Our "Photo of the Week" comes to us from USAID photographer Morgana Wingard and depicts women collecting clean drinking water. Abebow Gesesse, the owner of a poultry farm in Mojo, Ethiopia, received a loan from Dashen Bank thanks to a USAID guarantee through their Development Credit Authority program. The loan allowed him to buy his own truck, construct an additional barn, and build a well and water pump for his farm. Abebow invited the 200 households in his town to access the water at no cost. One of the women said, "Before we had access to this water pump we would have to walk 6 kilometers to be able to purchase clean water. Abebow lets the community access his water pump for free, saving us hours every day."
This week, the White House announced a series of initiatives from across government to harness innovation for global development in support of President Obama's Policy Directive on Global Development. Released in Fall 2010, the directive recognizes that development is vital to U.S. national security and is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States. It charts a course for development, diplomacy and defense to mutually reinforce and complement one another. The directive also calls for investments in science, technology, and innovation to accelerate progress toward development goals in health, food security, climate change, energy and environmental sustainability, and broad-based economic growth. President Obama said, "We're expanding scientific collaboration with other countries and investing in game-changing science and technology to help spark historic leaps in development."
As part of these broader efforts, USAID recently announced the Higher Education Solutions Network program, which invites higher education institutions to compete to join USAID as new strategic, long-term partners and makes it easier to turn ideas from students and professors into action and results in the field. This announcement expands upon USAID's long tradition of engagement with universities, colleges, research institutes, and other institutions of higher education.
On February 9, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the President's Global Development Council, which will inform and provide advice to the President and other senior U.S. officials on U.S. global development policies and practices, support new and existing public-private partnerships, and increase awareness and action in support of development by soliciting public input on current and emerging issues in the field of global development. The Council will be comprised of government officials as well as no more than 12 individuals from a variety of sectors, such as institutions of high education, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, civil society, and private industry.