Of course, it’s important to focus on foreign aid efforts within America, but what about the importance of the efforts of other countries around the world? By observing these actions and their results, it’s possible to learn something about how different types of foreign aid have different effects on international societies and global poverty.
Australia has gained a lot of attention in the media lately, boasting a “good review” on its recent foreign aid policies. Although the country had been committed to boosting aid to .5% of GDP -around $8 billion, or almost 2x as much as US foreign aid relative to GDP – by 2015/2016, the government delayed the plan, setting the goal back to 2017. The review of the program praises its efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness, “making particular reference to Australia’s sound strategic policies, delivery of strong results and dedicated commitment to transparency.”
Even surpassing foreign aid, the country is bringing issues of extreme poverty to light, as thousands volunteered to live for five days by feeding themselves on $2.00 a day. This effort, named “Live Below the Line”, highlights the harshness of extreme poverty and encourages those that participate to raise money for those who live with poverty every day, not just five days of the year.
Australia presents a good example for countries that are looking to revamp their foreign aid processes. The Live Below the Line movement itself also poses a question to not only governments but to everyday citizens to hear the call to action against global poverty and hunger. Using these efforts as examples, it is possible and necessary for all of us to take steps in the same direction.
– Sarah Rybak