2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: U.S. Agency for International Development Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund
USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund assists civilian victims of conflict in developing countries. Established in 1989, it is a dedicated source of financial and technical support for people with disabilities, particularly those who sustain injuries from anti-personnel mines, UXO, and other injuries resulting from armed conflict and civil strife. To date, the Fund has provided approximately $275 million in assistance to more than 50 countries.
The Leahy War Victims Fund was originally tasked with the delivery of immediate care to civilians impacted by landmines and UXO, including the provision of prosthetics, orthotics, and rehabilitation services. Its scope subsequently widened to include initiatives that accommodate the changing needs of the populations it serves and to promote sustainable rehabilitation services in conflict-affected countries. The Fund also supports the development of international standards as well as training on those standards to ensure that rehabilitation practitioners and institutions have sufficient capacity.
A good example of programming supported by the Leahy War Victims Fund in 2017 is the $5 million TEAM project implemented by World Vision in Colombia. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017, the project partnered with three local institutions to focus on: training for rehabilitation service personnel; economic empowerment; assistive technology delivery; and medical and physical rehabilitation for people with disabilities. The project was implemented in areas particularly affected by conflict, high poverty rates, and a shortage of quality services. Over the life of the initiative, more than 1,000 people with disabilities received assistive products; over 1,600 people received rehabilitation services; over 1,900 rehabilitation service providers received training; and over 400 people with disabilities and their families enjoyed increased economic opportunity.
The Leahy War Victims Fund also launched two new activities in 2017, one in Laos in partnership with PM/WRA, and one in Georgia. Both activities strengthen in-country provision of rehabilitation services and expand access to assistive products. This includes direct support to beneficiaries; the strengthening of service providers through physical therapy associations, academic programs, and on the job training; and the promotion of rehabilitation-related policies and standards that reflect international best practices. Spending approximately $12 million in 2017, the Leahy War Victims Fund also continued to support activities in Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Laos, Nepal, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The Fund also continues to support several global initiatives spanning multiple countries. This includes support to the International Committee of the Red Cross MoveAbility Foundation with a geographic emphasis on Africa, and the World Health Organization to support the development of international standards related to rehabilitation, assistive technology, and increased access to appropriate assistive products.