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Foreign Aid, Where Does It Go? A Look at USAID

American Foreign Aid USAID
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a successful program engineered to combat poverty. USAID has focused on diminishing poverty in several aspects. Improving nutrition, assisting in food aid, and advancing water supplies are all important USAID goals. These three issues are connected on a deeper scale, as improving nutrition levels is conjoined with clean water supply and food aid assistance.

Proper nutrition is a basic necessity for every human. Malnutrition leads to approximately 2.6 million deaths per year, deaths that could be prevented if steps were taken to counteract malnutrition. USAID has partnered with Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) to help achieve basic nutritional improvement in impoverished areas throughout the world.

USAID and SUN have laid out a strategic approach to achieve their goal. They plan to prevent malnutrition through a package of maternal, infant, and young children programs. USAID and SUN will also combat malnutrition by targeting supplementation to vulnerable groups, managing malnutrition through community based projects, providing nutritional care for those living with HIV/AIDS, and improving the quality of food in the food assistance programs.

USAID is not only well prepared to handle global malnutrition levels; they are also prepared on the food assistance front. USAID works with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to effectively deliver lifesaving aid to food-barren areas. USAID and WFP have developed a working protocol that efficiently delivers food supplies to shortages worldwide.

USAID and WFP are constantly upgrading their food science programs, allowing them to deliver greater amounts of healthy food to needy areas. USAID is using a supply-chain management system that allows food to be sent out more efficiently. The programs have also combined to implement an emergency food service, which allows USAID and WFP to purchase emergency food in disaster-stricken areas. In addition, USAID also funded the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), which is highly regarded as one of the best early-warning systems in the world.

Food and nutrition are two basic necessities in life. These epidemics are two of the most common problems known worldwide, yet a third is often overlooked. Lack of clean water supplies is just as important, and it receives a similar amount of attention from USAID. USAID has a specifically laid out plan to implement clean water supplies in needy areas. USAID focuses on increasing access to a sustainable water supply for all communities, finding a way to sanitize the water supplies, and teaching the community key hygiene behaviors to keep the water sanitized.

Through the actions of USAID, positive results can be seen in all of the targeted areas. In 2011, 3.8 million people had better access to clean water. USAID and affiliated programs provided over 1.5 metric tons of food to communities in 2012. The nutrition programs have been equally effective, with predictions that malnutrition will decrease by 20 percent in the next two years in targeted countries. The progress can be easily seen; all of which were made possible by the foreign aid budget that often falls under much criticism.

– Zachary Wright

Sources: USAID, USAID: Food Aid, USAID: Nutrition
Photo: Flickr