2 June, Saravane, Laos — Oudone Vongkham, 60, lives in Naxay Noi Village, about 22 kilometres from the district of Saravane, on the southern tip of Laos. He spends his days working on his farm. When a new market was built in his village — with a newly paved road, linking his farm to the market — transporting and selling produce became possible for him. Now his family has a small shop in the market where his wife and their nine children take turns to sell produce all day.Continue reading
7 May 2010, Kigali, Rwanda — When the Rwandan Government drafted the first status report on the Millennium Development Goals in 2003, the main focus was economic stabilisation. Poverty and maternal mortality targets were completely off track.Continue reading
14 April 2010, Tamale, Ghana — Amadu Mahama has spent the last 20 years trying to make accessible modern energy services to his people in his native Tamale of northern Ghana. He has never doubted that access to modern energy services is a key to reducing poverty, especially in rural areas where only 17 percent of the population is estimated to be connected to the national electricity grid.Continue reading
Cyclone Nargis ravaged Myanmar in May of 2008, wiping out the Southeast Asian country’s western coast. The opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest, and the military Myanmar government, apprehensive about the waves of incoming foreign aid workers, allowed only Asian passport-holders to enter the country for post-disaster reconstruction work.
Bogale, Myanmar, 10 June 2008 — Every morning since Cyclone Nargis made landfall, Doctor Ye Lwin has been getting up at five o’clock. After morning prayers, he starts seeing patients who have travelled a long way to come to the makeshift clinic UNDP has set up at its Bogale township office.
February 18, 2006
Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Leroy S. Rouner, my philosophy professor from Boston University, passed away on Saturday morning, February 11, 2006. He was 76 years old. He had bone marrow cancer.
Aceh, Indonesia — When the Tsunami struck last December, Ibu Aja Cut of Teunom Village in the Aceh Jaya District on Aceh’s West Coast lost all her family members, save two grandchildren. Her house vanished off the face of the earth. The 70-year-old spent the next nine months in a six square meter emergency tent with her two surviving grandchildren. Two weeks ago, they moved into a newly erected temporary shelter. In the 36 square meter room with wooden walls, a metal roof, an open kitchen and two makeshift beds, Ibu Aja Cut, for the first time since the disaster, sees ray of hope.
Kabul — After 15 years of intensive demining work, Afghanistan still remains the most mined country in the world. It is estimated that some 4.5 million Afghans living in 2,400 communities, over an area of 715 square kilometers, are affected. An average of 100 people are killed or injured by landmines monthly. USAID, recognizing the critical importance of clearing lands for reconstruction and long-term development, continues the endeavor for mine action, which it first began in 1989 with the establishment of the War Victims Fund.Continue reading
In the great Helmand River Valley of southern Afghanistan, stands a rockfill dam, bearing testimony to USAID’s continued commitment to the country for more than half a century. In 1953, USAID contracted Morrison Knudsen, one of American heavy construction contractors that built the Hoover Dam, to construct this dam. Standing 100 metres (320 feet) in height, spanning 270 metres (887 feet) in length, and having a present storage capacity of 1.2-billion cubic metres (27,550 acre-feet) of water, the Kajakai Dam creates the largest multi-purpose reservoir in the country. For decades, water discharging from Kajakai has traversed some 300 miles of downstream irrigation canals, which stretch across parched formidable landscape, feeding 140,000 hectares of farmland with water.Continue reading
Kabul, Afghanistan — Afghanistan recently witnessed the rebirth of one of its major lifelines, a roadway linking the nation’s capital to its southern city of Kandahar. Originally constructed by USAID between 1961 and 1966, the Kabul-Kandahar Highway had been debilitated by decades of war and neglect. USAID’s rehabilitation of the key portion of the country’s national road system has already brought enormous benefits. The travel time between Kabul to Kandahar was cut from two days to five hours, accelerating the flow of goods into and out of villages, and providing improved access to healthcare, schools and markets to the 35 percent of Afghanistan’s population that live within 50 kilometers of the highway. The highway also reaffirms the central government’s influence in this area.Continue reading