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USAID Impact Newsletter February, 2015

by Portal Web Editor last modified Feb 28, 2015 10:31 PM
Contributors: USAID
I have been blessed every day for the last five years to serve alongside an extraordinarily talented community of professionals. To honor their service, we interviewed staff from around the world and asked them to reflect on their experience at USAID. Not only did they share invaluable lessons learned, but they gave a voice to how our staff has worked to transform our Agency in unprecedented ways. In hearing directly from our staff, I hope you take a moment to reflect on their courage, talent, and commitment to the American people and those in greatest need.

Last week, I had the opportunity to share my final reflections as USAID Administrator at an event hosted jointly by the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for American Progress. The bipartisan support and heartfelt passion for our mission was evident in the room that day, and it reminded me how fortunate we are to serve a mission bigger and better than ourselves. This mission requires not only exceptional partners and staff, but also a strong, empowered, and accountable development agency. I ask you to keep fighting for a strong, singular leadership voice that seizes bold opportunities in development, because our national security depends on it and the communities we serve deserve it.

Whether you have worked with our Agency for many years or a few months, we will remain committed to partnering with you to end extreme poverty. I am confident that Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt will continue to carry forward our new model of development--one grounded in an embrace of new partnerships and a relentless focus on delivering real results.

I have been blessed every day for the last five years to serve alongside an extraordinarily talented community of professionals. To honor their service, we interviewed staff from around the world and asked them to reflect on their experience at USAID. Not only did they share invaluable lessons learned, but they gave a voice to how our staff has worked to transform our Agency in unprecedented ways. In hearing directly from our staff, I hope you take a moment to reflect on their courage, talent, and commitment to the American people and those in greatest need.

Best,

Raj Shah
Raj Shah
USAID Administrator

USAID IN THE NEWS

INSIDE THE FIGHT TO END EBOLA


Despite a lack of attention, the American government's response to the Ebola crisis has been not just good; it's been nothing short of spectacular. It happened fast. And it changed reality for the better not on one but on two fronts—both domestically and in the three affected West African nations. (THE DAILY BEAST)

BETTER BATH RITUALS IS ONE WAY BANGLADESH IS SAVING ITS NEWBORNS


Bangladesh still sees 129,000 deaths of children under 5 each year, but in the last two decades, the mortality rate has fallen from 144 deaths to 41 deaths per 1,000 births. USAID is supporting simple interventions to improve newborn care in underserved districts. (NPR)

FROM HAITI'S EARTHQUAKE TO EBOLA, HE HAD 5 BUSY YEARS AT USAID


How's this for a tough first week on the job: An earthquake rocked Haiti just five days after physician Rajiv Shah took over as head of the main U.S. agency for overseas disaster relief. The death toll was about 200,000. The U.S. was scrambling to mobilize a response. And President Obama decided Shah should be the one to lead it.(NPR) External Link Arrow

PEACE-GAMING BY U.S. ADAPTS A MILITARY TOOL TO DEFEND THREATS


USAID is reinventing military war-gaming -- an ancient concept -- to prevent wars rather than win battles. Instead of maneuvering virtual armies, the nation’s main foreign aid agency is staging peace games and deploying data to map the many elements that can tip a country into chaos and war.(BLOOMBERG)

U.S. TO GIVE $1 BILLION TO FUND IMMUNIZATIONS


The U.S. government plans to donate $1 billion over the next four years to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to fund immunizations for millions of children in developing countries. By far it’s largest pledge ever, USAID hope to see these funds combat increasing vaccine costs and prevent the biggest childhood killers.(THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

US OFFICIALS WARN EBOLA FIGHT 'FAR FROM OVER'


"This is the largest U.S. response to a global health emergency in history, and we are seeing remarkable progress," said Jeremy Konyndyk, “But the fight is far from over. We know based on previous outbreaks that it can be a long and bumpy road to get to zero." (THE HILL)

AFTER GAINS, EBOLA EFFORTS SHIFT FROM KEEPING UP WITH NEW CASES TO ELIMINATING THE EPIDEMIC


After a strong response calmed the immediacy of the Ebola crisis, President Obama reported that "Our focus now is getting to zero, because as long as there is even one case of Ebola that’s active out there, risk still exists. Every case is an ember that, if not contained, can light a new fire. So we’re shifting our focus from fighting the epidemic to now extinguishing it."(PBS NEWSHOUR) External Link Arrow

FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA STILL NOT OVER


Andrea Mitchell talks with outgoing USAID administrator Raj Shah about the progress made in the fight against Ebola—a fight that still isn’t over.(MSNBC)

USAID ADMINISTRATOR RAJIV SHAH


“For the past five years, Rajiv Shah served as the point person for America’s international aid and development efforts. It’s a mission that’s encompassed everything from disaster response to managing critical civilian projects in war zones and navigating controversy. Kojo chats with Shah about USAID’s evolving priorities as he prepares to step down from his post later this month.” (THE KOJO NNAMDI SHOW)

"A STRONG, EMPOWERED, ACCOUNTABLE, DEVELOPMENT AGENCY"


Ahead of USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s final speech at the American Enterprise Institute(hosted jointly with the Center for American Progress), Politico Playbook featured this excerpt: "First and foremost, we must celebrate our people as national heroes. They do not wear uniforms or win medals, but they risk their lives in service to our country and our mission of providing help to those in need. We know that achieving this mission not only requires exceptional people, but also a strong, empowered, and accountable development agency."(POLITICO PLAYBOOK)

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