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USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (2/13/2012 – 2/17/2012)

February 16: Voice of America reports that at a USAID town hall meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that the U.S. is working “more deeply in fewer areas” as part of diplomatic and aid efforts to resolve conflicts and help countries become more self-sufficient. “The work we do speaks for itself,” she said. “How we do the work, how we are more efficient, leaner, smarter, better will enable us to keep getting the resources we need to be able to deliver the results we seek.”

February 17: In a video preview, PBS News highlights an upcoming story on USAID’s expanding partnerships with faith groups around the world to address global development challenges. The full story and interview with USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah will air this Sunday, February 19th.

FY13 Budget: Making Smart Investments

The Fiscal Year 2013 International Affairs budget, which was released on February 13, showcases President Obama’s commitment to making smart, efficient investments to help those in the greatest need while helping to create economic opportunity and safeguarding American security.

It is important to remember that these numbers represent lives around the world that can be supported and saved through our smart investments in agriculture, health, and access to clean water, among other programs.  And these investments come at an incredibly small fraction of our national budget—in the case of development assistance, less than one percent.

Similar investments we made last year demonstrated a number of important results. Thanks to our investments in humanitarian assistance, we were able to save tens of thousands of lives in the Horn of Africa after a devastating drought led to famine and threw over 13 million people into crisis. U.S.  support helped provide lifesaving AIDS drugs to nearly 4 million people, protect 200,000 infants from HIV infection and keep millions of children throughout Africa safe from malaria. And our  agricultural investments are  supporting the goal of lifting 18 million people from a state of hunger and poverty.

Despite those results, we’ve had to make difficult choices this year, consolidating some programs and eliminating others. Our 2013 budget shows a willingness to focus on countries and programs where we believe we can make the greatest impact.

Global health is a key part of our investment in economic and human security.  Our request goes to cost-effective, proven global health interventions delivered through President Obama’s Global Health Initiative. These investments will help achieve a number of the President’s ambitious global health goals, including saving the lives of five million children by the year 2015, and expanding HIV/AIDS treatment. Thanks to the falling costs of health commodities, including contraceptives, malaria bednets and antiretroviral drugs, and increased investments by partner governments, we can now save more lives.

$1 billion of our FY 2013 request is devoted to Feed the Future, President Obama’s landmark food security initiative. These investments will help countries develop their own agricultural economies and  grow their way out of hunger and poverty, rather than relying on humanitarian food aid that costs us seven times as much to deliver. We’ve also designed a results framework so we can transparently measure and demonstrate the impact our investments have made in fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Our budget request maintains robust funding for our humanitarian accounts. Efficiencies in our use of these resources will ensure we have the necessary means to continue U.S. leadership in responding to natural and man-made disasters, just as we did last year after a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa. In addition, we continue to increase our focus on preventing future crises through disaster risk reduction activities and funding for greater resilience against food shocks through Feed the Future.

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Harnessing Science, Technology, and Innovation To Promote Global Development

Originally posted on the White House blog

Today at the White House, senior Administration officials announced a series of new initiatives to promote game-changing innovations to solve long-standing development challenges.  Answering President Obama’s call to harness science technology, and innovation to spark global development, the Administration announced initiatives from across the government to generate new development solutions.  Announcements include new partnerships with universities; greater use of scientific breakthroughs through expedited technology transfer of federally-funded inventions; a program to reward inventors who use their patented technologies to address humanitarian needs; and initiatives to leverage advances in Internet and communications technologies to provide new development tools.

In an increasingly globalized world, the Obama Administration recognizes that global development is vital to national security and is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative.  One of the cornerstones of our global development policy is a commitment to investments in game-changing innovations with the potential to solve long-standing development challenges in health, food security, environmental sustainability, and broad-based economic growth.  Innovation can play a key role in building a stable, inclusive global economy with new sources of prosperity, advancing democracy and human rights, and helping us to increase the ranks of prosperous, capable, and democratic states that can be our partners in the decades to come.

Administrator Raj Shah announced that USAID is launching a new partnership with universities and research institutes to define and solve large development challenges.  USAID also announced new commitments to increased utilization of electronic and mobile payments to save on costs and increase financial access; a new effort to make assistance to other governments in telecommunications development more efficient; a new “app store” for development to spur humanitarian apps and software; and new commitments to mobile education technology as part of USAID’s All Children Reading grand challenge for development.

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Open for Questions: Innovation for Global Development

Originally posted on the White House blog

On Wednesday, February 8 at 9am, the White House will host an event to highlight how the government and the private sector are harnessing science, technology, and innovation to promote global development. Speakers from the White House, U.S. Agency for International Development, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the private sector will join participants from universities, industry, and nonprofits for a discussion of innovation and global development. Watch live at

Later in the day, at 11:00 a.m., Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council will take your questions on the role of science, technology and innovation in global development.

  • What: Open for Questions: Innovation for Global Development
  • Who:Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council and Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council
  • When: Wednesday, February 8 at 11:00 a.m. ET
  • Where: Watch live at and submit your questions via Facebook, Twitter using the hashtag #WHChat or our webform.

Erin Lindsay is Deputy Director of Online Engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (1/30/2012 – 2/3/2012)

January 25: ClimateWire (registration required) published a story highlighting USAID’s efforts to assist Fiji design climate change plans. John Wilson, director of the office of technical services for USAID’s Middle East bureaus, said the team is working on ways to address water and food security as well as other needs brought about by rising global temperatures.

January 27: In another article, ClimateWire (registration required) also reports that USAID recently released its 5-year, Climate Change and Development Strategy (pdf). The plan calls on the Agency to reduce emissions while at the same time protecting communities from weather disasters. “Consideration of climate change in strategic planning, program design, and project implementation across a wide range of development sectors is essential to the success of USAID’s mission,” wrote USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.


USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (1/16/2012 – 1/20/2012)

January 17: The GlobalPost highlighted India’s progress in its fight to end polio and noted that the country recently marked one year since its last confirmed case of polio. The news outlet interviewed Ellyn Ogden, USAID’s worldwide polio eradication coordinator. In the published interview, Ogden discusses India’s achievement and the global outlook to end polio.

January 18: On Wednesday, at the University of Delaware-Wilmington, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah joined Senator Chris Coons at an “Opportunity: Africa” Conference. Local media outlets, including The News Journal, the Newark Post, and WDEL-AM covered the event. At the conference, Administrator Shah and Senator Coons highlighted how American businesses, including Delaware-based companies, are developing innovative ways to grow Africa’s economy and open trade markets for U.S. goods.

USAID in the News

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.”

USAID in the News

January 3: Billboard Magazine highlighted USAID’s work to launch a public awareness campaign for the famine in the Horn of Africa. Specifically, the magazine praised USAID’s partnership with MTV to not only “forward the facts,” but auction off items to benefit families in East Africa.

January 2: Over the weekend, Forbes India published a transcript of an interview with USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. The interview discusses Feed theFuture and the budget, and took place during Administrator Shah’s trip to India earlier in the month.

December 24: Voice of America reports that the U.S. continues to support the Republic of South Sudan. New efforts are under way to help establish a viable government and lay the groundwork for economic growth. USAID/South Sudan Mission Director Kevin Mullally was quoted, stating that “As the country takes the leadership in its development, we are committed to supporting them in trying to achieve their vision.”

December 22: NPR interviewed Alex Thier, Director of USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to discuss a promising new survey showing that medical care in Afghanistan has improved dramatically over the past decade.

December 20: USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer, Maura O’Neill, published a post in The Huffington Post’s Impact Blog. In the piece, O’Neill discusses India’s innovative approach to development. She also highlights USAID’s new partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), one of the largest microfinance organizations in India. The partnership aims to identify and develop cost-effective aid programs that will benefit India as well as the rest of the world.

USAID-Devex Essay Contest: Last Chance to Add Your Voice

Through a joint USAID and Devex essay contest, you have the exciting opportunity to have your say on the most pressing issues in international development – and to be published along with the most prominent international development leaders of our time. The deadline for submission is this Sunday, January 8.

USAID is seeking five of the most interesting, innovative and insightful opinions and ideas for inclusion in an essay collection, along with essays by leading global development thinkers, to be released in May 2012. The best of the remaining submissions will be posted on USAID’s website.

The essays can focus any issue directly relevant to one of these topic areas:

  • Democracy and development in the 21st century
  • Pressure on the planet: climate change, resource demand and demography
  • Strengthening security to accelerate development, accelerating development to strengthen security
  • Competing in global markets in 2025: trade, jobs, growth, and the role of the state
  • Making markets and technology work for service delivery

For more information about contest topics and guidelines for submission, please see the contest announcement.

Winning essays will address an issue or idea directly relevant to one of the major topic areas listed above, and will present an original, innovative insight to help shape how some aspect of development practice is undertaken in the foreseeable future. They should focus on where the world is going and how developing countries and their partners can best prepare for future changes. We are particularly interested in essays that engage in broader debates on future-oriented key challenges to development, rather than essays that focus on analysis of U.S. foreign policy or foreign assistance.

USAID in the News

Weekly Briefing (12/12/2011 – 12/16/2011)

December 9: Last Friday, the Global Post highlighted USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah’s visit to Harvard University. On December 12thThe Guardian’s Global Health Blog also published a post about his trip to Cambridge. Speaking at a dinner, hosted by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Dr. Shah recalled his visit to refugee camps in Kenya and the struggle families are currently facing in the Horn of Africa. Shah also encouraged journalists to actively cover the crisis and famine.

December 14: The Guardian reports that during the International Engagement conference for South Sudan, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah stated that theconference is an opportunity for the government of South Sudan to lay out its vision for the future of its economy. Shah also stated that the event will “help private companies and investors see the Republic of Southern Sudan as a place where they want to increase their investments, thereby enabling significant economic development and economic growth”. Bloomberg News also reported on the conference, citing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s strong support for the new nation and the promising economic opportunities in farming and oil sectors. ReutersThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times also covered the conference.

December 15: ABC News’ “Million Moms Challenge” blog highlighted an innovative approach USAID is using to help pregnant women and new mothers in Bangladesh. By utilizing a new cell phone program, women are receiving text or calls with potentially life-saving alerts regarding their upcoming due date. After they give birth, themothers continue to receive messages with information regarding healthy nutrition and how to care for their newborn. The USAID initiative is called Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).

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