Internet Activities

Chapter 9

The US Agency for International Development

This exercise asks that you browse the website for the US Agency for International Development, a US government agency founded in 1961 and tasked with foreign development assistance.

1. From the main page, click on “Who We Are,” and find the link for “USAID History.” Find and read the pull-out quote from US President John F. Kennedy. Why, according to President Kennedy, is US development aid important? What perspective do you think he’s using in this quote? Can you think of other reasons why the US would want to promote international development, both in 1961 and today?

2. Read over the decade-by-decade summaries of USAID’s goals. What changes in our understanding of development are reflected in the changes in USAID’s goals?

3. At the bottom of the page, click on “Where We Work.” How does US development aid vary by region? What explains this variation?

4. Go back to the main page and click on “What We Do.” Browse through the various “Sectors” listed and focus on two or three. Why are those sectors important in international development? What initiatives is USAID taking in those sectors? Are those initiatives especially important in any specific regions or states?

5. What does an emphasis on democracy promotion, gender equality, and environmental protection have to do with development aid? Given this emphasis, which perspective do you think USAID’s administration is seeing development from? What factors might other perspectives emphasize and, given what you read about USAID’s history, have those perspectives been emphasized in the past?

6. Go back the main page and click on “Results and Data,” and find the link for “Dollars to Results.” On the interactive map on that page, find the sectors you had looked at earlier and browse the state-by-state listing for those sectors (you can click on each state and get a detailed summary of aid). What specific work is USAID supporting in those states? What results have been achieved?