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CGD in the News

Commentary: 50 Years -- A Great Start but Still a Long Way to Go (Huffington Post)

November 17, 2011

Nandini Oomman was mentioned in a Huffington Post blog on USAID.

From the Article

On November 3rd, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was a somewhat quiet celebration, and too few Americans were given a chance to learn about the tens of millions of lives saved as a result of USAID programs that have come "from the American people" - whether immunizations, oral rehydration therapy, safe drinking water, the Green Revolution, microfinance, family planning and maternal/child health services, the empowerment of citizens, or countless other investments.

Nonetheless, for someone like me who worked for USAID for more than half of both of our lives, it was an opportunity to reflect. Some of that reflection emerged from a short video on USAID's website: http://50.usaid.gov/50-years-of-progress. It was a perfect statement! There were photos of hope, pride, aspiration and even disappointment. There was the voice of President John F. Kennedy, speaking so eloquently about the "...great start on our journey..." and reminding us that "...we have a long way to go." He cautioned that we should "...expect moments of frustration and disappointment." And, yes, there have been both. But, he also made clear that "our problems are manmade and can be solved by man."

These manmade problems are multiple. Some relate to the traditional challenges of reducing poverty and building sustainable solutions. Some also relate to how we do development assistance. Certainly, President Kennedy's words resonated with me as I moved on from USAID's inspirational video and from my personal celebration of USAID's anniversary to read some harder edged reporting on the state of U.S. foreign assistance - and the manmade problems that it faces.

First was the blog by Nandini Oomman on the Center for Global Development (CGD) website in which she asked whether USAID is being set up to fail on the Global Health Initiative (GHI). Given the difficulties the Administration has faced integrating global health investments under the GHI, the answer to that question is probably "yes."

Read it here.