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More than 900 million People Suffer from Chronic Hunger
Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by 400 million since 1990. This is mostly the result of much hard work by poor people themselves, but U.S. foreign assistance has played an important role.
Still, more than 900 million people around the world suffer from chronic hunger. These numbers are daunting, but U.S. poverty-focused foreign assistance saves lives and helps improve conditions for millions more by giving people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
Funding for these programs comprises only 0.6 percent of the U.S. federal budget. Yet this small amount of money is crucial. Each year, U.S. poverty-focused assistance:
- can save more than 1 million lives by focusing on adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2.
- provides medications that prevent more than 114,000 infants from being born with HIV, and provides counseling to more than 33 million people affected with HIV since 2004.
- saves 3 million lives through immunization.
- helps bring safe drinking water sources to poor communities, impacting 1.3 billion people over the last decade.
These programs don’t provide long-term handouts, but they fight systemic poverty and provide a chance for people to thrive. For example, a U.S.-funded project in Honduras successfully raised participating farmers’ purchasing power by 87 percent, compared to an 11 percent increase for non-participating farmers.
Funding these programs is not only the right thing to do, it also demonstrates U.S. leadership, protects our own national security and economic future, and helps create a more stable world by counteracting the desperation that can lead to political unrest, conflict, and extremism. These programs address the root causes of poverty, which helps ensure new markets for U.S. goods and services.
Check back on the Bread Blog every day this week for tips, stories, and resources on conducting an Offering of Letters at your church or community around poverty-focused foreign assistance.
Photo caption: Jane Sabbi farms some of her 12 acres of land in Kamuli, Uganda. This mother of seven children is a client of VEDCO, a Ugandan NGO that helps people improve agricultural practices and grow more nutritious food. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl
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