On World Press Freedom Day, the United States pays special honor to the importance of media freedom - a crucial element of freedom of expression - at home and abroad. A diverse and independent press is crucial to holding governments accountable and sustaining democracy around the world. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) at the U.S. Department of State details the state of media freedom around the world in the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. 

President Barack Obama has nominated Gayle Smith, a White House adviser, to run the US international development agency. If the move is confirmed by the Senate, Smith, a former journalist and long-time Africa expert, will be in charge of the Obama administration’s development agenda for the final years of his presidency.

The issue is an important one, because in September the United Nations will likely endorse a new set of Sustainable Development Goals to "end poverty, transform all lives, and protect the planet" by 2030. Among the 17 broad and ambitious goals are ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, achieving gender equality and providing access to justice for all.

Building local capacity has increasingly become a vital component of humanitarian and development programming. The problem, however, is when different groups have different definitions and expectations of what it should look like in practice — as in the case of Syria.

The United States Agency for International Development has requested $21,8 million to fund political activities in Zimbabwe for 2016, including availing money to the civil society's agenda to "hold Government accountable". Information at hand indicates that some of the countries to receive the money in Sub-Saharan Africa besides Zimbabwe are South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Liberia and Somalia.

“By far, the largest component of our requested budget increase is dedicated to the critical states of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he told the committee in March 2010. (...) In the five years since those remarks, Shah has appeared to focus less and less on Afghanistan and more on other development programs, such as combating global poverty and the Ebola outbreak, while aid to Afghanistan accounts for billions more U.S. taxpayer dollars than any other country where the agency operates.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is seeking partners to implement a new initiative with Major League Baseball which aims to improve education, support children with disabilities and counter domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.

Diaspora populations have long sent money back to their countries of origin in the form of remittances. Now, a new initiative led by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Calvert Foundation seeks to tap that capital and put it to work more strategically.