close up of woman letting corn spill through her hands.
Photo By:  Corinna Robbins is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

U.S. Foreign Assistance 101

U.S. Foreign Assistance Funding (Percentage)

FY 2017 Actual - $38,463,302.000. Categories of assistance as defined in the Congressional Budget Justification: Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs FY19

Port Loko, Sierra Leone -Ñ Marie Kabba, 52, a widow and member of the Kamuyu group in Port Loko Township, surveys a row of Chinese beans that climb trellised bamboo poles. The Kamuyu Women's Development Organization are able to realize higher food-production by working as a cooperative to farm their land. Kamuyu means 'perseverance' in Temne, one of the native languages in Sierra leone. What is now arable land for this cooperative of women was once a refugee camp for more than a thousand internally displaced people during Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war. The war, fought mostly over the countryÕs rich natural mineral resources, plunged the small West African country into destitution. Although the country is best known for its diamonds, many Sierra Leoneans feel the most valuable resource they lost in the war was their livestock. Together with the people of Sierra Leone, Heifer is working to develop livestock and agriculture projects, helping the country heal from its crises and build self-sustaining communities.
Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee / Heifer International

The first major U.S. aid program took place shortly after World War II. Spearheaded by Secretary of State George Marshall, this program provided significant aid to Europe after the war to assist in rebuilding the infrastructure, stabilizing the region, and strengthening the economy.


Over the past several decades, U.S. international development assistance has undergone many iterations and shifts in priorities to make development programs more effective and efficient and to reach more communities. Today, USAID has missions in over 100 countries to support country partners in becoming self-reliant and capable of leading their own development journeys.

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