People releasing smoke in the colors of the rainbow (© Mikheil Meparishvili/Equality Movement)
USAID partners with groups like the Equality Movement in Georgia to advance equal human rights protections for all people. (© Mikheil Meparishvili/Equality Movement)

The U.S. Agency for International Development works with countries and communities around the world to promote democracy and human rights, including advancing protections for the LGBTQI+ community in Georgia (above).

This photo gallery captures some of the many ways USAID supports democracy. Programs in Serbia, Ukraine, Jordan, Iraq, Mongolia and Jamaica are highlighted in these photos, all winners and finalists of the 2021 USAID Democracy, Human Rights and Governance photo contest.

Bringing connectivity to Georgia

Man leading mule with solar panel on its back (USAID ACCESS Program)

In 2019 and 2020, USAID helped bring internet access to remote mountainous communities in Georgia for 1,291 people. This was a challenging feat, as much of northern and eastern Georgia is isolated from the rest of the country.

Promoting accountability in Serbia

Line of people, some holding signs, standing behind rows of shoes (Jelena Popovic/USAID/Serbia)
(Jelena Popovic/USAID/Serbia)

The USAID-backed “Red Badges” initiative left 223 pairs of shoes in front of the Smederevo Municipal Assembly in Serbia in February 2021 as a tribute to those who died in a year because of air pollution. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of local authorities’ inaccurate reporting about air conditions in Smederevo.

Curbing COVID-19 during Ukrainian elections

Woman in mask holding dog standing at table with other women (© Roman Shalamov/IFES)
(© Roman Shalamov/IFES)

USAID helped train more than 8,000 local election commissioners on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when Ukrainians went to the polls in October 2020. The elections were the first nationwide local elections involving more than 1,400 newly consolidated communities. An analysis after the elections showed no spikes in COVID-19 cases that could be attributed to election day itself.

Improving service delivery in Jordan

Woman holding papers pointing out a window (© Omar Khiyami/Trademark contracted by USAID CITIES)
(© Omar Khiyami/Trademark contracted by USAID CITIES)

The USAID CITIES project worked with 99 municipalities in Jordan to install 5,062 street signs and 153,625 building numbers. This helps improve the quality of the cities’ maps and makes it easier for delivery and other location-based services to use GPS navigation systems.

Providing reliable drinking water in Iraq

Man turning wheel photographed through another wheel (© Maria Lourdes Luces/IGPA/Takamul Project)
(© Maria Lourdes Luces/IGPA/Takamul Project)

USAID is helping water directorates in Iraq provide reliable access to potable water by reengineering the water system’s workflow and operations. Above, a USAID-trained technician adjusts the water intake settings at the Ifraz Water Treatment Plant, which supplies water to more than 1 million citizens.

Stressing importance of voting in Iraq

Men sitting outside in rows on rugs (© Ibtisam Rahmatallah/IRI)
(© Ibtisam Rahmatallah/IRI)

USAID sponsored seminars in rural Iraqi villages to educate community leaders — including prominent tribal sheikhs, mayors, professors and clerics — on the importance of voting and their role in encouraging other residents to vote. The seminar above was held in Hawija, in Kirkuk, on September 20, 2020, and organized outside to ensure safe COVID-19 protocols.

Helping legislators engage constituents in Mongolia

Woman shown on laptop screen and jumbo screen speaking to people in large room (© International Republican Institute)
(© International Republican Institute)

Working with the State Great Hural’s Parliamentary Research Institute in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, USAID provided parliament members and staff tips for using both traditional media and new digital platforms to engage constituents. USAID also shared best practices and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promoting alternatives to at-risk youth in Jamaica

People playing dominoes around table (© Marie Bellon/Senior Program Officer)
(© Marie Bellon/Senior Program Officer)

Above, several young people unwind with a domino game after a skills training session at the USAID-supported Forward Step Foundation in St. Catherine, Jamaica. The program offers at-risk Jamaican youth an alternative to crime through training in music production and jewelry making.

This article abridges a longer article USAID published on Medium.