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How Foreign Aid Has Advanced Education in IndiaIndia, located in South Asia, has a population of 1.2 billion people and is on its way to becoming the world’s most populous nation by 2030. However, the country still struggles with providing its growing population with access to quality healthcare, potable water, education and clean energy. The education sector in India, in particular, requires special attention, since so much of the nation’s personal and national development is based upon it.

India, being a developing nation, has struggled in this area for a very long time. For instance, even in the late 1980s, between 30 and 40 million children of primary school age were out of school. Foreign aid to India, as a result, proves to be an effective investment in this arena, and there are many ways foreign aid has advanced education in India.

One of the ways foreign aid has advanced education in India is by initiating projects that focus on improving the sector from its core. For instance, one of the three major goals of USAID’s Global Education Strategy is “improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades.” Focus on the children in primary grades is essential, as so much of a country’s future depends on it. For instance, according to the World Bank, “an increase of one standard deviation in student reading and math scores is associated with an increase of two percentage points in annual gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth.”

In order to advance this target, USAID supports 10 initiatives in the country and partners with the government of India to “identify, support and scale early grade reading innovations developed in India.” Additionally, USAID focuses on improving the capacity of educators to improve pedagogy and teaching.

For instance, the Teacher Innovation in Practice program works to positively impact the teaching practices of 14,657 teachers to improve early grade reading outcomes of more than 564,000 primary school children in the states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India. By developing teachers’ mindsets, building an enabling environment and improving pedagogical skills and knowledge, the main goal of this program is to reignite teacher motivation to drive better student learning outcomes.

Other initiatives focus on improving the literacy rate in the country, which was as low as 19.3 percent shortly after independence in 1951. USAID, in partnership with Tata Trusts and the Center for microFinance, is leading an initiative called the Nurturing Early Literacy Project that aims to “shift the prevalent rote-based pedagogy in India to one that views the child as an active learner.”

The project incorporates different approaches, including in-class sessions for teachers and equitable access to libraries for children, both in schools and communities. The aim of this project is to improve the reading skills of more than 90,000 primary school children in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

India reportedly spends a mere 3 percent of its GDP on education, making foreign aid geared towards development in the educational sector crucial. Foreign aid has advanced education in India significantly over the years. For instance, the literacy rate increased to 65.4 percent in 2001, and currently sits at 74.04 percent.

Hopefully, with continued support from foreign investments, India will be able to develop its education sector, thereby potentially boosting its economy and reducing poverty.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits From Foreign Aid to Thailand
The U.S. is Thailand’s third-largest bilateral trading partner, only behind Japan and China. In 2017, the United States imported $26.5 billion goods from Thailand, which was 11.2 percent of total Thailand exports.

The U.S. and Thailand have been trading partners since 1833, when the two nations signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce and formed diplomatic relations. Recently, these two countries have discussed ways to expand trade and address outstanding issues. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Thailand reached $7.4 billion in 2003, which pushed the U.S. to become the largest foreign investor in Thailand that year.

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Thailand: Trade

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Thailand comes mainly in the form of trade, as the Eastern nation holds abundant natural resources. The major Thai exports to the United States are textiles, tin, integrated circuits, rubber, precious stones and sugar.

In 2004, the United States and Thailand made Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. This agreement eliminates issues related to tariff barrier and facilitates U.S. import and export, especially agricultural goods.

In addition, FTA protects U.S. investment as it can guarantee U.S. preferential status of investments under the U.S.-Thailand Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations (AER).

There were six negotiating rounds about the FTA from 2004 to 2006. These negotiations adjusted the FTA to maximize profits of both countries and strengthen the competition for U.S. import-competing industries such as textiles, apparel and light trucks. As a result of this effort, the pact solves numerous aspects of the issue of job losses prevalent in the U.S.

Fiscal Funding

In 2016, the U.S. ranked the top in all foreign aid with $30,765 million distributed by bilateral aid and international organizations, such as via organizations like the U.N. and the World Bank.

The U.S. planned to give Thailand $5.63 million; in the end, the nation invested around $12 million. This number increased to $7.17 million in 2017, and mainly focused on peace, security, education and social services.

USAID

The most vital foreign assistance of the U.S. in Thailand is the United Statement Agency for International Development (USAID), an organization that began in 1950. USAID trained Thais in various aspects of life such as agricultural productivity, health and family planning, science, technology, infrastructure development, human rights and governance, health and the environment.

Together, all of the USAID agencies spent $7 million in 2017 to further motivate Thailand’s development, and U.S. foreign aid and many U.S. companies brought Thailand from needing help to becoming self-sufficient, and an upper middle-income country.

“U.S. investments abroad help American businesses: by connecting them directly with new customers and suppliers,” Bill Gates wrote in his post on July 27, 2017. “America’s chief aid agency, USAID, uses its expertise to encourage private companies to collaborate on projects.”

A Prosperous Partnership

While Thailand gained numerous benefits from the FTA, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Thailand, too. Thailand’s average tariff on agricultural imports is around 39.9 percent, and the FTA largely trimmed U.S. expenses on tariffs in trading with Thailand, so the U.S. can access and acquire a substantial amount of much-needed Thai goods.

In April 2017, American and Thai leaders met under the U.S.-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and, based on previous outstanding trade alliance outcomes, reaffirmed to expand trade and strengthen investment ties.

– Judy Lu

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Recipients of U.S. Foreign Aid in 2018Despite comprising less than 1 percent of the United States’ federal budget, foreign aid still plays a major part in shaping the United States’ diplomatic and military positions around the world. Many U.S. citizens also have major misconceptions about the amount dedicated to foreign aid and the impact it has on economic growth and national security. This makes it important to look at the top 10 recipients of U.S. foreign aid in 2018 and examine its positive impact on the United States and the world.

  1. Iraq – $347.9 million
    One of the most notable recipients of U.S. foreign aid is Iraq. The conflict in Iraq has remained a major contributor to global instability for 15 years now, claiming the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Thus, the United States plans to spend $347,860,000 in 2018 to help stabilize the region. Current plans involve economic assistance following the collapse of world oil prices (a major contributor to Iraq’s economy), the stabilization of territories recovered from the Islamic State, and support for a humanitarian response to the needs of displaced citizens. Foreign aid to Iraq is key to the United States’ success, as it strengthens national security and helps diminish the threat of terrorist organizations such as ISIL that thrive in unstable regions.
  2. Nigeria – $419.1 million
    The primary goal of the United States’ foreign assistance in Nigeria is the reduction of extreme poverty in the region. Aid in Nigeria also seeks to support the creation of a stable democratic system that engages citizen input and is less vulnerable to attacks by radical terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, which has devastated the northern region of the country through bombings and assassinations over the past several years. Better aid in Nigeria would promote a higher quality of life for local citizens, economically benefit the United States and stop the spread of radical terrorism.
  3. Zambia – $428.9 million
    In Zambia, the United States has pledged funding in order to lower extremely high rural poverty rates in the county, as well as create a mineral economy that offers more prosperity for its citizens. Aid will also go towards establishing sustainable agriculture and combating the spread of deadly diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Investing in Zambia is both humanitarian and helps develop new foreign markets for United States goods in the future.
  4. Uganda – $436.4 million
    Helping the government of Uganda establish sustainable economic development in its communities is key to the stabilization of East Africa as a whole. Uganda has been an ally of the United States, helping with regional threats to national security, and further aid benefits both countries immensely. Aid planned for 2018 will also support the ideals of a multi-party democratic system and will help fight the spread of deadly diseases that threaten to devastate local communities.
  5. Tanzania – $535.3 million
    Despite an increasingly flawed, but stable, multiparty governmental system, and a strong and growing economy, over a quarter of Tanzanians live below the poverty line. As one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, Tanzania aims to address issues of poverty among the populace, and at the same time advance American interests by creating a strong economic ally in the region.
  6. Kenya – $639.4 million
    Despite a series of democratic reforms that have taken place throughout the past decade, Kenya’s political system still suffers from pervasive government corruption and ethnic feuds. Many farmers and citizens live in drought-prone areas, which could spell disaster for some communities in future years and worsen tensions in the country. Planned aid to Kenya this year will increase the ability of the public to hold officials accountable and foster development of drought-prone areas in order to protect people from climate disasters in the future.
  7. Afghanistan – $782.8 million
    Like Iraq, Afghanistan has been one of the least stable countries in the Middle East in the past decade. The presence of the Taliban and subsequent military invasion by the United States caused immense instability in the struggling country. Planned aid in 2018 aims to cement democratic conditions in the fragile new Afghani government and embolden security forces to fight Taliban insurgencies and the expansion of the Islamic State, while also creating self-reliant communities that are less susceptible to occupation and exploitation. Aid to Afghanistan is key to establishing a more stable Middle East and stopping the dangerous spread of radical terrorism.
  8. Jordan – $1 billion
    Due to its location next to war-torn Syria, Jordan is at the center of the current refugee humanitarian crisis, which makes strengthening economic development in the country essential. As one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, Jordan is receiving help to cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the devastating Syrian civil war, as well as increase democratic accountability and gender equality within the Jordanian government.
  9. Egypt – $1.39 billion
    In providing aid to Egypt, one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, the United States intends to improve food security and good governance in the country, while also strengthening its ability to fight extremist terrorism that threatens the country. Aid will also help to continue the healthy economic relationship between Egypt and the United States. Though most aid is dedicated to security and economic development, around $30 million is intended to promote health and education among Egyptian citizens.
  10. Israel – $3.1 billion
    As one of the only functioning democracies in the Middle East, the United States has long supported Israel’s development efforts. The clear majority of Israeli foreign aid goes towards the development of defense programs against regional threats that jeopardize both American and Israeli interests. The United States also hopes to open a pathway of diplomatic negotiations with Palestinians to develop a peaceful resolution to regional conflicts.

These examples demonstrate the varied uses of U.S. foreign aid, and the different methods in which it is used to benefit the country. Whether invested in unstable states to boost global economic development and prevent terrorism, used to promote humanitarianism and improve the global view of the United States, or delegated to defense programs and assistance that increase U.S. soft power and influence, foreign aid has been used to benefit United States interests throughout the globe. This shows that foreign aid is not just an altruistic option, but one beneficial to the U.S. and its citizens.

– Shane Summers

Photo: Flickr

U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Maldives
The U.S. established diplomatic relations with the Maldives when the country became independent in 1966. The Maldives and the U.S. have preserved a positive alliance while working together to assist the Maldives in correcting their social and ecological complications. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Maldives, and both countries see beneficial developments while providing aid to other nations.

The Fulbright Program

In 2005, the U.S. partnered with the Maldives to begin The Fulbright Program through the U.S. Embassy. The program supports and assists educational networks that increase understanding and communication between the two countries. According to the U.S. Embassy of Maldives, The Fulbright Program has enhanced the lives of over 225,000 men and women, bringing some of Maldives’ most intelligent minds to academic grounds in the U.S. The program helps the students learn about the society and values of the U.S.

Providing Maldivian students the chance to explore the U.S. through grants and support boosts the economy in the U.S. by guiding and training future entrepreneurs. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Maldives and from this program because it brings in millions of dollars to communities throughout the nation.

Women Empowerment

The U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is giving women of other countries a voice to be heard in the U.S. The Women’s Empowerment Program allows women to address global challenges through sports, art, education, government and STEM. Because of the Fulbright Program, women from around the world have been allowed to share their stories nationally and internationally.

Exports

The Maldives and the U.S. signed a trade and investment agreement that provides a framework to study ways to boost bilateral trade and investment. The Maldives is allocated as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences Program, meaning certain products the Maldives might export are eligible for duty-free entry into the U.S. This helps boost profits for the Maldives and the U.S., as trade is a large means of income for almost any country. This program is helping to boost the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Maldives.

Business Investments

By forming an alliance with the Maldives, U.S. companies have benefited. Maldives provides contingency for U.S. business through tourism, construction and export-oriented manufactured products. This brings jobs and economic growth to the country of Maldives while also supporting U.S. enterprises on an international level. The U.S. Embassy in the Maldives provides access and assistance to help U.S.-established businesses export and grow their markets into the Maldives.

Environmental Sustainability

More recently, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Maldives have partnered up to help fight climate change that has been affecting the islands for years. Because of rising sea levels, Maldives is fighting for their land in fear that their beautiful country may drown beneath the sea. USAID prepared 650 marine biologists between 2014 and 2016 to observe marine biodiversity. USAID is also aiding the Maldives in building a desalination and rainwater system, which will provide access to clean drinking water for its citizens. By helping the Maldives fight against climate change, the U.S. and the Maldives are giving hope in restoring environmental sustainability.

The U.S. and the Maldives have an exceptional relationship, and U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Maldives help preserve and bolster the relationship between the two countries.

– Rebecca Lee

Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to Honduras
Honduras lies within Central America as a part of a northern triangle with El Salvador and Guatemala, and this nation faces severe problems including crime, violence and poverty. Honduras has a long, and not always beneficial, relationship with the United States. However, there are many scenarios in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras.

History and Past Relationships

The United States has a looming presence over Latin America including Honduras. One of the most notable cases occurred during the Cold War when the United States intervened in a myriad of countries in the name of preserving democracy; Honduras was used as a stationing point by the U.S. in their missions against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.

The people of Honduras haven’t always necessarily been fans of the United States and its government. The country is a former “banana republic” — its economy was based on the production and sale of bananas through foreign, particularly American, companies.

This arrangement ended up not favoring the Honduran people and poverty in many rural areas can be traced back to this relationship. However, it is still possible to see both Honduran and U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras.

War on Drugs

Honduras has been a pivotal part of drug trafficking through Central America to the United States. Central America is used as a transit region — it transports drugs from countries in South America such as Bolivia and Columbia to Mexico where the drugs can be transported across the border into the United States. This exchange has caused crime and violence to run rampant in the region, and the murder rate in Honduras is the highest in the world at 92 murders per 100,000 citizens.

The United States has previously given aid to Honduras so that the country can combat drug trafficking and the consequences the activity brings.

The U.S. Department of Commerce dedicated $1.5 million in 2017 for a customs and border management program in Honduras. Providing aid for this purpose can not only limit drug-related violence but it will limit some of the transport of drugs into the United States.

Immigration into the United States

The violence and poverty in Honduras has significantly increased immigration rates from the country to the United States. Many citizens have had no choice but to leave, and any risk they may face on their journey is deemed better than the alternative. In 2014, thousands of unaccompanied minors were found trying to flee to the U.S. from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Providing foreign aid could dramatically change the lives of these vulnerable citizens who feel pushed towards immigration. Such outside aid can help to alleviate poverty and provide services like healthcare and public education.

The United States has provided more than three billion dollars in development assistance since 1961, but more can be done for the Honduran people. This investment will lower immigration rates in the long run from Honduras into the United States.

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Honduras

There are a number of scenarios in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Honduras, but the only scenario in which we will actually see these benefits is the one in which we actually provide much-needed aid. Not only will the United States benefit from such an action but, possibly more importantly, the Honduran people will as well.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

The Security of Foreign Aid in a Radical Right Shift
Across the globe, and particularly in Europe, there has been a rise in nationalism and radical right-wing political parties have gained momentum and government positions. For many, this is concerning as their rhetoric tends to me anti-Semitic, xenophobic and anti-immigrant.

Those dependent on foreign aid may also fear that aid will decrease as these parties gain power; however, the good news is that the security of foreign aid has yet to be affected by this radically rightward shift.

Recent Developments

The success of the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party upset the predictions of many political pundits. In the September German elections, the radical right-wing party easily did better than any other party in the election, advancing from zero to 94 seats in the Bundestag.

According to Dr. Erica Edwards, a political science professor at Miami University of Ohio who specializes in nationalism and European political parties, this was not the expected outcome — due to their history with the Nazi party, the German political system has buffers in place to prevent such a party from gaining power; yet, the AfD still prospered.

Germany has been an incredibly significant contributor to foreign aid within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and is the third largest contributor within the Development Assistance Committee providing $17.8 billion in 2015. A drop in aid from the country would have significant impacts, but if Germany follows suit with other increasingly nationalized countries, the security of foreign aid will remain intact.

Security So Far

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, has members all over the world, including the major European powers, and works “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.” The organization measures net ODA, Official Development Assistance, for each of its members along with other measures of foreign aid output.

Hungary, a member of the OECD along with Germany, has faced a resurgence of radical right-wing sentiment in recent years. Viktor Orbán has been Prime Minister since 2010 and has made some radical and nationalist remarks exacerbated by the growing popularity of Jobbik, the second most popular and most radical right-wing party in the country.

Foreign Aid

Despite being ahead of Germany in radical right popularity, Hungary experienced a 13 percent increase in net ODA in 2014 and allocated up to $152 million in development aid in 2015.

Hungary has not been the most substantial contributor to the Development Assistance Committee, particularly in comparison to Germany, but the nation still continues to increase its foreign aid and has secured it up to 2020, despite popular nationalist rhetoric. Poland, another increasingly nationalist country and member of the OEDC, has also kept their foreign aid output fairly steady.

Maintaining a Watchful Eye

Although the rhetoric of these radical right parties can be problematic and oppressive to many, it does not appear to affect the security of foreign aid. However, Dr. Edwards believe it is important to keep an eye on these parties and the countries they govern as the situation is still unpredictable.

If citizens remain engaged and vigilant, then they have the power to maintain the security of foreign aid for those who depend on it.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

24. U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to GuatemalaGuatemala sits at the neck of the Central American landmass; it connects Mexico and North America to El Salvador, Honduras and South America. As a connector between continents, it is a cornerstone government in international politics. There are many ways that Guatemala benefits from foreign aid, and there are plenty of ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala.

According to the U.S. Department of State, assistance from the U.S. to Guatemala is focused mainly on:

  1. Anti-corruption and anti-trafficking policy
  2. Human rights defense
  3. Free-trade agreements

One main interest in Guatemala is building a strong anti-illegal immigration task force in the region due to a rising number of illegal immigrants from Guatemala to the U.S. In return, Guatemala offers many imports and exports, as well as political support and free trade agreements between the two countries and other international organizations.

Recently, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala through the country’s support in political spheres to make social statements. The cooperation reflects Guatemala’s reliance on U.S. aid. In a Dec. 25, 2017 article, CNN reported that Guatemala was moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The change implied that they, as well as the U.S., recognize Israel and not Palestine as the nation which rightfully inhabits the land. 

By deciding to move the embassy, the U.S. and Guatemala went against U.N. protocol regarding the situation. The U.N. later decided in a 128-9 vote to approve a resolution calling on other countries to avoid moving their embassies to Jerusalem. By siding together, Guatemala and the U.S. showed a strong mutual support.

On Guatemala’s side, offering a united front in support of the U.S. not only secures their relations with the U.S., and therefore their trade agreements and aid agreements, but it also helps Guatemala look like a dominant political figure. The U.S. and Guatemala both benefit from foreign aid, but the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala in many political and social spheres.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits From Foreign Aid to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a small country, a fact that should not serve as an influencer in international affairs, and despite its size, the Dominican Republic came to serve as a major trading port and hub for the developing Americas in its early history. As a result, the small country still plays a huge international role and the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Dominican Republic.

Trade Economy

According the U.S. Department of State, the Dominican Republic is a strong partner of the U.S. because it still holds the title of second-largest economy in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic has a strong bilateral trade economy with the U.S., and its economy is increasing steadily, making it one of the most economically stable countries in the region.

This being said, the Dominican Republic still has an issue with governmental impairment: numerous coups and upheaval has led to U.S. involvement to build lasting economies in the region. Before the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Dominican Republic, it has to help maintain the balance between state and its people.

U.S. Programs

The U.S. Agency for International Aid offers short-term and long-term solutions for three major programs in the Dominican Republic:

  • Maintaining HIV/AIDS prevention and building an AIDS-free generations
  • Helping control climate change and create sustainable infrastructure
  • Aiding in crime prevention in the region

According to their website, USAID states that the Dominican Republic has high literacy rates, but that hunger and food security levels are at only half capacity. The U.S. can help the Dominican Republic build food security, as it helps in all these other areas. But what will the U.S. gain in return?

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to the Dominican Republic

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Dominican Republic through the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement  — the trade agreement ties the U.S. to five other countries in respect to labor, manufacturing and opportunity creations. What the U.S. donates in funds, it receives in commodities, and vice versa. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Dominican Republic specifically through the supply of medical appliances, electric components, textiles, minerals and tobacco.

The Dominican Republic is perhaps one of the most solid trading partners the U.S. has, and with consistent aid and communication on both ends, there is no reason that the Dominican Republic can not benefit just as much from the U.S. as the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Dominican Republic.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr

 Ghana
In recent years, researchers, doctors and health organizations have begun to target the high rate of pneumonia deaths. As one of the largest causes of death in children, pneumonia and researchers’ search for its solutions have not been taken lightly. The Ghana Health Service and partner GAVI, supported by UNICEF, launched vaccines to combat the infection in 2012.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a bacterial, fungal or viral infection of the air-sacs in one’s lung or lungs, usually caused by the inhalation of specific or diseased germs. The infection causes fluid build up in the lungs, difficulty breathing, high fever, sweating, chills, chest pain and discoloration of fingertips. The best way to treat this infection is through immunizations and antibiotics.

Historically, pneumonia has been the leading cause of death in those under-five years old. Steps have occurred to decrease death rates from year-to-year, but yet unfortuantely, the number of deaths and the percentage of children lost to pneumonia is still staggering.

What Are the Impacts of Pneumonia?

In the year 2010 alone, pneumonia caused the deaths of 16,200 children, and the total number of deaths brought about because of pneumonia was a reported 13 percent. Subsequently, this percentage remained consistent between the years 2000 and 2010, and the percentage of deaths at the hands of this infection remained between twelve and thirteen percent, without substantial improvement.

Despite the decade-long absence of progress in pneumonia prevention and treatment, advancements have started taking place in more recent years. In April 2012, UNICEF supported the Ghana Health Service and partner GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, in launching pneumonia and diarrhea vaccines and the first ever World Immunization Week. The introduction of these vaccines to Ghana was a monumental step towards decreasing fatalities.

Ghana Health Service and its Aid

Although the establishment of vaccinations was a large logistical undertaking — including increasing hospital refrigeration storage in all ten regions of Ghana — the children of the country have benefited greatly from such measures. Pneumonia, for the first time ever in 2013, was not the leading cause of death for those under-five, though it was still the second-largest cause. Consequently, the total percentage of pneumonia causing fatalities decreased by 44 percent by 2015.

The installation of the pneumonia vaccine to Ghana has helped combat the vast amount of children who are annually impacted by the infection; however, there is still much progress to be made. As of 2017, UNICEF worked diligently to decrease pneumonia cases through fighting poor sanitation and open defecation.

How to Create Sustainable Solutions

To combat such massive undertakings, the organization implemented latrines and water pumps to as many communities as possible. Many have poured great effort into this ‘war against pneumonia’ and the Ghana Health Service, but measures must increase for significant and permanent changes to be sustained.

– Lydia Lamm

Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to Panama
Panama is the dividing landmass between two major water sources, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. A small sliver of a country, Panama is only 115 miles at its widest; such a small country should not by any means be an influencer in international affairs, but with the building of the Panama canal by the United States in 1914, Panama became perhaps the most prolific trading country in the world. As a result, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Panama in many ways, especially in access to trade and finances.

Fruitful Waters

According a National Geographic article, nearly 14,000 ships pass through the canal a year. Due to the length of time it takes to move through the canal (approximately eight to ten hours), the canal is a difficult route to navigate, but is crucial to increasing the speed with which shipping companies transfer goods between companies. Panama and the U.S. have had a friendly relationship since the conception of the canal, and it has continued into trading deals.

Location, Location, Location

The U.S. Department of State describes the ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Panama incredibly simply: “Panama’s location and role in global trade makes its success vital to U.S. prosperity and national security.” However, it also notes that the Panama Canal is a hub for traffickers and illegal activity as well. Due to this, the U.S. greatly assists in Panama’s anti-corruption and anti-trafficking policy building and free-trade agreements in the area.

Police Presence

One main interest in Panama is building a strong police presence in the region, due to the amount of cargo coming and going through the canal’s system. The more the U.S. and Panama regulate the canal, the less opportunity traffickers have to transport illegal goods to other countries.

Trading and Transportation

Similarly, the U.S. is incredibly invested in the trading and transportation policies around the canal, because not only is the U.S. one of the biggest investors in the canal, but it is also one of its main users. The Canal’s official website offers a graphic which shows all of the major import/export trade routed through the Panama Canal, and each route begins or ends in the U.S. So not only does Panama benefit from the finances and security the U.S. provides, but the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Panama by ensuring access to a major trading route that greatly benefits the U.S.

Mutual Benefits

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Panama through mutually assured success of U.S. involvement in trade routes and Panama’s maintenance of a secure canal system. As long as the U.S. continues to support anti-trafficking efforts in Panama and help the nation monetarily, it is almost impossible for the U.S. to lose this benefactory system.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr