VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – Outlined below are the top 10 accomplishments of U.S. Foreign Aid:
1. Promoting Education
USAID efforts in education saw literacy rates shoot up 33 percent worldwide in the last 25 years, and primary school enrollment tripled in the same period.
One notable example is Afghanistan. USAID helped to reconstruct Afghan’s education system that was once derailed by conflict and turmoil. Although there were approximately 900,000 students in school in 2002, none were girls. Girls were not allowed to pursue an education under a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Currently, more than one-third of eight million students enrolled in school are girls. University enrollment has risen from 8,000 to 77,000, of which 19,000 are females. USAID has bolstered these advances by building 605 schools, trained 53,000 teachers (31 percent female) in 11 provinces, developed the only Master’s in Education degree in Afghanistan at Kabul Education University, and graduated 44 professors (50 percent female).
2. Reducing Infant Mortality Rates
USAID child survival programs have made significant contributions toward reducing infant mortality rates by 10 percent in eight years. An estimated six million children under the age of five are saved each year through USAID-funded interventions such as newborn resuscitation for birth asphyxia, zinc supplementation to treat diarrhea, and micronutrient supplementation to treat malnutrition, oral rehydration therapy and immunization programs.
3. Creating New Global Markets
Forty-three countries that were once recipients of U.S. foreign aid are now among the top 50 consumer nations of American agricultural products. According to USAID, US exports to developing and transition countries increased by $46 billion during 1990 and 1993.
4. Responding to HIV/AIDS
USAID has initiated HIV/AIDS prevention programs in 32 countries since 1987. Over 850,000 people have undergone the USAID HIV prevention education, and 40,000 people have been trained to facilitate HIV/AIDS programs in their own countries.
Its greatest impact may be felt in South Africa where USAID made possible the placement of over 1.4 million people on antiretroviral treatment and ensured over two million HIV-infected people receive care and support services. USAID is acknowledged as the trailblazer in the concept and development of HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the developing world.
5. Improving Health Care
Life expectancy in the developing world has seen an overall increase of 33 percent.
Previously, one Afghan woman would die from pregnancy-related cause every two hours. With USAID intervention programs, Afghan’s women and children’s access to health care services have radically increased. Currently, over 60 percent of the population lives within a one-hour walking distance to the nearest health care facility. The presence of a trained provider at birth has more than doubled, and this has led to a significantly lower maternal mortality rate.
6. Early Detection of Natural Disasters
Eighty thousand people and $1 billion in US and Filipino assets were protected as a result of early disaster warning. Volcano Disaster Assistant Program (VDAP) accurately predicted the second largest eruption of the century–Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991. VDAP works through USAID to lessen fatalities and economic losses in territories going through a volcano emergency.
7. Promoting Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
USAID’s role in the United Nations Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade saw 1.3 billion people receiving safe drinking water sources, and 750 million people receiving sanitation for the first time.
8. Establishing Immunization Programs
Each year, more than three million lives are saved through USAID immunization programs, a simple and cost effective way to save children’s lives. It aims at having every child in the developing world fully immunized in the first year of his or her life.
9. Developing Oral Rehydration Therapy
Oral rehydration therapy (ORT), a low cost treatment for diarrhea, was developed through USAID for the developing world. It has been credited with saving tens of millions of children suffering from severe dehydration, often as a result of diarrhea and severe malnutrition. In 1979, USAID became the leading donor investor in the establishment of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, where scientists continue to advance ORT further.
10. Creating New and Emerging Start-Ups
Millions of entrepreneurs worldwide, many of whom women, have started or enhanced small businesses through USAID assistance.
USAID in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Program executed a variety of activities to promote entrepreneurship throughout Egypt. In 2011, USAID helped launch 58 innovative businesses in Egypt. An estimated 85 percent of the new start-up firms are in the Information and Communication Technology sector, three businesses in recycling and renewable energy, while the rest are in transportation, manufacturing, and other sectors.
– Flora Khoo