Highlights from tonight’s Living Proof event

Earlier this year, Bill and Melinda Gates transferred their Living Proof campaign, an effort that highlights the positive impact of developmental assistance, to ONE. To celebrate this move — as well as to thank the UK government for its commitment to foreign aid — Bill and Melinda, along with Global Fund Deputy Executive Director Dr. Debrewerk Zewdie, gave a very special presentation tonight on something we don’t hear too often: success stories in the fight against global poverty.

Bill and Melinda touched upon several issues during their presentation, including agriculture, immunization and corruption. No matter the subject, there was one thing in common — they had hard facts to prove that in these areas things are getting better for millions of people in the poorest places in the world. TB deaths, for example, are declining globally, down from 1.8 million deaths in 2007 to 1.3 million in 2008. Nearly 4 million Africans have been placed on treatment for AIDS since 2002. And 98 million less people are going hungry in 2010 compared to in 2009. These things could not have been done without the assistance of foreign aid. “When money is spent wisely…it builds prosperous societies,” said Melinda.

Dr. Zewdie’s talk focused on breaking some of the most common misconceptions of aid. “As an African, I can tell you that the people who receive aid are the first ones to strive for sustainability.”

The bottom line of the event? Investments in development are saving lives, improving livelihoods and building prosperous societies — but in order to understand that, people need to talk about all the progress that we’ve made in the developing world. If Bill and Melinda can do it, you can too.

Check out videos and photos on our new Living Proof page and watch a rerun of our webcast on our Livestream page or in the video above. And of course, let us know what you thought of the event in the comments below!