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U.S. Agency for International Development

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The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is "headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has field offices in many of the countries."

"USAID is headed by an Administrator and Deputy Administrator, both appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate." [1]

"The Advisory Committee On Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) was established by Presidential directive after World War II to serve as a link between the U.S. Government and private voluntary organizations (PVOs) active in humanitarian assistance and development work overseas." [2]

Overview

"USAID's history goes back to the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe after World War Two and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created by executive order USAID.

"Since that time, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.

"USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. [Its] Work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting:

  • economic growth, agriculture and trade;
  • global health; and
  • democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

The USAID provides "assistance in four regions of the world:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Asia and the Near East;
  • Latin America and the Caribbean, and;
  • Europe and Eurasia.

Personnel

Selling Aid

"The U.S., which saw positive PR results from the millions donated to Indonesia after the tsunami devastation in May, wants a PR firm to spread awareness that Uncle Sam has given over $1 billion to the archipelago over the last 50 years." The U.S. Agency for International Development requested proposals for a $350,000 to $370,000 campaign promoting American efforts "in partnership with Indonesians to generate prosperity and a better quality of life." The contract includes research, polling, public service announcements and "other aspects of a social marketing campaign." APCO, Ogilvy and Weber Shandwick already work in Indonesia, a majority Muslim country and key U.S. ally in the "war on terror." [8]

USAID in Iraq

On 11 August 2006, "The U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the Iraq Community Stabilization cooperative agreement to International Relief and Development (IRD), an Arlington, Virginia based non-governmental organization specializing in providing relief and development programs in civil society, food security, health, humanitarian assistance, infrastructure, and economic development." [9]

USAID in Haiti

The U.S. Agency for International Development's Haiti Field Report "provides an excellent case study for investigating the role of USAID in promoting U.S. foreign policy objectives under the friendly guise of aid," writes Sasha Kramer in Counterpunch. [10]

"The United States is primarily concerned with Haiti's upcoming elections. ... In Haiti, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, the timeliness and appearance of legitimacy of the electoral process are of paramount importance for the Bush Administration's PR machine." USAID, she writes, has a "strategy for pacifying Haiti's largest political party, Lavalas, though selective distribution of aid." For example, USAID established a "Play for Peace" summer camp in the neighborhood of a popular priest and Lavalas activist. According to Kramer, USAID concluded, "The fruits of these efforts were seen during a recent demonstration attended by 200 people. At the same time ... 300 people were enjoying the summer camp. It is believed that the camp prevented the demonstration from being larger and giving greater legitimacy to the protesters."

USAID in the Palestinian Territories

In the summer of 2005, a USAID program was launched in the Palestinian territories to put $2 million towards a series of "small, popular projects and events," such as computer donations, a soccer tournament, and free food and water at border crossings, prior to the January 25, 2006 elections. The program "bears no evidence of U.S. involvement," and a newspaper ad campaign (also funded by the U.S.) gives credit to the Palestinian Authority, "which the public closely identifies with Fatah." The program, called the "Gaza Action Plan Support Unit," was advised by former Army Special Forces member Larry Sampler managed by the private consulting firm ARD. [11]

A report on the program said its goal was "a constant stream of announcements and public outreach about positive happenings ... in the critical week before the elections." U.S. officials were concerned that the governing Fatah party will lose parliamentary seats to Hamas. "We are not favoring any particular party," said James A. Bever, the USAID mission director for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "But we do not support parties that are on the terrorism list." A Hamas leader called for an investigation, while other Palestinian politicians criticized the program. "Let us do our elections entirely on our own," said Mustafa Barghouti. "This effort was completely counterproductive." [12] [13]

USAID in the "Moderate Muslim" World

"The Bush administration has made promoting education a focus of assistance to friendly Muslim countries through the United States Agency for International Development," Jane Perlez reported for the New York Times in August 2006. "Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iraq have all received increased American funds in the last several years for building schools and training teachers and administrators." [14]

"Indonesia, a moderate Muslim country, was added to the list, American officials said, because of concerns about a growing streak of fundamentalism among graduates of privately run Islamic religious schools, known as pesantren." U.S. education-related assistance to Indonesia is planned to total $157 million, over five years. RTI International is organizing the U.S.-funded teacher trainings in Indonesia. [15]

USAID in Nigeria

USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) funds the Nigeria Journalism Network which "is designed to create a network of journalists in Nigeria committed to strengthening the media and promoting democracy." "This is a project that was initiated by The Institute of World Affairs (IWA) in cooperation with Global Communication Solutions (GCS)." [16]

Contact

U.S. Agency for International Development
Information Center
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, D.C. 20523-1000
Telephone: 202-712-4320
Fax: 202-216-3524
Web: http://www.usaid.gov

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