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Impact of Foreign Assistance

U.S. poverty-focused development assistance improves the lives of millions of people around the world.

With U.S. funding, nongovernmental organizations—including many faith-based groups—help get millions of children in school, help mothers immunize their babies in new health facilities, and help farmers learn strategies to improve their crops. More children are living to see their fifth birthdays, and deaths from measles and tuberculosis are declining.

The number of people receiving anti-retroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS in developing countries increased tenfold to almost 3 million people in the last six years. Since 1990, more than 1 billion people gained access to clean water. When targeted and given the proper resources, aid can work.

However, foreign aid, even poverty-focused development assistance, cannot solve the world’s development problems alone. Countries and communities face crushing debt burdens, unfair trade rules, poor governance, and disruptive conflicts as they try to improve the well-being of their citizens.

U.S. development policy cannot be only about aid. It must also address these other constraints to economic growth and improved living standards. Currently these decisions are scattered across 12 departments, 25 agencies, and nearly 60 offices in the U.S. government, making a holistic plan for development nearly impossible.

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