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Diplomacy in Action

Message from the USAID Administrator

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
February 15, 2013


Photo of Rajiv Shah, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator.

Several years ago, we set ourselves the ambitious task of transforming USAID into the world's premier development agency-a modern development enterprise that could represent the best of American ideals abroad, while advancing the safety and prosperity of Americans at home. Under the strong leadership of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, USAID has made real progress in harnessing the power of American generosity and ingenuity to improve human welfare worldwide. We call this approach "open-source development," and it reflects our desire to literally open development to problem-solvers everywhere-from universities to faith-based organizations to private sector partners. Working together, we can unlock the expertise of a vast community and solve some of the greatest development challenges of our time.

To meet this mission with renewed capacity, we embarked on a set of fundamental reforms called USAID Forward. Today, these reforms have moved well beyond their initial phase and have become an intrinsic part of the way we do business every day. For example, we're increasingly working with new communities and strengthening existing partnerships to create the conditions where our assistance will no longer be necessary. In Afghanistan, we partnered directly with the Ministry of Health to help expand access to basic services from only nine percent to 64 percent of the country, leading to the largest decreases in maternal and child mortality of any country in the last decade.

Over the past year, we have pursued rigorous, thoughtful, and results-oriented approaches to solve development challenges around the world on a meaningful scale.

In October, we released the first Feed the Future Progress Report, which showcases early results of the President's global food security initiative, including helping 1.8 million people adopt improved technologies or management practices. We have also reached 8.8 million children through nutrition programs that have reduced anemia, support community gardens, and treated acute malnutrition.

Drawing on lessons learned during last year's drought in the Horn of Africa-as well as decades of experience responding to disasters-USAID is pioneering a fundamental new approach to help communities strengthen their resilience in the face of crises. Today, we're utilizing this approach in the Sahel, where thanks to our early warning systems, we began responding as early as last November to the food crisis and have reached more than 3.2 million people with assistance. At the same time, we're investing in the resilience of local communities, helping families plant highly-nutritious, drought-tolerant crops, and farmers improve water management and soil fertility to re-green their lands.

Building on our nation's long legacy of bipartisan leadership in global health, USAID joined the United Nations Children's Fund and the Governments of India and Ethiopia in hosting a Call to Action to end preventable child death. As a result, more than 160 governments-including the United States-have signed a pledge to end preventable child death, and we've forged more than 20 new public-private partnerships, including with mobile telecom companies, like Intel, Vodafon, and Qualcomm, to empower community health workers with cutting-edge mobile technologies.

Across the world, we are strengthening democracy, human rights, and governance, with a special emphasis on marginalized populations, including women, youth, and individuals with disabilities. In February, we launched our new Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, designed to become a core evidenced based resource in the field and strengthen our Agency's culture of data and evaluation.

I am pleased to certify that the performance and financial data in this report are complete and reliable. A more expansive discussion of the FY 2012 performance and data sources is available in the FY 2012 Foreign Assistance Performance Report published in the FY 2014 Foreign Operations Congressional Budget Justification.

Today, our efforts to harness the ingenuity of our young people build on more than fifty years of engaging the American people and serving their interests by improving the lives of people everywhere. The challenge for us moving forward will be to focus the vast potential of the development community on achieving profound results at a greater scale than ever before.

USAID seal.
Signature of Rajiv Shah.
Rajiv Shah
USAID Administrator
February 2013


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