USAID SuccessesThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the nation’s premier agency for delivering foreign aid. Its website says its mission is to promote “efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance.” Although it is based in the United States (U.S.), the agency operates all around the world, providing humanitarian aid. As an organization that has been around for more than 60 years, it has involved itself in various undertakings and acts of service. The following are some recent USAID successes.

COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, people all over the world, especially those who live in poverty require assistance. The organization recognizes this, with one of the prominent recent USAID successes on its website being its COVID-19 response. The organization provided more than $10.6 billion in efforts to make the U.S. a global leader in the fight against the Coronavirus. After vaccines were released, the country also aimed to make a difference there. To that end, the organization distributed more than 682 million vaccines to 116 countries. This success was built on previous work. For example, in the U.S., it was the domestic American Rescue Plan that was put in place to deal with the pandemic. In fact, USAID had been dealing with pandemics for years, from Ebola to malaria.

Crisis in Sudan

In more recent news, USAID has been closely monitoring the ongoing political crisis in Sudan. The organization highlighted issues such as the continuing food crisis, lack of medical care and gender-based violence. Already the biggest provider of foreign aid to Sudan, the U.S. worked with USAID alongside other international partners to coordinate its response. In April 2023, USAID administrator Samantha Power announced that a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was set up in Kenya, as well as a Response Management Team in Washington D.C. Operatives on the ground are providing food, water and maternal health care.

Earthquakes in Haiti

In 2021, a massive 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti, killing 2,200 people and leaving 600,000 in need of assistance. Responding swiftly, USAID mobilized a response team on the day of the earthquake. Despite the unpredictability of earthquakes, Haiti’s 2010 earthquake prepared the team for the worst possible outcomes. Search and Rescue workers were able to do immediate work assessing the damage. USAID led the way in international efforts to provide aid. One year later, it provided nearly $60 million in humanitarian assistance for people in the worst affected areas.

The War in Ukraine

During wartime, there is a need for people to stay connected, not just with loved ones, but with fellow citizens. Apart from USAID offering humanitarian aid, it is also working with contemporary social media. In 2020, Ukraine launched the Diia app, which gives ordinary citizens more of a voice in their government and promotes their businesses. The organization provided additional funding to improve the app and expand its services during the war. This turned out to be even more necessary after the Russian invasion, where Diia helped with sharing information about airstrikes.

USAID also credited the app, noting that half of Ukraine’s adult population has downloaded it. Ukraine would like to expand the app to countries in the global south, and Moldova has shown an interest. This is still a new program, with only $650,000 set aside to promote its development thus far. But based on the trends in Ukraine, it could do great things in politically unstable countries in the future.

Fighting Hardship

These recent USAID successes show the scope of the agency’s work in fighting hardship across the world. It works with many global organizations to deliver help to countries that are less fortunate. From its robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine distribution, to its swift assistance in crisis-stricken regions like Sudan and Haiti, USAID has demonstrated its commitment to saving lives and alleviating suffering. Additionally, its support for innovative initiatives like the Diia app in Ukraine showcases the agency’s dedication to fostering connectivity, empowerment and progress in politically unstable regions.

– Josh Sobchak
Photo: Flickr