Last week, USAID and partners NASA, NIKE Inc., and the Department of State, held a LAUNCH 2020 Summit to kick off a new LAUNCH focus on systems innovation. LAUNCH is aimed at identifying, showcasing, and accelerating innovative approaches to specific global challenges. LAUNCH searches for visionaries whose world-class ideas, technologies, or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on society. On April 24, the LAUNCH 2013 Systems Challenge went live, calling innovators to come up with programs and processes that will transform the system of fabrics to one that advances equitable global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources. The challenge closes on July 15. We will also soon be opening our first LAUNCH “nano-challenge,” a call for solutions specifically aimed at university students.
Yesterday, Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance joined the InterAction Forum’s opening plenary panel, “Facing Vulnerability in a Changing World,” to talk about the importance of resilience in addressing the current crises and challenges that we face. Following the panel, Nancy sat down with Joel Charny of InterAction to discuss in greater detail USAID’s work to address some of the word’s humanitarian crises. Video is from InterAction.
In Ghana, most children attend school but the quality of education is very poor. Many schools have no classroom buildings, so many classes are held under a tree or some other makeshift space. This is a problem in rainy season when children are sent home until the skies clear. Also, rain brings mud and mud brings illness.
Many teachers are poorly trained, if they have any training at all. Many students don’t have enough books, and children often walk long distances to the nearest school. Some children even bring their own desks and chair to school every day.
To address these issues, USAID’s education program is building 69 new latrines, 118 kindergarten, elementary and junior high schools and rehabilitating over 100 schools. Funding is also training teachers, supporting students with necessary school supplies, like pens, pencils and notebooks. The schools are also working with their communities to support the students and the school administration.
The impact of USAID’s investments is dramatic. For example, at the Suhyen school, three new classroom blocks are in place and the community is stepping up to support the teachers, the students and the administration.
Ghana is committed to cutting illiteracy in half in the next 5 years.
Education is an important component of reducing poverty, promoting peace, and empowering individuals to participate in democratic institutions. Since 2003, primary school enrollment has increased more than 50 percent in Kenya. In recognition of USAID’s 50th anniversary working in partnership with Kenya, this video provides an overview of USAID’s education programs and particularly focuses on efforts to reach vulnerable, marginalized children.
Last month, Adminstrator Rajiv Shah discussed the results of the 2013 USAID Forward Progress Report in Washington. The Administrator iterated the Agency’s “north star” as creating conditions so aid is not necessary in the future, and delivering “clear, compelling and measurable results”. In this segment, he offers examples of how USAID is meeting these objectives through partnerships around the world. The event was co-hosted by American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Center for American Progress (CAP). Watch the full video.
Public-private partnerships are a critical way that USAID is doing business differently and maximizing our impact. USAID is a global leader in building public-private partnerships for development. In the past eleven years, USAID partnered with over 3,000 private sector entities to build over 1,600 alliances leveraging more than $19 billion in combined public and private resources. Across this portfolio, USAID on average leveraged $4 for every $1 of USAID funding.
And it’s more than just dollars leveraged, private sector partners provide expertise, technologies and innovations which, when combined with USAID’s technical expertise and in-country knowledge, can result in high-impact development projects that can be sustained long after public funding ends.
This month we are highlighting innovative public-private partnerships and this 6-minute animation tells the story of how M-PESA, the popular mobile money transfer program, came to be in Kenya. It’s narrated by Michael Joseph, the managing director of mobile money at Vodafone and the program’s founder. The animation was produced as part of a series of online courses designed and delivered by the USAID Mobile Solutions Team, QED, and TechChange, a DC based organization that specializes in online training for international development.
Charley Johnson is a former Presidential Management Fellow with the USAID Mobile Solutions Team. Nick Martin is Founder and President of TechChange.
A USAID-funded dike in Senegal‘s Boli Valley has extended the rice growing season to nine months a year, and permitted recovery of hundreds of hectares of land for cultivation to help ensure food security in the region. USAID also provides seeds and financing to local farmers, including women, who make a significant contribution to sowing the land and maintaining the dike.
Administrator Shah offered remarks for the Global Child Nutrition Dinner held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. on March 4, 2013. The dinner was part of the 10th annual ‘A Possible Dream Gala’, and this year, Arlene Mitchell, Deputy Director of Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the guest of honor. Hosted by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation whose aim is to end childhood hunger, proceeds from the event enable the Foundation to provide technical assistance to countries so they can develop and expand school feeding programs.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with partner Heartland Alliance International has been strengthening the leadership of grassroots women in Haiti to engage in and advocate for redevelopment with the vision of a country where women participate in home, public and economic life free from the threat of harassment and violence.
Over the past two years, Heartland Alliance, through its Women Empowered to Lead and Advocate for Development (WE-LEAD) project’s women’s center, has provided skill and knowledge building activities to over 1300 women and nearly 30 women’s organizations. Through their advocacy and close collaboration with the Ministry of Women in Haiti they have put gender equality on the development agenda and into Haiti’s development policies.
Watch this video with WE-LEAD center users to see the impact of this project on the lives of Haitian women.
USAID-funded projects End in Africa and End in Asia have partnered with global organizations to work towards eliminating neglected tropical diseases. Leaders in the field talk about the progress that has been made and their hopes for the future.