2020: Creative’s top photos of the year

2020 was a year in development unlike any other. Just a few months into the calendar year, our programs, staff and partners were forced to rapidly respond to this unprecedented global pandemic. Meetings, trainings, events, conferences and day-to-day collaboration all moved onlinePrograms found ways to take their initiatives virtual, from online learning to civil society dialogues. At the same time, they provided communities with reliable information about the pandemic, shaped remote education for young learners and offered relief to businesses. 


There is a lot still left to be done and more to learn about operating amid a pandemic. Outside of the pandemic and its upheaval, Creative had other successes to celebrate this year. The West Africa Trade and Investment Hub officially kicked off, as did the USAID Somalia Bar ama Baro education programWithin Creative, the Center for Migration and Economic Stabilization launched. The Pakistan Reading Project, implemented by the International Rescue Committee in partnership with Creative, was named a recipient of the International Prize from the Library of Congress Literacy Program Awards. 


Explore more highlights and happenings from 2020 through our favorite photos from the year. 

Nurse Juana Aguirre slips on her mask before entering a health clinic treating COVID-19 patients. Aguirre has been on the forefront of combatting the pandemic in Choluteca, Honduras, and was profiled in the most recent issue of the Think Creative magazine for her leadership and commitment to serving her community. Photo by Victor Mercado Perez.  

A volunteer community literacy leader gets his students excited about learning at a reading camp in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The USAID READ II program established nearly 6,000 reading camps across the country where students can get extra hands-on practice with reading after school. Photo by Jim Huylebroek 

Bintu Abubakar organized 15 women in the Northeastern Nigeria village of Shuwa Tormi to prioritize and advocate for infrastructure improvements, promote peace and build coalitions. The Nigeria Lake Chad Basin program, funded by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, established the Women for Peace platform to train women like Bintu to identify and address challenges in their communities. Photo by Jim Huylebroek 



With the easy companionship of growing up together, the three young men William Iztep, William Marroquín and Estuardo Orózco laugh as they pose for a photo after speaking with community facilitators working for the USAID Peacebuilding Project in Guatemala. From Comitancillo, a municipality where the project works to bolster inter-institutional collaboration around important issues like water scarcity, these youth said they planned to join the project’s “Voceros Juveniles” network for young people wanting to take leadership roles in their communities. Photo by Janey Fugate.

Creative Founder and Board Chair Charito Kruvant (far left) moderates a panel discussion with Afghan women leaders, including (from left to right) businesswoman Tania Aria, former Afghan Minister of Mines and Petroleum Nargis Nehan and Maidan Shar Mayor Zarifa Ghafari. The March 5 event at the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D.C., centered on women a force for economic growth and peace in Afghanistan. Photo by Erick Gibson.  

Eduardo lies completely still as a nurse uses a laser to slowly burn away the tattoos from the skin on his face. Tattoo removal for ex-gang members like Eduardo (a pseudonym to protect his identity) is one of the FactoríCiudadana’s hallmark servicesBased in San Salvador, the Factoría was founded with support from the USAID Crime and Violence Prevention Project and provides critical programs for men and women stepping away from lives of violence. Photo by Carlos Diaz.  

Staff from the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub pose at the project’s official launch event in JanuaryBringing together Nigerian government officials, business leaders and partners, the event kicked off the Trade Hub’s activitieswhich are expected catalyze $1 billion in private investment to bolster West African companies, create jobs and improve livelihoods and address critical development challenges in the region. Photo by David Rabinovitz.  

Suyapa Montoya records her small convenience store’s sales at the end of her shift. She and three other women opened the store with in-kind donations and business management support from the Dry Corridor Alliance project. In rural Honduras, opportunities to increase household income are slim, but these women have been able to steadily grow their business despite setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Gabriel Rodriguez. 

A father helps his son follow along in his book as they listen to an educational lesson on the radio in Bauchi state, Nigeria. The USAID Northern Education Initiative Plus program, in partnership with UNICEF, developed hundreds of radio and TV lessons that follow the Let’s Read! early grade curriculum in both English and Hausa to keep students learning after the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools. Photo by Nura Faggo.

A young girl raises her hand during class at her community-based school in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The USAID Afghan Children Read program supports teachers and students at community-based schools, which make education more accessible for students in rural areas and especially for girls. Photo by Jim Huylebroek