USAID logo


United States Agency for International Development

Governmental agency providing technical assistance and funding throughout the world.
Brief Overview
Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, USAID is a federally funded development agency of the United States. USAID focuses on the concept of participatory development, which it defines as “the active engagement of partners and customers in sharing ideas, committing time and resources, making decisions, and taking action to bring about a desired development objective.” The agency aims to advance the political and economic interests of the United States through its programs, and U.S. products and services are used to this end. USAID works worldwide to democratize the development process by involving people in the decisions made about their countries and communities for greater sustainability.
Contact Information
web site:
U.S. Agency for International Development
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, D.C. 20523-0016
telephone: (+1) (202) 712 4810
fax: (+1) (202) 216 3524

Stated Goals
1. Development priorities are to be set in the host country by those who must sustain them, and decisions about development assistance reached jointly with them.
2. USAID assistance complements the “social energies” and commitments shown by the recipient society.
3. USAID programs are accountable to the end user or customer.
4. USAID programs aim to strengthen the capacity of the host-country society—particularly the poor—to take the next steps in improving conditions and opportunities in a sustainable way.
Regions of Work
Africa, Asia and the Near East, Europe and NIS, and Latin America and the Caribbean
Areas of Work
1. Democracy
2. Economic growth
3. Education and training
4. Environmental sustainability
5. Humanitarian assistance
6. Information technology
7. Population, health, and nutrition
USAID establishes partnerships with the people and governments of assisted countries, U.S. businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs – here defined as those in the host country), private voluntary organizations (PVOs – defined as NGOs in the United States), academic institutions, other U.S. government agencies and international assistance agencies including international financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral donors and private foundations. Programs are created and maintained through these partnerships. Over 80% of USAID’s grant funds go to United States NGOs and businesses.
Examples of Upgrading Project
In 1970, cisterns used to collect rainwater and distant, sewage-polluted springs were the only sources of water for an ancient Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, Deir Istiya, with a population of about 3,000. Many residents had resorted to purchasing water at close to $3.50 per cubic meter, but the supply was limited and per capita consumption was about 25 liters per day,the minimum suggested by the WHO. Deir Istiya was chosen for a USAID grant of $540,000 to be used for the construction of a main line, a distribution network, and a 200 cubic meter storage tank. Since 1996, the village has been connected to the Israeli water company and per capita consumption has risen to 50-60 liters per day at a cost of less than $1 per cubic meter. To alleviate the problem of an unsteady flow, the water tank, designed to blend in with its surroundings, was constructed.
Project Selection Process
| What is Urban Upgrading? | Doing Urban Upgrading | Case Examples |
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