Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Resource: Facts about International Food Aid Programs


Funding for poverty-focused foreign assistance comprises just 0.6 percent of the U.S. federal budget, yet these programs save millions of lives and help improve conditions for millions more by giving people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Poverty-focused foreign assistance programs fight systemic poverty and provide a chance for people to thrive. With the help of poverty-focused foreign assistance:

  • The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by 400 million since 1990.
  • In 2010, 46.5 million of the world’s most vulnerable people and children received emergency food aid.
  • In 2010, 5 million schoolchildren received school lunches through the McGovern-Dole School Feeding Program.
  • More than 1.3 billion people have gained access to better sanitation since 2000.
  • 3 million lives a year are saved through immunization programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • U.S. funding for medication helps prevent more than 114,000 infants from being born with HIV each year. Additionally, more than 33 million people affected with HIV since 2004 have received counseling.
  • More than 1 million lives could be saved each year by funding programs that focus on adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2.
  • A recent 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. Protecting poverty-focused foreign assistance ensures our national security:
  • Research shows that for every 5 percent drop in income growth in a developing country, the likelihood of violent conflict or war within the next year increases by 10 percent.
  • Poverty-focused foreign assistance is an important, strategic investment that saves our country from costly interventions later. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has stated, “development is far cheaper than sending in soldiers.”

Protecting poverty-focused foreign assistance programs bolsters our nation’s economy and helps build markets for U.S. goods and services:

  • These programs expand our future trade capacity—50 percent of U.S. exports go to emerging markets, and one in five U.S. jobs are tied to trade.
  • For every 10 percent increase in U.S. exports, there is a 7 percent decrease in the U.S unemployment rate.
  • By enabling the most vulnerable people around the world to get out of poverty, we are ensuring future markets for U.S. goods and services and a brighter economic future for Americans.

Molly-marshMolly Marsh is managing editor at Bread for the World.



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