With all the talk that’s been happening around the US budget cuts, let’s remember one thing: if we cut our foreign aid funding, it will affect the world’s poorest people — period. As Erin Hohlfelder from our global policy team said it in a blog post earlier this week, “We can too easily lose sight of the unique people and programs for whom development efforts are intended.”
That’s why it’s important to remember that US initiatives like PEPFAR, Feed the Future and the Global Fund have helped make a serious impact in the fight against poverty. And there’s evidence to prove it. Here are five US-funded projects that our staff personally witnessed during recent trips to Africa:
- Our staff photographer Morgana documented schoolteachers using USAID-funded radios and radio programs as teaching supplements in a classroom in rural Tanzania. The program, called Radio Instruction to Strengthen Education, was a response to the statistic that said 20 percent of children in Tanzania still did not have access to primary education in 2008.
- Real-time, 21st century HIV testing and counseling is available for people living in extremely rural areas outside of Kisumu, Kenya, thanks to a partnership between the Kenyan government and the US Army.
- A US-funded agriculture project in Malawi helps smallholder farmers capture excess rainfall to use in land irrigation. More than 85 percent of Malawi’s citizens are smallholder farmers, and because of the country’s geographic location, it receives either too much rainfall or too little. This project could help people produce more food.
- On a visit to Malawi, Kim Hunter from our communications team met more than 100 farmers whose lives were transformed by the Chitsanzo Milk Bulking Group, a Feed the Future-funded, public-private partnership project with Land O’Lakes and General Mills that supports local dairy farmers in the rural area of Dedze.
- Feed the Future introduced a simple and low-tech mechanized grinder to 1,500 female shallot farmers in Mali that allows them to process up to one ton of shallots a day. Without the grinder, they were processing just 50 kilograms of shallots by hand a day.
Although this is just a small sampling of US efforts in Africa, it shows that real people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. As our members of Congress vote to make cuts in the US budget today, we hope that they don’t turn their backs on the world’s most vulnerable. Learn more about it on our Hot Topics page, “US Budget: Funding to Save Lives.”