Information and stories on foreign aid.

admiral-james-loy-uscg
Admiral James Loy wrote a piece for Defense News in which he defended US funding for international aid. He explained why international affairs spending should not be cut. The article was titled, simply, “Don’t Cut International Affairs Spending”.

When Admiral Loy joined the military, our foreign policy and worldview was defined by nations who wanted to do us harm. This made American foreign policy strategy simple and straightforward, however, times have changed. The Admiral plainly states that in order to secure our country, it is absolutely critical for us to invest in development and diplomacy alongside our defense systems.

In his opinion, our international affairs budget is absolutely necessary. He believes that exact budget is responsible, in large part, for protecting our national security at home. He devoutly feels that our International Affairs budget should remain a part of national security, and that cuts to the budget would jeopardize investments and progress in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

This budget, he says, promotes our security by addressing complex threats around the world in the form of global pandemics, infectious diseases, and instability as a result of food shortages and natural disasters. This funding allows the United States to prevent conflicts before they even occur.

The minuscule amount of our budget spent on international affairs (only one percent!) provides a massive return on investment. Admiral Loy believes our international spending not only limits our military spending abroad, but it also protects the lives of US soldiers.

Admiral James Loy stated that, as a country, Americans must be aware of our position around the world. We need to provide potentially unstable countries reason to see us as friends and not foes by assisting them in building a better way of life. We must work to ensure developing countries have access to economic growth, clean water, encouraged rule of law, and that we help stop the spread of preventable diseases.

Admiral Loy, like many other top US military officials, understands the importance of foreign aid and foreign spending. Foreign aid is an investment in our future. It will provide a return larger than the initial investment. Admiral Loy’s final parting words stated that, “a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is essential to our national security, and this must continue to be a priority for our nation moving forward.”

Admiral James Loy served as commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1998-2002, and deputy secretary of Homeland Security from 2003-2005. He currently serves as a co-Chair of the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

– Caitlin Zusy

Source: U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

5 Global Poverty Quotes From Business Leaders
When it comes to deciding how and where to spend money, business leaders can give some of the best advice. Their experience in the business world can also help when it comes to determining if the U.S. should increase foreign aid to decrease global poverty. Here are 5 quotes and kernels of wisdom about global poverty from some of the most significant business leaders.

1. “Looking at these issues as a businessman, I believe that investing in the world’s poorest people is the smartest way our government spends money.”
Bill Gates, Former CEO and Chairman of Microsoft, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2. “…It’s nonsense to think we can balance the budget by ‘ending foreign aid.’ In fact, the International Affairs budget is just over one percent of the federal budget. The Chamber supports a robust International Affairs budget for the State Department and other agencies. It funds critical efforts to boost exports and jobs, protect our national security, and promote our humanitarian values.”
Thomas J. Donahue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

3. “The world is getting to be a smaller place every day, and from an economic perspective, what happens in one country has ripple effects throughout the world. Funding from the International Affairs Budget, which is just 1 percent of the federal budget, helps to strengthen the economies of developing nations around the world.”
Chris Policinski, CEO of Land O’Lakes

4. “As a business person, I understand the value of an investment – and the importance of getting a good return on your dollar. And that’s what we get when we fund our diplomatic efforts and international programs. Yes, it means needed humanitarian relief. Yes, it means more security for the American people in these troubled times. But from years of our company’s experience, it also means jobs right here at home.”
James W. Owens, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar

5. “Given the fact that MDBs focus more on middle- and low-income countries and not the United States, the temptation of some might be to cut back on our contributions and to refocus those resources elsewhere. And yet such a decision would be extremely short-sighted, in my judgment, because it would negatively impact job creation at the very time when we’re trying to rebuild our economy.”
– Robert Mosbacher Jr., Chairman of Mosbacher Energy Company, Past-President and CEO, Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Katie Brockman

Source: U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Photo: Marketplace Leaders

 

Read Global Poverty and Humanitarian quotes.

 

10 Ways To Be Involved in Foreign Affairs
Directly from the Department of State Official Blog (yes, they have a blog), here are 10 ways to be involved in foreign affairs – how the average U.S. citizen can engage in international issues:

1. Travel. Nothing is better for understanding the world than travelling in it. Apply for a passport and download the free “Smart Traveler” App.

2. Study abroad. The U.S. Department of State offers programs for U.S. citizens to go abroad for cultural, educational and professional exchanges.  Get truly immersed in another culture – go to exchanges.state.gov to find a program that’s right for you.

3. Host an international student, scholar, or professional. There are a variety of hosting opportunities where you can invite an international visitor to your home for a meal, a place to stay during a week-long training program, or a semester of academic study.

4.  Export. The Dept. of State encourages and supports any business looking to begin or expand their exporting. Find information online to assist and participate in the State Department’s Direct Line Program — a unique opportunity for American businesses to speak directly with U.S. Ambassadors overseas.

5. End hunger. Almost one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and, astonishingly, more than 3.5 million children die each year from under nutrition. Visit feedthefuture.gov to find out how you can partner with the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative by donating products, services, or resources.

6. Stop wildlife crime. Take the online pledge to learn more about wildlife trafficking, inform others and commit to become a more responsible consumer in order to help save the planet’s wildlife.

7. Fight modern slavery. Twenty-seven million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, or modern slavery. There are many ways you can help stop it; read the full list. 

8. Partner with the Dept. of State. The U.S. Department of State has entered a new era of collaboration and partnership with non-governmental groups. Find out how your organization can promote economic growth and opportunity by investing in the welfare of people around the world.

9. Invest in women and girls worldwide. The Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls helps combat violence, improve education and health, and creates economic and political opportunities for women worldwide. Or be a mentor with TechWomen, matching mentors with emerging female technologies in the Middle East and North Africa.

10.  Follow the Dept. of State on social media – and engage. More than 25 million people around the world follow the U.S. Department of State and U.S. diplomatic missions on social media. People are contributing their ideas to a global online conversation; join in!

 – Mary Purcell

Source: Department of State Blog

 

Where_Does_Aid_Money_go_UN_USAID_international_aid_fund_World_Bank_business_economy_microfinance_opt

The website AidData.org is designed to make it easier for researchers, reporters, and anyone else for that matter, to answer that question for themselves. Established in 2009 through a joint partnership of the College of William & Mary, Brigham Young University, and the nonprofit organization Development Gateway, the site provides a growing searchable database of global foreign aid distribution. It is all part of an effort to make hard data on the allocation of foreign aid money easier to obtain. For example, anyone who wants to know how much money the United States invested in Bangladesh for food security in 2009 can simply use the database filters and find the answer here.

The foreign aid information collected on AidData is not limited to the United States.  The site compiles information from countries across the globe, using data going back to 1945.  Users who want to know more about where foreign aid money goes can just as easily find out how much money Norway invested in Cambodia for health-related programs in 1996. Filters allow users to search by donor country, recipient country, type of program, and date.

The site was the brainchild of an undergraduate student at the College of William & Mary in 2003.  In researching his honors thesis on the distribution of foreign aid for environmental assistance, he found it extremely difficult to find specific numbers.  He got the idea to compile all of this information in a single database.  With help from three professors, he managed to secure a series of grants and partnerships that eventually led to the establishment of the AidData organization and website. To date, the site includes information on 3,000 aid projects in 144 recipient countries, for a total of about 35,000 locations across the globe.

According to AidData founders, the goal of this innovative initiative to increase transparency and accessibility of foreign aid data is to “improve the quality of research on aid allocation and aid effectiveness.” Because of AidData’s work, reliable answers to the question “where does foreign aid money go?” are now just a few keystrokes away on the web.

– Délice Williams

Source:Aid Data
Photo:USAID

Global_Hunger_Poverty_Religious_Leaders_Lobby_Congress
On May 15th, hundreds of religious leaders from 170 difference spiritual organizations will unite in combating the issue of global hunger by lobbying parliament. The Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) has organized the mass lobby on behalf of the “Enough Food for Everyone IF” campaign. This campaign has a strong message encompassed by four IFs.

Enough food for everyone…

IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
IF governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.

IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.

These hundreds of monks, nuns, priests, and others will meet with members of Congress to discuss the reasons behind world hunger and ways to end the epidemic. Many of these religious leaders have first hand experience in third world countries working with people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

One of the campaign’s organizers, Sister Pat Robb CJ, plans to inform members of Congress about her time in developing countries where she witnessed children dying from lack of food. She also hopes that the large scale of this lobby will put pressure on Congress to not merely listen, but to take action against world hunger.

Other groups that support the IF campaign are JPIC Links (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation), the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), the Conference of Religious (COR), Progressio, Trocaire, Church Action on Poverty and SCIAF.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu hopes that this anti-hunger movement will be as successful as the anti-Apartheid campaign that happened several decades ago. He is confident that if people can unite over the issue of hunger, then the campaign will be a victory. One of the ways to reach this goal, he says, is for wealthy countries to commit to invest 0.7 percent of their gross national incomes in foreign aid. However, it is also important to change the systems that created extreme poverty in the first place.

These religious leaders are hoping that their influence will sway the minds of politicians to support foreign aid legislation. In the words of Sister Pat Robb, “As long as one person is still hungry, our work is not over.”

– Mary Penn

Source: INC
Photo: Theatre Goodman

Bush and Bono

As stated in his 25 April 2013 press conference, George W. Bush may consider Bono “a pal,” but he is not the only one. George H.W. Bush presented the Liberty Medal to the U2 frontman at the National Constitution Center (2007) and Laura Bush joined a meeting with them to discuss AIDS (2005). They have had a decade long relationship revolving around their mutual passion for humanitarian work in Africa.

Bono started hounding politicians in 2002 when he started his non-profit Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa (DATA). They had a meeting that year resulting in a 5 billion dollar aid package.  Bono also persuaded the former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill to take a 4-country tour of Africa. This marked an “historic shift in Washington’s stance on aid after years of cuts.”

However, mutual skepticism has marked the their relationship. Bono acknowledged that as he pushed the former president on aid issues, Bush pushed back.  Contentious issues included speed of delivery of the Millennium Challenge money and the Global Fund.

Their friendship, rooted in their shared concern for humanitarian work in Africa, kept Bono going back to Washington.  Twice in 2005 they met in the White House to discuss pro-poor aid. In 2006 Bush invited him to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast. Bono used the opportunity to talk about the ‘Jubilee’ year in respect to the Jubilee Drop in the Debt campaign. The next year former president George H.W. Bush presented the Liberty Medal to Bono. After over a decade of arguments, discussions and commitments to aid, it is not surprising Bush considers him “a pal.”

Katherine Zobre

Sources: Bush on Bono: ‘We became pals’ , US and Europe boost aid to poorest countries , Bono and O’Neill in Africa , Bono Visits Bush at the White House , Bono Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast
Photo: Bush and Bono 2006

development

When it comes to research in the field of international development, Canada takes the top spot.  Their contributions of foreign aid to international development research go towards finding solutions to hunger, addressing climate change, augmenting the food supply, alleviating poverty, and increasing health and well-being in developing countries.   The 2012 World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, attributes the decades of Canadian support to his ability to develop drip irrigation.  This breakthrough innovation allows food production in the world’s driest climates.

Many Canadian organizations contribute to the nation’s state in research and development. The International Development Research Centre is a leader in partnering for research and Canada seeks to collaborate with other governments and aid organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the last year, over $100 million additional research dollars from partner organizations went towards life-saving projects.

The best part is that Canada and the world are seeing the results.

Advancements made in women’s health have led to a dramatic change in the survival rates of mothers over the last decade.  More recently, a program was launched in Nigeria to address the tragedy of women dying in childbirth. In 2012, close to 40,000 women died giving birth.  A program funded by the Canadian International Development Agency in partnership with the government of Nigeria has already shown very promising results and a reduction in deaths.

Foreign aid is changing.  No longer are countries content with handouts that increase dependency, but are seeking projects that increase self-reliance.  Canada is seeking to ensure their research dollars go to fund innovative projects such as the African Institutes for Mathematical Sciences Next Einstein Initiative. This clever program trains young African graduates to use mathematical thinking when addressing complex challenges. Over $20 million in support has been committed to expand the initiative.

Another focus of Canadian research is food security.  It is projected that by 2030 food supply will have to double to reach current demands. Projects are set in motion to figure out ways to make sure land is usable, people have food, and farmers can make a living, In the Middle East, a project is working on using water from household sinks and baths to drip irrigate crops in dry lands and improve crop production.

Canada is setting an example for nations to follow with their emphasis on research, innovative development, and self-sustaining projects.  Their story is one of foreign aid making a positive and noticeable difference.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: Huffington Post Canada
Photo:
University of Edinburgh

condoleeza

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s second annual Forum on Global Development on April 29th, 2013.  Rice is expected to discuss the importance of foreign aid and its role in U.S. national security and diplomacy.  The Forum on Global Development comes at a key time as budget talks are going on and the world is facing 1000 days until the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Challenge Corportation was founded by the U.S. Government with the goal to work with some of the poorest countries in the world. MCC believes that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty. 

In addition to Condoleezza Rice, the Forum on Global Development will also honor four award recipients at the event.  The Millennium Challenge Corporation will recognize Green Mountain Coffee Roasters of Vermont with its Corporate Award. Green Mountain has worked hard to partner with local NGOs to promote sustainable community development, to diversify incomes of coffee roasters, and to advance food security.

The MCC will recognize Sophia Mohapi, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account in Lesotho, with their Country Commitment Award. Mohapi facilitated a commitment by Lesotho’s government of $150 million to poverty-reduction programs.

The last award, the MCC’s Next Generation Award, will go to Jessica O. Matthews and Julia Silverman, founders of Uncharted Play. Matthews and Silverman are working hard to advance youth innovation and leadership through international development. Their flagship product is SOCCKET, a soccer ball that stores kinetic energy to provide light for those living without electricity.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: The Sacramento Bee
Photo: Veteran’s Today

childhood stunting
Childhood stunting effects a massive percentage of the world’s youth. UNICEF estimates that some 39% of children in the developing world are stunted. 40% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted and in East and South Asia, estimates climb as high as 50% of children. The numbers tally in at 209 million stunted children in the developing world.

Childhood stunting is a condition that is defined as height for age below the fifth percentile on a reference growth curve. If, within a given population, substantially more than 5% of an identified child population have heights that are lower than the curve, then it is likely that said population would have a higher-than-expected prevalence of stunting. It measures the nutritional status of children. It is an important indicator of the prevalence of malnutrition or other nutrition-related disorders among an identified population in a given region or area.

Aside from inadequate nutrition, there are several other causes of childhood stunting. These include: chronic or recurrent infections, intestinal parasites, low birth weight, and in rare cases, extreme psychosocial stress without nutritional deficiencies. Several of these factors are influenced by each other. Low birth weight is correlated with nutritional deficiencies, and inadequate nutrition is correlated to chronic or recurrent infections.

One of the serious consequences of stunting is particularly impaired cognitive development.  When a child has inadequate access to food, their body conserves energy by first limiting social activity and cognitive development in the form of apathetic and incurious children. These children may not develop the capacity to adequately learn or play. Then the child’s body will limit the energy available for growth.

Fortunately, studies have found that improvement in diet after age two can restore a child to near-normal mental development. Conversely, malnutrition after age two can be just as damaging as it is before age two. However, it is important to note that once stunting is established, it typically becomes permanent.

The reasons stated above serve as important reminders of why foreign aid and programs aimed at eliminating extreme malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies are so vital. The impact of new legislation focusing on increasing USAID and other foreign aid is substantial. Stunting can be seriously limited through the introduction of increased access to food security in the developing world. Knowledge of the facts surrounding stunting is also an important step in working to combat and eliminate childhood stunting worldwide.

– Caitlin Zusy

Sources: UNICEF, Future of Children

Development Aid_opt
The GDP, growth, and income derivatives of sub-Saharan African nations help to inform NGO’s in both the structure and deployment of a well targeted policy of development. However, what if the data linking economic indicators and development in Africa were both statistically flawed and misleading? Surprisingly, there is an increasing body of evidence showing that much of the economic numbers currently being reported to aid and development organizations are in fact fictional, and that little is actually known about the income generation of many African nations.

Sub-Saharan African nations such as Ghana and Nigeria have raised the eyebrows of World Bank leaders and policy makers with their upward revisions of their economic outputs over the last several years. Both countries initially reported their GDPs as much lower than they actually were, with the former upwardly revising their numbers by 60% and the latter increasing theirs by 15%. These numbers – although seemingly unimportant from the outset – have huge implications in regards to economic status and aid apportionment. The net result of misleading economic indicators and development in Africa means that resources allocated to specific countries by donors may in fact be better utilized by nations with lower GDP’s, and that targeted development plans may or may not be yielding the results originally reported.

Regarding the misleading economic indicators and development in Africa, New York Times author Jeffrey Sachs noted that current Malawi leadership “broke old donor-led shibboleths by establishing new government programs to get fertilizer and high-yield seeds to impoverished peasant farmers who could not afford these inputs. Farm yields soared once nitrogen got back into the depleted soils.”

The generous aid packages deployed by well meaning NGO’s have been instrumentally important in the international development of many low-income countries. However, flawed economic indicators and development in Africa leads to a misappropriation of aid that could be better used by other “high-priority” targets requiring greater attention and economic assistance. International aid is a finite resource that carries with it equal amounts of opportunity and responsibility, and should be allocated primarily to those nations that are plagued by the loop of global poverty.

– Brian Turner

Source CNN
Photo The Guardian