USAID’s mission statement highlights two complementary and intrinsically linked goals: ending extreme poverty and promoting the development of resilient, democratic societies that are able to realize their potential. We fundamentally believe that ending extreme poverty requires enabling inclusive, sustainable growth; promoting free, peaceful, and self-reliant societies with effective, legitimate governments; building human capital and creating social safety nets that reach the poorest and most vulnerable.
Our focus on poverty does not end when someone crosses the official threshold for extreme poverty to earn $1.90/day. Poverty alleviation also extends to those with higher incomes who nonetheless remain severely poor. Poverty is multi-dimensional, requiring an approach to address hunger and food insecurity, illiteracy and innumeracy, ill-health, dis-empowerment, marginalization and vulnerability. Our Feed the Future, Global Health, Global Climate Change, and Power Africa initiatives target symptoms of and pathways out of poverty. USAID’s work on education is already reaching millions in extreme poverty. Similarly, our cross-cutting efforts in promoting democracy, rights and good governance, empowering women and girls, advancing prosperity, building resilient societies, and mitigating climate change are all essential to ending poverty.
Resilient, democratic societies don’t simply maintain stability: they are essential to sustaining development progress. Resilient, democratic societies feature broadbased economic growth; healthy, well-nourished, and educated populations; and environmental sustainability. They embrace not only elections, but also legitimate, inclusive, and accountable institutions that effectively deliver services to all of their people, respect and promote human rights, and strive to advance freedom, human dignity and development. They have the ability to manage conflict, mitigate the impact of natural disasters, and forestall crisis that otherwise roll back development gains. These societies are equipped to ensure that pathways out of poverty are sustained.
At the core of our mission is a deep commitment to work as partners in fostering sustainable development. Rather than impose, we seek to empower and support through collaboration. We work hand-in-hand with those we seek to assist as well as others striving to support the most vulnerable. Nations and communities must increasingly be able to meet the needs of their citizens whether by providing health care, education, or economic opportunity.
USAID’s efforts directly enhance American—and global—security and prosperity. The United States is safer and stronger when fewer people face destitution, when our trading partners are flourishing, when nations around the world can withstand crisis, and when societies are freer, more democratic, and more inclusive, protecting the basic rights and human dignity of all citizens. By focusing on these two goals, together, we position ourselves to meet the challenges of today while mitigating the risks of tomorrow.