security. DFID led a parallel set of discussions on preventing future humanitarian crises.

Thanks to the generosity of the British and American people, our nations led a significant humanitarian response that helped save hundreds of thousands of lives in Somalia alone, and reached millions of people across the region with food, health care, and water and sanitation services.

But we must do more than provide relief. We must help countries build resilience, so they are prepared for disasters before they hit. USAID’s Famine Early Warning System provided some of the first alerts of the impending crisis, giving us time to pre-position food and health supplies in advance. And many of our programs on the ground have allowed families and smallholder farmers to weather the crisis.

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World AIDS Day: New Advances Are Critical to Achieving the Vision of an AIDS-free Generation

An activist sets up a red ribbon during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day in San Salvador, on December 1, 2010. AFP PHOTO/ Jose CABEZAS

Featured on Huffington Post

For the first time since the AIDS virus surfaced, devastating communities and overwhelming nations, the world has the tools and knowledge to ensure an entire generation is born free from its scourge. By building on a strong legacy of progress and bipartisan support and relying on proven interventions and new breakthroughs, the United States is leading the world in making real the vision of an AIDS-free generation.

Our efforts at home and abroad have informed each other. HIV prevention and treatment approaches pioneered in Nairobi and Cape Town now benefit communities in the U.S. Thanks to President Obama’s strong support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—better known as PEPFAR—millions of patients worldwide are able to receive affordable treatment that used to be out of reach.

At the same time, American researchers and pharmaceutical companies have made game-changing discoveries that are helping save millions of lives around the world.

Despite these successes, every day more people become infected than start treatment. Every day, more people—many of them women and children—join the ranks of the already 34 million living with HIV today. In order to end this devastating reality, we have to work faster, more effectively and more efficiently than ever before.

As Secretary Clinton recently said, our efforts must begin with the American people—and our drive for innovation, unfailing sense of generosity and track record of breakthrough research.

To realize the future of an AIDS-free generation, we have to strategically focus our efforts on proven, cost-effective ways to fight against HIV/AIDS: stopping mother-to-child transmission, expanding voluntary medical male circumcision, supporting community adherence and investing in new biomedical tools.

But we also have to focus on propelling new advances.

Just a few months ago we saw new results that demonstrated the effectiveness of HIV medication taken orally, once a day, at not just treating HIV but preventing its transmission.

Discoveries like this may one day change the way we fight AIDS, both in America and in developing countries.

As the head of a federal agency dedicated to improving human welfare, I have seen firsthand the deeply moral, social and economic costs of HIV/AIDS: children who have been born HIV-positive and find the odds in life already stacked against them; businesses close in regions where HIV is rampant while hospitals fill up; and the despair fueled by a single disease.

This reality has always been unacceptable. For the first time, we can confidently say it is also avoidable. With the continued support of a remarkable bipartisan constituency of congressional leaders, faith-based institutions, multilateral alliances and private sector partners, we can build on the momentum of proven results and scientific discoveries.

Today, as we once again mark World AIDS Day, we should do so knowing the world finally has the ability to create a future without AIDS.

Shah: In defense of smart foreign assistance

As featured on CNN’s Global Public Square

This week more than 2,000 government, civil society and private sector leaders have gathered in Busan, South Korea with one goal: to improve the quality and effectiveness of development aid.

The setting is especially significant; 50 years ago, South Korea was largely a country of peasant farmers. It was poorer than two-thirds of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa and its people barely lived past the age of 54.

Today, South Korea is a high-tech hub, a net donor and its people have some of the longest life expectancies in the world. South Korea also happens to be the seventh largest market for American goods; we sell more to the South Koreans than we do to the French. The free trade agreement President Obama recently signed with South Korea means we’ll be selling even more to Seoul in the future, leading to high-paying American jobs.

South Korea’s economic miracle – from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the wealthiest – serves as a powerful example of how effective foreign assistance can be, if delivered well and used wisely to catalyze growth. With a focus on transparency, mutual accountability, strong private sector engagement and meaningful results, development assistance can help developing countries thrive.

President Obama, Secretary Clinton and I have worked hard to reform the way America delivers assistance abroad. As part of our nation’s first ever Presidential policy on development, we’ve made our assistance more transparent, accountable and effective.

We created – an online dashboard that anyone can use to track American foreign assistance investments. We launched a major effort to deliver our aid directly to the people we intend to help, rather than routing it through middlemen and contractors. And we launched the Open Government Partnership, a new multilateral initiative through which governments – including the U.S. – make concrete commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and use new technologies to strengthen governance.

But America will do even more to ensure our development assistance is delivered transparently and accountably. Yesterday in Busan, Secretary Clinton announced a major step forward for development transparency: the United States – the world’s largest donor of foreign assistance – will join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.  This international standard of data reporting demands that we provide our taxpayers and our partners data about our investments in a clear, accurate and timely manner.

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Share Hope by Helping Us Reach 13 Million Forwards

Right now, 13.3 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa, more than the populations of New York and Los Angeles combined.  To help raise awareness, we have dedicated today – Wednesday, November 9th – FWD>Day.  Today, we want to help 13.3 million people forward facts about the crisis to their friends and families.

We know that Americans are among the most generous people in the world.  When we learn about suffering on such a catastrophic scale, we want to act. But unlike during other disasters in Haiti or the 2004 Tsunami, over half of Americans have no idea that millions of people are at risk today in the Horn . That is why we partnered with the Ad Council to launch the FWD campaign to engage Americans in relief efforts and educate them about long-terms solutions to hunger and malnutrition through Feed the Future.

You can donate $10 to a group of 8 NGOs working in the Horn by texting GIVE to 777444, or you can visit our website to find a list of other organizations on the ground.

But today on FWD>Day, we are asking you to do more than donate.  We want you to FWD the Facts. Visit and take as little as 10 seconds to post infographics or one of our celebrity public service announcements to your Facebook wall.

Don’t just rely on celebrities to get the word out: make your own public service announcement (PSA).  Today, in partnership with YouTube, we’re launching an outreach effort to help Americans make their own videos.  Create your own PSA, tell us why you’re FWDing the facts and then post it on our YouTube page.

I’m also pleased to announce a partnership with GOOD, the online social good publication.  Today, USAID and GOOD are launching a new challenge to hear from communities around the country how they’re going to raise awareness about the crisis. GOOD will award $5,000 to the plan with most online votes.

By forwarding the facts together today- November 9th, we can make a difference.

Shared Values, Shared History: Administrator Shah Visits West Point

Today, Dr. Shah travels to West Point for the first time a sitting USAID Administrator has visited the Academy.  His visit comes just over a year since President Obama elevated development on par with defense and diplomacy and one week before Veterans Day, offering an opportunity to highlight the importance of development to national security but also the importance of civilian-military cooperation.

There was perhaps no greater champion for these principles than George Marshall.  Although he was one of the great generals who did not come from West Point’s hallowed grounds, it was his plan that sought “the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”  He offered a blueprint against hunger, poverty, and despair.

Just over a decade later, President Kennedy institutionalized this capability within the U.S. government by establishing USAID.

The military shares a particular bond with President Kennedy as it was at his initiative that USAID evolved but also that the U.S. Army Special Forces were institutionalized—another niche capability of skilled public servants trained to work alongside other cultures. These groups have championed our values and perpetuate the mindset of “nothing about them without them.”

USAID is able to work not just alongside the military but also in places where conflict is ongoing without US military presence, preventing further discord in a way that is integral to national security.  Development is critical for enduring stability and the realization of peaceful human potential, and as former Secretary of Defense Gates stated, “Economic development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”  USAID is and will continue to be in many places so the military does not have to be.

There is perhaps less of a divide between service members and development practitioners than many care to admit.  All are dedicated individuals who serve the public good and share a strong sense of mission, service, sacrifice and expeditionary nature.  It is these shared values that make for better cooperation. Moving forward in pursuit of our national security objectives will require building upon our shared history but also a continued embrace for the portfolio of development.

Open for Questions: Crisis in the Horn of Africa

This post originally appeared on the White House Blog.

Over the past several months, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world has placed more than 13.3 million people across the Horn of Africa at risk – a greater number than the populations of New York and Los Angeles combined.  Quickly becoming incomprehensible, the emergency has its roots in a devastating combination of famine, war and drought.

Last month, I announced the FWD campaign to raise awareness across America about this worsening situation.

Please join us this Wednesday, October 26th, at 12:30 p.m. EDT to learn about the steps we have taken to build this campaign by informing and engaging our friends and family in order to harness the compassion and generosity of the American people.

In a special “Open for Questions” event, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council, and I will take your questions during a live streamed event moderated by Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement. Whether you are wondering about the famine, the global response to the crisis, or what you can do to help, we will be there to answer your questions.

We will also be releasing special public service announcements on the crisis from some familiar faces. You can submit your questions now through Facebook and Twitter, and during the live event:

Right now, submit your questions:

Wednesday, October 26th at 12:30 p.m. EDT, we hope you’ll watch and participate:

We know that these types of crises are preventable. Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government is working with partner governments, smallholder farmers, and the private sector to help nations invest in agricultural development to avoid repeating this situation.

The engagement and generosity of the American people have always been a critical part of efforts to combat these kinds of tragedies. However, this crisis – slow in coming – has taken place under the radar of many Americans.  Despite the magnitude of the crisis in the Horn of Africa, over half of the general public say that they have not seen, heard, or read anything about the drought and famine occurring in the Horn of Africa.

It is up to us to change that.

MDG countdown: Celebrating Successes and Innovation

Today, Secretary of State Mitchell of UK development agency DFID and I will co-host an event along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to celebrate successes and innovations in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Indeed, the world has much to celebrate. Through partnerships between communities and governments and the integration of new, non-traditional players we are witnessing significant progress:

  • In Brazil, 12.2 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program has used cash transfers to empower mothers, resulting in a reduction in malnutrition and an increase in school enrollment and medical care.
  • Zambia has educated 20,000 teachers, providing roughly one million children with access to school. Community schools are also flourishing, creating an opportunity for local groups to initiate and manage schools for their children.
  • In Nepal, the risk of death during childbirth has been halved. Childbirth is no longer the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.
  • Ethiopia has provided nine million households (63 percent) with healthcare, pioneering rural access through the Health Extension Program. This program has contributed to reducing the incidence of malaria by half and doubling family planning coverage.
  • The GAVI Alliance has helped immunize 288 million children, saving five million lives. This public-private partnership has set an additional target of immunizing another quarter of a billion children in the next five years, saving another 4 million children’s lives.

These are a few of the examples we will hear more about today, powerful stories of lives saved and lives improved—stories that development investments are paying off and delivering results.

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