Collaborating with hundreds of institutional partners around the world, DAI is working to bring about transformational development on many levels—for regions and nations, companies and communities, families and individuals. Here are some of their stories.
From Desert, Mountain, and Plain: Afghanistan’s First-Ever Nomad Gathering
Known collectively as “Kuchi,” the nomadic peoples of Afghanistan recently convened in Kabul for a historic assembly to address longstanding issues specific to their community. The National Conference on Kuchi Affairs, sponsored by the Assistance to Legislative Bodies of Afghanistan (ALBA) project, afforded Kuchis access to Members of Parliament, the President’s Special Representative on Reform and Good Governance, and officials from numerous ministries and directorates. Never before has any state or international body brought together this disparate community.
Somalia’s New Agribusiness Incubation Center Offers Practical Training to Farmers, With Focus on Women
Beginning in the 2014 growing season, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) started investing in economic growth in South Central Somalia. Working through its local partner, the Somali Agricultural Technical Group, USAID’s Partnership for Economic Growth (PEG) project has established three demonstration plots—in Afgoi, Awdheegle, and Bal’ad—to showcase best practices in agronomy for local horticulture, maize, legume, and fodder varieties. Women farmers have benefited from this training.
Improved Pig Pens Help Northern Thailand Communities Brace for Effects of Climate Change
New animal housing structures and a more physically robust breed of pig that is better able to withstand heat increases are being introduced to the villages of northern Thailand by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) project and its partners, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Thailand and the Mae Chan District Livestock Department.
After Typhoon Haiyan: How Do We Build Back Better?
On November 7, typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines. While rescue and relief personnel have worked valiantly to meet the most urgent needs of the estimated 4.3 million people displaced, full recovery will take years and test the substance of the Philippines national and local governments and the international development community
Project Improves Business Environment in Morocco in Midst of Political Upheaval
In just three and a half years, the Morocco Economic Competitiveness (MEC) program accomplished an ambitious scope of work: reducing barriers to trade and investment in two rural regions at a time when economic turmoil—particularly in Europe—and political change across the Middle East and North Africa had a profound impact on Morocco.
Youth Workforce Development Efforts in Serbia Lead to Internships, Jobs, and New Businesses
Workforce development was a relatively late addition to the $25 million Preparedness, Planning and Economic Security (PPES) project implemented by DAI from 2006 to early 2013. Added to the project by the client, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in mid-2008, the activities eventually became known as the “Youth Support” sub-component and addressed one of the most common issues raised by many small and medium sized enterprises—a dearth of qualified talent in Serbia.
Market-Driven Approach Delivers Far-Reaching Results in Burundi
At the beginning of the Burundi Agribusiness Program (BAP), women participants would stand in the back of training sessions and remain quiet. But as time went on, they gradually began moving to the front. By the end of the program, they felt empowered to speak on issues without permission from men. BAP was one of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s first post-conflict initiatives aimed at increasing sustainable and diversified private sector growth. Beginning in 2007—as the country was transitioning from 15 years of civil strife—this five-year project focused on strengthening the coffee, horticulture, and dairy sectors, as well as promoting natural resource management, improving financial inclusion, and empowering women.
Project Helps Vietnam Cut Red Tape, Hone Competitiveness, and Boost Economic Growth
A DAI-led project in Vietnam that touched the lives of 60,000 private businesspeople, partnered with five government entities, and many more institutions and groups has come to a close after 10 years. The Vietnam Competitiveness Initiative (USAID/VNCI), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in two phases, started in 2003 with the goal of redefining the concepts of governance and competitiveness in Vietnam by supporting high-priority, complex initiatives in regulatory reform and infrastructure development.
Agricultural Credit: Delivering the Development Promise in Afghanistan
Following 10 years of foreign assistance, Afghan farmers have acquired the knowledge to increase productivity and improve produce, but access to finance was, until recently, a binding constraint. Lack of access to agricultural credit was preventing farmers from putting newly acquired knowledge into practice. Against all odds, the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) is providing thousands of farmers and agribusinesses with loans for everything from buying certified seed to building farm equipment.
USAID and DAI help Serbian Youth Realize Innovative Business Ideas
Sanja Knezevic presented her business plan with confidence. She argued that the addition of a conference facility to a new tourist complex in the rural, southern Serbian village of Latkovac would increase off-season occupancy nearly 300 percent. The young entrepreneur explained how additional revenue would finance other planned projects for Ethno Village, a small tourist enterprise she founded and owns. She aims to draw people from across the region attracted by its art, theater, music, and environmental programs. If Sanja could acquire additional funding for her plan, five employees could count on year-round employment. More workers might also be hired.
Serbia Project Winds Down on High Note, With Opening of First Halal Shop
In late 2011, the DAI-led Preparedness, Planning, and Economic Security (PPES) project invited 15 companies—which all showed potential for growth and a commitment to invest their own time and money—to participate in the business support component of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project. That component, and the rest of the project, has now wound down after helping 204 companies generate sales growth that averaged 36 percent between 2008 and 2012.
Urban Gardens Program Closes With Dramatic Results For Ethiopian Women and Children
The Urban Gardens Program in Ethiopia ended in September after creating more than 500 community and school vegetable gardens across 20 cities and towns in six provinces. The program worked hand-in-hand with 51 local partner organizations to train community gardeners on innovative, yet practical, agricultural approaches, good nutrition, and savings. Funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the project helped marginalized, HIV-affected women and children by improving their health and financial stability.
Haitian Farmers See Increased Income While Better Managing Their Natural Resources
A wide-ranging project aimed at improving Haiti’s natural resource management and the lives of hillside farmers marked its close last month with a number of major successes—including higher incomes for farmers and the formation of a regional forum to carry on improving farm production while protecting natural resources. The five-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), focused on six major components in two watersheds—and pivoted midstream to support relief efforts in the wake of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.
USAID Project Catalyzes Economic Growth, Reaches More Than 1 Million Cambodians
One of DAI’s most wide-reaching economic growth projects marked its close this fall with a remarkable tally of results that speak to the success of an approach based on unleashing the technical knowhow and market linkages already latent in the Cambodian economy. The project—which aimed to improve Cambodia’s business friendliness and economic vitality—touched the lives of 1.3 million people in its four-year second phase alone.
Project Brings Together Divergent Ethnic Groups in Sri Lanka
A film documenting an annual pilgrimage in Sri Lanka shows the promise of peace for an island too long torn apart by war. The film was produced by the DAI-led Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North (RISEN) project, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).