Student Activism: Rajiv Shah talks USAID and International Development at UofM

The Director of USAID visited UofM to discuss innovations in international development and invite students to share their own innovative ideas through USAID's Fall Semester program.

Last Friday, USAID Director Rajiv Shah gave a talk about innovations in development to a packed crowd at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy at an event hosted by the ONE Campaign.

As a kick-off for USAID's Fall Semester program, Dr. Shah has been on a nationwide campus tour to inspire students to share their innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges in international development including poverty, hunger, violence, injustice, and environmental degredation. During his presentation, he offered up examples of how new, innovative technology is helping to maximize the returns of small rural farmers in Kenya through a program called iCow, which tracks the health status of individual dairy cows, and provide energy to low-income African households with a portable grid designed by Egg-Energy. He noted that it's with innovations like these, as well as those in the food industry, vaccinations, and vitamin supplements, that we can put a huge dent in extreme poverty and possibly even see the end of preventable childhood deaths by 2035.

He also spoke to the flexibility of paths leading to careers in international development for those in the audience interested in social justice and activism. He encouraged students to gain experience in the field saying, "It might work out and turn into a career or it might not. But either way it will be deeply rewarding and I think you'll learn something, as I did, about how diverse, multifaceted and connected our world is."

It was an inspiring event that provided fuel for students just starting to develop an interest in international aid and opportunity for those looking to further their involvement in it.  As a nod to his alma mater, Dr. Shah finished by praising University of Michigan students for being "go-getters" and saying that, "as Michigan students, you have the power to see the end of extreme poverty by 2035". 


ONE is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease on a global scale. By engaging by-partisan support we can end extreme poverty in this lifetime. Visit www.one.org to learn more.

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