USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Cross-Cutting Programs

This Week at USAID – October 11, 2010

Administrator Shah opens a weeklong training for over 80 USAID communications staff from USAID Missions all over the world.  These communicators are in Washington, D.C. to engage with senior officials about elevating development, particularly the first-ever national development strategy issued by a U.S. President and “USAID Forward”, the Agency’s change management agenda.  Sessions featured during the week include: a meeting with staff from the National Security Council, a joint session at the annual State Department Public Affairs Officer’s conference, and a panel discussion with leading foreign policy journalists at the Newseum.

Administrator Shah travels to Des Moines, Iowa to speak at the Borlaug Dialogue, which is held each year in conjunction with the awarding of the World Food Prize.  The theme of the conference is: smallholder agriculture, “Take it to the Farmer“.  Dr Shah will focus on how you take interest in fighting poverty to the smallholder farmer.  He will also promote progress under Feed the Future, the Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative.

USAID @ the 10th Annual Mini University

Over 1,100 people descended on George Washington University’s campus today for lessons on exciting developments in the field of global health. Participants, including USAID and partner staff, students from 16 universities, government officials, and members from the five military branches, were able to choose from over 70 sessions highlighting state-of-the-art information from a variety of technical areas across the Global Health field.  Topics included: how mobile technology is transforming health programs, how health workers are able to reach populations in rural areas, and how offering family planning services can play a critical role in preventing further transmission of HIV.

Health policy expert and special health advisor to the White House, Zeke Emanuel attended the conference to highlight the importance of bringing together global health technical experts with the younger generation of leaders in the field.  He also highlighted the key role USAID will play in the implementation of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI).  Under the GHI, the United States will invest $63 billion over six years to help partner countries improve health outcomes through strengthened health systems – with a particular focus on improving the health of women, newborns, and children through programs including infectious disease prevention, nutrition, maternal and child health, and safe water.

This Week at USAID – October 4, 2010

USAID joins the global community in recognition of World Habitat Day. The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October as annual World Habitat Day to raise awareness of the need for improved shelter and highlight the connection between human health and housing.  This year’s Habitat theme is “Better City, Better Life.”

Administrator Shah travels to Columbia University to address their Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference.  Dr Shah will focus on how USAID is pursuing innovative models by working with the private sector and leveraging social enterprise.

USAID’s Global Health Bureau along with the George Washington University Center for Global Health will host the 10th Annual Global Health Min-University.  Over 1,000 people will attend more than 50 unique sessions to learn evidence-based best practices and state-of-the-art information across the global health field.

USAID @ UNGA: “Science Fair” Reveals New Promise for Water and Technology

Submitted by Chris Holmes

USAID and the New York Academy of Sciences are currently hosting a display of innovative technology at New York City’s  Millennium Hotel. The hotel is just around the corner from the United Nations. This is General Assembly week and participants at the UN activities are filtering into the display room to, as I am doing, look, listen, learn, and let their minds run to possible applications in their respective fields.  This is a unique event that certainly stands out among a packed schedule this week.

I work in the water sector and so I was drawn, in particular, to three technology displays.

The first was KickStart, a hip powered pump structured to leverage the power of one’s hip to power a suction pump. The pumps retail at $34 a piece, are in place throughout Africa and according to Ken Weimar, Senior Development Officer of San Francisco, California based KickStart, the pump has helped 100,000 successful small businesses. Ken was delighted to be able to display his technology, noting that: “This is a very exciting time. I have never been able to get this close to the UN in General Assembly.”

Right next to Ken’s display was a booth featuring DTI-r Design Technology and Irrigation technology. This was remarkable: any kind of water- salt, brine, waste water- is placed in long plastic like tubes about a foot underground. Water vapor is released into the ground from the exterior of the pipe, irrigating root systems. The technology was developed with support from Launch, an initiative formed by USAID, State, NASA and Nike.
The technology can be placed near sea water, where sea water can be piped into the tubing and crops grown in sand. Mark Tomkin from DTI announced today  that his conpany just signed a global exclusive licensing agreement with DuPont. Mark told me he is on his way tomorrow to install a major million meter system in Jordan, using ground water.

And finally, I discovered a group of entrepreneurs, working for Bicilavadora,  which makes a portable power pedaled washing machine, part of a bicycle hooked up to a metal drum with ripe netting inside which serves a washing machine. The machine is operating in Peru. I asked one of the team where do they get the water, how do they reuse and dispose of the water?  My thoughts led to their getting water from a KickStart pump, using their waste water to grow crops using the DTI irrigation system.  Everything is connected.  Great changes are ahead and USAID is leading the way.

USAID @ UNGA: Innovating to Save Lives

Guest Blogger Krista Donaldson
CEO of D-Rev: Design Revolution

Here’s a test.  You have 20 seconds to list the scientific and technological innovations that have had a positive, lasting impact in the developing world since the Marshall Plan.  And be specific – “Green Revolution” is not allowed.

Technology and innovation drive economic growth, and can remarkably increase standards of living.  As USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah notes, innovative products can leapfrog development problems that otherwise might take generations to address.  (Are cell phones near the top of your list?)

D-Rev: Design for the Other 90%, the organization I run, designs and delivers high-quality products to improve peoples’ health and incomes. We are a technology incubator that seeks market-driven solutions to pressing global problems.  The Science, Technology and Innovation Forum on September 22, co-hosted by USAID and the New York Academy of Sciences,will highlight our and other organizations’ innovations that are saving lives and empowering families economically.  Some of the inventions here will be on your list; others should be soon.  D-Rev will showcase a pipeline of low-cost, high-quality medical devices that prevent brain damage in or death of newborns with severe jaundice.

Writing your list, did you pause?  There are many organizations solving pressing problems with innovative technology and design thinking: iTeach is improving healthcare in KwaZulu-Natal by working in public hospitals and with traditional healers; KickStart’s treadle pumps in East Africa are growing a new middle class; Samasource is building capacity by outsourcing work to poor communities and refuge camps; and the Aquaya Institute is bringing clean water to Asia and Africa through sustainable for-profit business models.  But still there is work to do. The lists of breakthrough products and approaches must be longer, because innovation in our globalized age can address most – if not all – of the Millennium Development Goals.  Three things, however, need to happen for organizations to successfully launch successful products.

Technological innovation drives economic growth and increased standards of living so that societies can address their own development issues.

STI development cycle: Technological innovation drives economic growth and increased standards of living so that societies can address their own development issues.

  1. Donors must be agile. Innovation in development is like innovation anywhere – it requires investor agility and risk-taking.  To move products faster from the labs to the market, and scale successes from communities to countries, we need condensed funding cycles that promote action and rapid iteration starting at the seed stage.
  2. Design is not just about the product. It is critical to support the work surrounding the design of the product: ensuring user needs are understood, and what is required to sustainably deliver and scale the product.  Too many products aimed at development never seem to go anywhere.  They might be donated, installed – and then never used. For example, seed funds are needed to understand users, environments, existing solutions, markets, delivery and repair infrastructures, scaling potential – before a product is designed.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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. 

Read the rest of this entry »

In Mozambique, Religious Leaders Unite Together Against Malaria

PIRCOM has trained more than 21,000 religious leaders from a variety of faiths on malaria prevention and treatment.

Left unchecked, disease imperils the stability and prosperity of all; therefore, improving global health out­comes is a shared responsibility. This means reaching out to community elders, leaders, and religious groups to ensure the quality and reach of health services and messages.

Religious leaders, along with their well-established networks of volunteers and community groups, have the potential to promote and sustain positive changes in the social norms, attitudes, and behaviors of their communities, which can affect development outcomes. Thus the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) engages religious leaders to facilitate greater partnership in, as well as ownership of, a community’s development.

Over the past few years, malaria and other global health programs have increased support to grassroots health movements within faith communities. In addition to promoting health-seeking behaviors, these programs have helped bridge cultural and religious divides.  One such initiative, the Together Against Malaria (TAM) program, arose in 2006 from the common vision of national leaders from 10 faith communities in Mozambique to use their religious organizations to disseminate malaria control messages and commodities. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Focusing on Quality Assurance for Malaria Diagnostics

By Alison Bird. A nurse in a local clinic in Huambo Province, Angola, checks a patient and her baby before prescribing anti-malarial drugs. The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID, supports countries in their efforts to scale up access to malaria diagnostics to ensure proper diagnosis of illness.

Maria José Inés, chief nurse at the Benfica Baixa Health Center in the city of Huambo in Angola, has seen many patients with fever over the years and treated countless malaria patients. In many parts of Africa, a majority of fevers have been more likely due to other pathogens than with malaria parasites, underscoring the need for proper malaria diagnosis.  Now even in highly malarious areas where effective prevention is decreasing the malaria burden this is also becoming the case. 

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and implemented jointly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), supports countries in their efforts to scale up access to malaria diagnosis, in line with the recently revised World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, including focusing on quality assurance for malaria diagnostics, training in proper use of the diagnostics tests at all levels of the health care system, including community health workers, and information, education and communication materials IEC/BCC to assure that health care workers and patients use the test results as part of more effective management of fever cases. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

USAID radio drama informs return in Uganda

Regaining its footing after a quarter century of conflict, northern Uganda is bustling with activity. Communities are working to restore local infrastructure and citizens are going about the business of rebuilding homes and lives. However the political reality is that the political leadership wanted to expedite the return process while also provide people with crucial information to returnees so they could make informed decisions about their lives.

Radio is not only the most reliable source of information for returning communities but also serves as the medium of choice to access the information people are seeking. However radio stations also have a limited ability to deliver the kind of content needed.

To encourage people to return and help them with their rebuilding efforts, the Lamele Theatre Artists, in collaboration with USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, spearheaded the production of a radio drama. Ajing Conga, Bila Pa Ladwar (I Will Strengthen My Knees – The Song of a Hunter) focuses on three families that have returned to northern Uganda and are grappling to rebuild their lives. The show is providing returnees with crucial information on education, health, culture, security, and governance.

Three stations aired the 72 episodes of the radio drama three times a week. Once the production finished, the Lamele Theater Artists took the show on the road and performed skits live in villages. The shows, some of which were revised, were well received by northern Ugandans who were able to identify with the challenges and issues portrayed.

Page 10 of 12:« First« 7 8 9 10 11 12 »