The Common Good

One Reason the U.S. Must Continue Funding Foreign Aid

Because Bill Gates says so.

Bill Gates traveled to Washington, D.C. this past week to tell members of congress not to cut foreign aid funding from the budget. This foreign aid, also known as poverty-focused development assistance, goes a long way toward providing life-saving resources for the world's poor.

Bread for the World reports:

  • Each year, this small amount of funding:
    • Feeds 46.5 million of the world's most vulnerable people and children through P.L. 480 Food Aid, and feeds 5 million schoolchildren through the McGovern-Dole School Feeding Program.
    • Prevents more than 114,000 infants from being born with HIV.
    • Provides counseling to HIV-positive people, reaching 33 million since 2004.
    • Saves 3 million lives through USAID's immunization programs.
    • Helped bring safe drinking water sources to 1.3 billion people over the last decade.

And this all is possible using less than 1 percent of the United States budget. In fact, for every dollar spent on poverty-focused development assistance, we spend $36 on our military. And in some cases, foreign aid is sometimes more effective at achieving military goals than military funding itself:

"For every 5 percent drop in income growth in a developing country, the likelihood of violent conflict or war within the next year increases by 10 percent. Poverty-focused development assistance supports economic growth, protects vulnerable people, and helps curtail desperation that may lead to violence" (Bread for the World).

Next Wednesday, the Senate will vote on the budget for foreign aid. Should the proposed cuts occur, it would prove disastrous for the rest of the world, potentially leaving millions without food, education, and livelihood.

Please, contact your Senators today and tell them to continue funding poverty-focused development assistance.

James Colten is the campaigns assistant at Sojourners.

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