Foreign Assistance: Why It Works and Why We Gotta Do More

Unlike the other blogs in this category, I (Bruce Carr) did not write it. Instead it was written by Rev. Noel Andersen of Church World Service on February 24, 2015, and I am quoting, summarizing or paraphrasing what he said.

“The average American believes we spend a whopping 26 percent of the U.S. budget on foreign aid–but the fact is that we actually spend less than one percent. On top of that, the amount actually dedicated to humanitarian response and alleviating poverty, disease, and hunger is only 0.5 percent. Yet one of the best kept secret about U.S. relief and development aid is that it works.”

He notes that the number of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has been halved between 1980 and 2010, that far more children are being protected from sickness and premature death, and “ordinary people around the world are now able to feed their families, contribute to their developing societies, and become self-sufficient.” The world’s refugees are also being helped — despite their numbers being higher now that at any time in nearly two decades.

Rev. Andersen observes that “the U.S. is one of the largest supporters to foreign aid in the world, yet we give one of the smallest percentages of our budget compared to other nations.” He urges us to meet with (or make other contact with) our law makers, and educate our congregations and communities to do more. Along with Church World Service, another excellent organization working to help mobilize the U.S. Government towards these goals is the Interfaith Working Group on Foreign Assistance.

Now I think I (Bruce) need to start thinking about how to best write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper as well as to the people who represent me in Washington. Perhaps you should too.

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