USAID-Sponsored cultural program sensitizing public on development issues

Butwal, July 6: A cultural program with several activities was organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Butwal, Rupandehi district of Lumbini Province on Saturday.

A troupe of artists enthralled the audience with their performances in a musical program organized by the USAID under its ‘USAID Learning for Development Outreach Campaign’. Singers Kali Prasad Banskota and Trishna Gurung, Afsar Ali and Samjhana Ranapal among others performed in the event. The Kutumba band also presented their musical performances.

Several sideline events, including mural painting, quiz and fun games were also organized aimed at imparting information among the public about the activities, projects and programs funded by the USAID in Nepal for the past 63 years. Besides sensitizing public about the longstanding partnership between Nepal and the USAID, through several engaging activities, the campaign also sought to solicit opinions from the participants, especially the youths about their aspirations and reflections regarding development.

By engaging them in creative activities such as mural paintings, face-paintings and drawing, the campaign has sought to understand people’s ideas and expectations about development. The establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and the USA spans almost around eight decades. The grant assistance provided by the American people through the USAID has significantly contributed to the socio-economic transformation of the country, thereby further aiding the country’s journey towards prosperity.

According to the USAID, over a million of Nepali women were directly benefitted through programs related to health, education and economic growth while around five million women were indirectly benefited through various programs in 2023. The USAID has provided one and a half billion US dollars (more than Rs 196 billion) to support Nepal’s bid for development in the areas of health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, economic growth, women and girls empowerment, humanitarian aid, good governance, environment, civil society and communication and business development since 2000, said the USAID.

It may be noted that Nepal’s first highway, built in 1955, and the first nursing training school, established in Kathmandu in 1956, were completed with the financial and technical support of the US government, it was shared. Furthermore, the country got its first modern telephone exchange and radio network established in 1959 with the assistance of the American government.

The USAID’s assistance remains significant in eradication of malaria from the southern Terai of the country besides its important role in facilitating peace and democracy. Likewise, the USAID provided vaccines, preventive gears and technical assistance to Nepal during COVID-19 pandemic. Through USAID cooperation, many of the lands that were once deemed uninhabitable were made suitable for agrarian activities for farmers while literacy race has gone up remarkably.

Similarly, average life expectancy has increased markedly while a notable achievement has been made in reducing child mortality rate. Meanwhile, the first programme under the campaign was launched from Badganga, Jitpur in Kapilvastu district on last Friday. It will reach Lamahi, Kohalpur and Nepalgunj of the Lumbini Province where at present more than 20 national and local level projects related to health, education, economic growth, environment, resilience, democracy, rights and good governance are being implemented in all 12 districts of the Province with the assistance of the USAID, it was told. The campaign will conclude in Kathmandu of the Bagmati Province later this month.

-Rosha Basnet/RSS