New Year, New Congress. Why the 115th Congress should be committed to foreign aid.

With the swearing in of the 115th Congress today, PHIDAS would like to remind our elected officials of the importance of investing in foreign aid. From the humanitarian crisis in Syria to the drought in southern Africa, there are a number of ways the U.S. can commit to improving lives and furthering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Currently, the U.S. provides aid to more than 100 countries around the world and spends less than one percent of the federal budget on foreign assistance programs. Investments to ensure stable democracies, global food security and the elimination of poverty not only improve the lives of those living in affected areas, but these investments play a crucial role in furthering America’s strategic, economic, and moral objectives around the world. Below is just a sampling of the good that U.S. foreign aid does.

  • Literacy rates increased by 33 percent worldwide in the last 25 years.
  • Females make up almost half of the children and youth who benefited from USAID’s basic education programming.
  • Life expectancy in developing countries has increased by about 33 percent and the number of chronically undernourished has been reduced by 50 percent in the past two decades.
  • Every year, more than 3 million lives are saved as a result of USAID immunization programs.
  • USAID supported lifesaving antiretroviral treatment for more than 11.5 million people and supported HIV counseling and testing for more than 74.3 million people, including 11.5 million pregnant women in FY 2016.
  • Early USAID action in southern Africa in 1992 prevented massive famine in the region, saving millions of lives.

It is impossible to measure the effect of U.S. foreign assistance by using only these facts, but if these results say anything, it’s that foreign assistance works, and it improves the lives of millions of people across the world. With a new year and a new Congress, we call on our elected officials to make a commitment to foreign assistance and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.