Drug trafficking is a serious issue for Guyana, a nation that serves as a transit country for cocaine that’s delivered to other countries such as the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and West Africa. Drug trafficking influences the country’s political and judicial systems, and traffickers take advantage of Guyana’s “poorly monitored ports, remote airstrips, intricate river networks, porous land borders, and weak security sector capacity.” As a result, most of the humanitarian aid to Guyana goes toward combatting drug trafficking.

The Fight To End Drug Trafficking 

Although the country has its own laws that aim to combat drug trafficking, the humanitarian aid to Guyana significantly helps in the fight. For instance, the Guyanese government has the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act of 2009 in place in order to improve the investigative procedures of law enforcement authorities and prosecutors who are trying to obtain convictions for drug traffickers.

However, “the government has sought no prosecutions under these laws,” and a U.S. State Department report previously disclosed that the government was not doing enough to combat drug trafficking in the country. The U.S. cooperates with Guyana and other Caribbean nations through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) in order to fight illicit trafficking and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security.

Humanitarian aid to Guyana through CBSI includes efforts to improve law enforcement capabilities, border and port protection, workforce development and anti-money laundering effectiveness. CBSI-funded programs “support Guyana’s maritime operations by providing interdiction assets, including riverine patrol boats delivered in December 2013 and relevant command and control systems.” The programs also offer logistical support and training, but Guyana still believes that it needs more assistance to combat this serious issue and has asked for additional assistance from the U.S.

Combatting HIV 

While the human trafficking battle rages on, Guyana has been quite effective in its response to HIV. Humanitarian aid to Guyana to fight HIV has proven successful so far; for instance, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) was first launched in 2003 in Guyana when the country “appeared to be on the precipice of an HIV/AIDS crisis with a growing infection rate.”

The HIV/AIDS rates in Guyana have stabilized over the years as the people have an adequate supply of blood, and HIV-infected mothers receive necessary preventative care in order to prevent infecting their unborn children.

The success of humanitarian aid to Guyana in fighting the HIV virus illustrates that increasing foreign aid to combat drug trafficking can cause a plethora of positive results as a result.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian aid to NicaraguaRotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhoeal disease in the world. Killing more than 500,000 people annually, rotavirus is particularly deadly in the poorest countries in the world. The disease is easily transmitted, so immediate treatment is vital to prevent complications and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the most effective way to prevent it is the rotavirus vaccine.

In Central America, the rotavirus vaccine has been tremendously successful. The 2006 introduction of the vaccine to Nicaragua has resulted in the decrease of severe rotavirus illness and deaths, and the country has been instrumental in setting vaccination standards throughout the world. This example of humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has resulted in a domino effect that can benefit all developing countries in the fight against preventable diseases.

In addition to the rotavirus vaccine, Nicaragua has stood apart as a country intent upon eliminating deaths due to diarrhoeal disease. In the past decade, the Central American country has implemented new treatments to supplement the vaccine, including improved water treatments and an oral rehydration solution. Today, 98 percent of Nicaraguan children are vaccinated against the virus and studies show that diarrhoeal disease due to rotavirus has been all but eliminated.

Humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has been very successful in the years since the country’s vaccination expansion. Long understood as a hotbed for crime and violence, Nicaragua is living an era of peace and crime rates are down. It has become a country of innovation; in addition to a stabilized economy, Nicaragua is becoming a world power in terms of renewable energy. In 2016, the bulk of its energy came from alternative sources such as hydroelectric dams and wind farms.

Social and gender equality is also booming in the country. The mindset change has clearly had wide-reaching impacts. While its approach to the rotavirus vaccine is but a small example of Nicaragua’s dedication to innovation and improvement, its place as a world standard can influence every stage of the country’s development.

A focus on vaccination has clear and expedient effects. In the case of Nicaragua, ensuring that every child is vaccinated all but eliminated diarrhoeal disease due to rotavirus. The fact that the country was not satisfied with its own status but strove to innovate and serve as an example to countries around the world should be commended.

Humanitarian aid to Nicaragua has been widespread and the country is reaping the benefits. Coupled with U.S. resources, Nicaragua has the potential and the experience needed to bring lasting relief to countries struggling with rotavirus and other barriers to healthy and prosperous living.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to kenyaAbout 17.4 million of the poorest people in the world live in Kenya. Located in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is prone to drought and seasonal flooding, both of which have historically impeded economic progress.

In addition to environmental instability, Kenya has suffered from a history of unpredictable aid since the 1980s. As humanitarian aid to Kenya fluctuates, investment in its economy fluctuates as well. However, humanitarian aid to Kenya has stabilized since the early 1990s.

In September 2000, the government of Kenya set a list of Millennium Development Goals intended to improve the stability of aid. The biggest changes that improved the efficacy of aid are the following:

  1. New development goals focused on measurable targets.
  2. The emergence of the Internet mobilized wider participation in determining the budget for humanitarian aid to Kenya.
  3. The end of the Cold War leveled geopolitics preventing the complication of aid negotiations.

USAID and the Kenyan government have worked closely for more than 50 years to reduce the devastation stemming from recurring stressors like seasonal flooding, drought, inter-communal conflict and disease outbreaks.

Kenya is also known for having a young, well-educated workforce eager to contribute to the development of the country. This workforce has inspired renewed confidence in humanitarian aid to Kenya, propelling it forward as a leader in mobile money and communication technology.

In addition to traditional aid delivered to Kenya, herders have adapted to farming in response to dwindling open rangeland. Also, World Concern Kenya is currently focused on providing large-scale water and sanitation meant to provide clean water to 98,000 people over a period of three years.

The Republic of Kenya has fostered a friendship with the United States for many years, working together to improve access to education and healthcare as well as delegating resources to democracy programs and laying a foundation for future economic growth.

Kenya has the second largest population and the most diversified economy in East Africa. Sometimes called “The gateway to East Africa,” it is now known as a transportation hub for most of sub-Saharan Africa.

As aid continues to stabilize and increase and Kenyan citizens continue to adapt and move forward, the evidence of the impact of aid only becomes clearer.

– Rebekah Korn

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to JamaicaDespite its upper middle-income status, Jamaica is one of the slowest growing developing countries in the world. With high public debt and many external shocks, limited energy access and the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, Jamaica has a lot to improve in order to eliminate poverty and fast-track its economic growth. Successful humanitarian aid to Jamaica has addressed many of the concerning issues that will help the island move in the right direction.

A serious economic restriction for Caribbean island nations such as Jamaica is a lack of energy security. Jamaica relies on imported oil and even though prices have gone down in recent years, electricity prices are still among the highest in the Western hemisphere. Outdated power grid infrastructure, underutilized renewable energy resources and unmet potential of energy efficiency are just a few of the problems created by this energy deficient.

The USAID Caribbean Clean Energy Program is a five-year development project aimed at promoting investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency for the future. Through regional partnerships, this humanitarian aid to Jamaica works to optimize variable renewable energy integration, work with private sectors to drive investments in clean energy development and improve the environment for clean energy advancement.

Upgrading infrastructure, especially in urban areas, can mean a world of difference in enhancing community safety. The Jamaica Integrated Community Development Project helps economically and socially vulnerable communities by improving basic services like waste management, street lighting, paved roads and drainage, as well as introducing violence interrupters and school-based violence prevention. Created by a partnership with the government of Jamaica and the World Bank, this humanitarian aid to Jamaica strives to end the violence and danger that has grown as youth unemployment levels have risen.

USAID is also involved with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This U.S. government initiative works with civil society organizations to help those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. In Jamaica, there are currently an estimated 29,000 people living with HIV. The goal of the program is to ensure HIV prevention care and treatment are being addressed across the island. Humanitarian aid to Jamaica focusing on health is vital to the country’s goal of becoming a developed nation, as HIV/AIDS is most prevalent among the poor and poverty-stricken.

There is still a lot of improvement that needs to be made in Jamaica in order for it to gain developed country status. However, these humanitarian initiatives show that there is hope and potential for this island nation.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to el salvador
Located in Central America, El Salvador is considered one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the region. Despite its small size, violence runs rampant throughout the country. El Salvador has one of the world’s highest homicide rates and is known for its criminal gangs.

The country also has high rates of extreme poverty, with some living on less than $1 per day in homes without running water or electricity. The high poverty rates coupled with food insecurity have left thousands of Salvadorans in need. Through humanitarian aid to El Salvador, many individuals have had their unique needs met.

Save the Children 

Since 1980, Save the Children has worked throughout El Salvador to help children and their families with health, education, proper emergency response and violence prevention initiatives. Since 2000, child mortality has been reduced by nearly 50 percent as a result of the work of Save the Children coupled with the efforts of government agencies.

In 2016, Save the Children protected more than 26,000 children from harm, supported 133,000 children in serious times of crisis and provided 185,000 children with a healthy start. Save the children seeks to empower individuals by providing food security and a stable income. It provides lower income families that farm with the necessary seeds, livestock, tools and other temporary jobs. By doing so, children and families are more likely to grow and flourish.


Americares provides humanitarian aid to El Salvador through medical support. Its work began in the country in 1984. Since then, the organization provided emergency aid following a devastating earthquake in 1986, and has continued to meet the medical needs of the Salvadorans.

In 2003, Americares opened a family clinic. The clinic offers a low-cost alternative to other more expensive private practices. At this clinic, families have access to general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology and dentistry. Each year, the clinic serves more than 44,000 patients and acts as a model healthcare institution throughout the region.

Bikes for the World

A unique organization that operates in El Salvador is Bikes for the World. The organization has partnered with the local Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA) to provide individuals with one of the most reliable and affordable methods of transportation: a bicycle. Since 2012, Bikes for the World has donated nearly 1,000 bicycles to be used by Salvadorans.

With the majority of the population living in San Salvador or nearby suburbs, the organization recognized the need for affordable transportation for individuals living in poverty. The organization not only donates bikes, but also provides job skill training.

Located in San Marcos, a suburb of the capital of El Salvador, CESTA has a bike workshop. Local Salvadoran employees recondition donated bikes, complete repairs, sell bikes and teach bike maintenance and mechanics to at-risk urban youth. The purpose of these actions is that if individuals learn the proper mechanics of a bicycle, they then can gain employment or establish bike shops in their communities. The goal is to not only provide individuals with a method of transportation, but to also encourage economic growth and development.

These organizations have provided effective humanitarian aid to El Salvador. By meeting the direct needs of people living in poverty, the livelihood of many has been improved. While the work of these organizations has been successful, El Salvador is still in deep need of additional humanitarian assistance, as many are still living in deep poverty.

– Sarah Jane Fraser

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to botswana
Botswana is celebrated as a stable democracy in the African region and has experienced steady economic growth for a middle-income country. However, its population also struggles with damaging droughts and one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. Since Botswana is considered a middle-income country, the amount of humanitarian aid to Botswana has decreased considerably, especially when compared to other African countries such as Tanzania.

Botswana has made notable success in its mission to reduce the high HIV rates, and such an accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the humanitarian aid to Botswana from other countries. For instance, it was the “first African country to promise free antiretroviral to its citizens in partnership with the Merck Company Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Botswana’s antiretroviral program (MASA) launched in 2002, and as of 2016, it;s estimated that about 300,000 HIV-infected adults received treatment; this number corresponded to an increase from 78 percent in 2015 to 84 percent in 2016.

In addition to MASA, since 2004 Botswana has also received over $750 million through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which promotes “sustainable, high-quality, cost-effective HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care interventions.” USAID has helped implement PEPFAR in the country, and that has perhaps contributed to Botswana’s remarkable response to this epidemic. As of 2015, around 92 percent pregnant women with HIV received antiretroviral medication.

Some of the other achievements resulting from humanitarian aid to Botswana include testing and counseling for 272,634 people, and providing care and support for 1008 orphans with HIV.

While these figures demonstrate success in Botswana’s response to this epidemic, it is not clear as to how sustainable these programs are since humanitarian aid to Botswana has decreased significantly over the years. For instance, PEPFAR has made drastic cuts in its funding to Botswana, going from $84 million in 2011 to $39 million in 2015, and $28 million in 2016. So only time will tell if Botswana has reached a point where it can maintain its notable response to HIV with such considerably low funds.

– Mehruba Chowdhury
Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to Guatemala
Guatemala, the Central American home to 16 million citizens, has a rich history and culture; but it is also no stranger to hunger, poverty and violence. Considered amongst the lowest of American countries in term of human development, Guatemala’s Mayan history, the abundance of coffee beans and lush landscape is diminished by decades of dictatorial rule, civil war and lack of development.

The need to expound upon humanitarian aid to Guatemala is paramount to ensure the country continues to see development improvements. Here are a few aid efforts that are seeing success in Guatemala:


Contraception in Guatemala is expensive and often carries severe side effects. As a result, many Guatemalans have little to no access to any form of birth control. The World Health Organization has no applicable data concerning contraception prevalence, which makes it difficult to gauge the efforts to distribute modes of birth control. However, this is not stopping organizations from providing that necessity.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s goal to provide contraception has found its place in Guatemala. Working with organizations such as the Pan-American Social Marketing Organization, the Gates Foundation is educating women about their options regarding birth control and investing funds to ensure high-quality and affordable contraception is available.

Indigenous Population

Due to decades of violence, Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan population has been forced to live in rural areas of their country. In these locations, living conditions are harsh and poor; in fact, over 90 percent of indigenous Guatemalans live in extreme poverty.

To combat this, CHOICE Humanitarian is providing aid to Guatemala’s indigenous population through a number of programs. Due to the lack of infrastructure in these areas, CHOICE is creating programs to provide access to basic needs, including fresh water, healthcare and education.

Amongst the CHOICE initiatives to provide humanitarian aid to Guatemala are major projects such as the construction of schools and a hospital. Over 100,000 indigenous people have been positively impacted as a direct result of CHOICE Humanitarian’s work to serve rural areas.


Guatemala’s educational system is rife with inequality. While nearly every child begins primary school, middle school enrollment rates often fall in most areas to just 40 percent. For those that remain, less than half meet national standards for math and reading; and for the Guatemalan children that don’t continue their education, they rarely have the technical and vocational skills to find a job.

This alarming window into Guatemala’s educational system is challenged by organizations such as USAID. Primarily by supporting Guatemala’s Ministry of Education, national standards are stronger than ever and new training programs are resulting in the hire of better teachers. To bridge the language barrier between Spanish and the many Mayan dialects, USAID and the Ministry of Education have expanded bilingual programs and hired more diverse educators. To combat the 30 percent of sixth graders that achieve national reading standards, it expanded its National Reading Program to reach two million more children.

Humanitarian aid to Guatemala has definitely produced success stories such as access to contraception, quality education and outreach programs to Guatemala’s much-neglected Mayan population to name just a few; however, there is still much more to be done. The country is currently in the middle of a healthcare crisis that is claiming countless lives.

Poverty and hunger are rampant in this nation, and the globe must lead the way to ensuring that Guatemala’s development endeavors remain on track.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian Aid to GhanaThe need for proper nutrition and health professionals has driven the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana. Within ten years, Ghana witnessed a decrease in its poverty rate from 52 percent to 28 percent in 2016.


As of 2016, 1.2 million Ghanaians still experienced food insecurity and chronic undernutrition. Furthermore, there is a high prevalence of stunting, recording 37 percent of children in the Northern Province alone. There are also many reported cases of wasting, particularly in the Upper West area of Ghana.

To combat these issues, Ghana joined the national Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2011 to improve nutrition among its population. With USAID’s support and donations, Ghanaians focused on improving the country’s nutritional funding and the way in which rations are measured and prioritized.

Furthermore, USAID’s Feed the Future targets the northern, impoverished regions of the country. It hopes to make the food value chains affordable, strengthen vulnerable communities and improve the nutritional state of women and children.

In 2014, USAID applied three Feed the Future chain projects to lead the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana:

  1. The Systems for Health project reduces the levels of stunting, wasting and anemia in women and children in five of Ghana’s more vulnerable sectors.
  2. The Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project targets poverty and malnutrition in vulnerable households.
  3. The Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project is concerned with alleviating stunting and anemia in children under five.

Data between 2008 and 2011 indicates progress among all Ghanaian children under the age of five. The total prevalence of stunting decreased from 28 percent to 23 percent, while wasting dropped a total of 3 percent. The occurrence of anemia among children dropped more significantly from 78 percent to 57 percent. With USAID’s new programs, these numbers are predicted to decline even more drastically.

Health Professionals

UNICEF fights to break the Ghanaian norm for mothers to give birth at home, without a health professional. According to a study done in 2012, only 57 percent of births were attended by a midwife or health clinic professional.

A Ghanaian birth attendant named Kasua Musah works alongside UNICEF and the Ghana Health Service to break tradition and advocate for in-clinic deliveries.

Together, they utilize the community radio, along with street theatre and home visits to promote safe birth. The combination of these methods reached out to around 360 communities, including four of the more destitute regions.

As a result, they altered tradition within the Central Region and increased the number of patients in the maternity ward sector of the region’s largest hospital. Even further, the radio empowered those who had negative experiences with the clinic staff, enforcing improvement and new training methods.

Further training was provided for midwives, ensuring the betterment of at-home births. Overall, Ghana improved the patient-to-nurse relationship.

Lowering the child and female mortality rates through improved birthing processes, but also through augmenting nutritional programs, is what propelled the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana.

– Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to TanzaniaTanzania has seen a rapid increase in its growth rate over the years, becoming a hub for foreign assistance from a myriad of countries, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations. Despite increases of humanitarian aid to Tanzania, poverty continues to persist in predominately rural zones of the country.

A 2008 country report indicated that 36 percent of the population was living beneath the poverty line. To account for this, Tanzania became an integral component of President Obama’s strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa. Under the Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), programs were launched to spark economic empowerment for women and children. Furthermore, the object aimed to “achieve inclusive, broad-based, and economic growth – to advance Tanzania’s advancement toward middle-income status by 2025.”

The aim of humanitarian aid to Tanzania is to provide economic empowerment for those residing in rural and urban areas, as well as providing direct humanitarian assistance for those in need.


Some forms of assistance have come from philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who announced that their foundation will invest $300 million in Tanzania toward public health and poverty reduction programs. Bill Gates spoke on the improvements in the way foreign aid was being spent in the developing world, noting that aid spending was occurring in a “smarter way.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided an extensive amount of money toward development aid projects in recent years, according to Reuters. Gates added that eradicating both malaria and HIV in Tanzania were essential in inspiring any direct change.

Foreign Assistance

The United Nations started an initiative in 2016 to respond to a severe cholera outbreak which impacted 19 regions of the country. Their aim was to allocate $11 million to respond to the urgent needs of refugees fleeing from Burundi at the time.

Since then, other medical issues have surfaced because of inadequate resources as well as a decline in funding from international donors. Specifically, there is an increase in sexual and reproductive health concerns, as well as malaria, which is attributed to refugees who reside in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

The success of humanitarian aid to Tanzania, however, stems from the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This operation is sought to target severely underfunded emergencies in 94 countries and territories and has now allocated almost $4.2 billion in aid.

Room for Improvement

Despite Tanzania’s remarkable increase in GDP growth at seven percent per annum from 2003-2012, the reflection of this growth was not accurately represented. According to the CDCS report, Tanzania’s population living below the $1.25 per day global poverty line was at 68 percent in 2007.

Additionally, farmers residing in rural areas were much more impoverished than those residing in urban areas. In order for Tanzania to implement effective change in its development strategy, the CDCS advised the government of Tanzania to increase regional economic integration.

Final Thoughts

More pragmatic approaches include rectifying the education sector, providing employment opportunities in rural areas as well as promoting exports by reducing trade barriers. Humanitarian aid to Tanzania can be successful with the integration of Tanzanian women and youth, who are largely marginalized and underutilized segments of the population. Further, the continuous wave of refugees and asylum seekers who have been fleeing persecution or natural disaster from neighboring countries have impacted efforts of eradicating extreme poverty.

Tanzania is one of the ten largest U.S. aid recipients in Africa. Despite potential cuts to foreign assistance, USAID still maintains efforts to provide aid and opportunities for citizens who are desperate to lift themselves out of poverty.

– Alexandre Dumouza

Photo: Flickr