Fifteen years ago, President George W. Bush announced the launch of PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – during his State of the Union address, declaring that “this nation can lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature.” With an AIDS-free generation finally within sight, we cannot afford to scale back our investments in PEPFAR’s lifesaving work.
The global refugee crisis is one of the world’s most pressing and complicated humanitarian challenges. With millions of people displaced around the world and over 655,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh alone, the scope and scale of the crisis is daunting. Fortunately, the United States, USAID, the UN, and other Governments and organizations are stepping in to provide life-saving supplies and services.
Liberia has reached a critical milestone of progress. Today’s inauguration of President George Weah, succeeding President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, marks the first time since 1944 the country has seen a peaceful transfer of power. While credit for this historic achievement rests with the Liberian people and their quest for democracy, we must also acknowledge the impact of U.S. development assistance and democracy support.
As the international community gears up to tackle the emerging challenges of 2018, two enduring problems must first be addressed: ongoing violent conflicts and subsequent humanitarian emergencies. Since 2010, state-on-state conflict has increased by 60 percent, and conflict within countries has increased by 125 percent. As a result of this dangerous trend, the number of people forced to flee their homes is at an all-time high since World War II.
For nearly a decade, EDC’s Akazi Kanoze projects have been helping the Government of Rwanda improve opportunities for hundreds of thousands of young people who are coming of age during the country’s economic transition. Akazi Kanoze originally delivered livelihood and work-readiness trainings for out-of-school youth, but it was so successful that the program’s core approach — which included Work Ready Now! and partnerships with local employers — has been scaled up nationally, reaching over 92,000 high school and TVET students each year.
With 90 percent of people in the developing world living without access to the internet , many of the problems rural communities face here at home are also mirrored overseas. Luckily, the Administration is working to expand internet connectivity both at home and abroad, which will not only benefit American farmers and businesses, but spur economic growth and development in some of the world’s poorest countries.
In El Salvador, Lula Mena’s hand-made jewelry business is thriving. Thanks to critical business training and export assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Lula now exports her goods to eight countries. But the impact of Lula’s success extends far beyond her own family.
For the women of the Maasai communities, life may be simple, but it’s far from easy. According to Teresia, one of the senior Maasai “mamas,” the greatest challenge facing her boma “was the darkness in our houses” because without electricity, “you can’t see anything at night.” Across sub-Saharan Africa, two out of three people live off the electrical grid – that’s 70 percent of the entire population, or 600 million people.
With mounting challenges overseas– from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, to devastating famines, to tension with North Korea – this year has shown us that American global leadership is more important now than ever before. And as the year draws to a close, we’ve rounded up our top ten blogs of 2017 – the inspiring stories of U.S. foreign assistance, it’s impact around the world and here at home.
A fourth-grader at the Malamawa Primary School in northwest Nigeria, Hadiza Hamza hopes to become a teacher one day. Eager to learn how to read and write, Hamza asked her father to enroll her in the six month jump-start program: the Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI+). The literacy program, established in 2015, made possible by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Creative Associates International has opened up a world of possibility for Hamza and others like her.