Yesterday, I traveled to Washington DC with Francesco Rulli to meet with two USAID officials, Mr. Clinton L. Doggett, USAid Project Development Manager, and Ms. Kathleen A. McGowan, USAid Senior Policy Adviser, who are both focused on the rebuilding of Afghanistan. USAID began with President John F. Kennedy's vision for foreign assistance.
Following the success of the reconstruction of Europe after World War II through the Marshall Plan and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program -- the 1950 program to engage in technically-based international economic development -- President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law in 1961 and USAID was created by executive order. 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.
U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of:
- Furthering America's interests while improving lives in the developing world.
- The Agency carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.
Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works in over 100 countries to:
- Promote broadly shared economic prosperity;
- Strengthen democracy and good governance;
- Improve global health, food security, environmental sustainability and education;
- Help societies prevent and recover from conflicts; and
- Provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.
On the ride home, Francesco Rulli (American citizen born in Italy) educated Mike Sweeney (born in Philadelphia, has visited Ireland twice!) on the realities of The Marshal Plan and how it helped to rebuild Europe, Italy, and The Rulli Family.
Irish Catholic graduates of Boston College (Mike Sweeney BC '84) tend to know everything about President Jack Kennedy, so why have I not heard of USAID?
The "last mile" or "last kilometer" is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. The phrase is therefore often used by the telecommunications and cable television industries. The actual distance of this leg may be considerably more than a mile, especially in rural areas. The Nation Building at Film Annex of Afghanistan is starting at the last mile to schools in the Film Annex's Afghan Development Project. Well now I clearly have heard of USAID as they are the ones who built the infrastructure to:
On April 25th, 2012, Film Annex and Citadel Software Company built the first internet classroom at Baghnazargah School in Herat, Afghanistan. The Film Annex Afghanistan team documented every detail of the construction process, such as painting the walls, purchasing the curtains, building the desks, and installing the computers. The students we excited to have access to the Internet through brand new computers and get connected to the world. The classroom's official opening was celebrated by government officials and the school's administration. For more information, visit the Afghan Development page and the Afghan Development Web TV.
We look forward to our developing relationship with USAID.
"No Politics, Just Internet"