10 ways to answer the toughest question on foreign aid

10 ways to answer the toughest question on foreign aid


Join the fight against Extreme Poverty

Throughout the week, we asked our ONE members to tell us how they would answer this question: Why should the US government continue to care about funding that fights global poverty even in tough economic times?

USAID boxes of food
Boxes of food aid from USAID being delivered to the Dadaab Refugee Camp during the famine in the Horn of Africa last year. Photo credit: ONE

It’s probably the toughest question on foreign aid out there right now, and one that our presidential candidates will be prepared to answer on the campaign trail. But we wanted to ask our ONE members this question, too — because let’s face it — you’re just as likely to get this question from friends and family.

Here are 10 great ways to answer this tough question on foreign aid, brought to you by our ONE members. Hopefully they inspire you to create a response of your own, but I’m sure they won’t mind if you use their answers.

A simple response from ONE member Pam Blanchard:

We as a nation are so blessed. To whom much is given much is expected.

Elena Herrero sees the big picture:

First, for ethical reasons. Second, because we live in a global world in which every action or omission exerts effects on the whole human community and its economy. Third, because the US is a great country that has to excel not only in technology, but also as a world leader in human values.

Janis Bates says that we are all connected:

Because we are all the same, all connected and should do what ever is in our power to do to help others always.

Short and sweet by Richard Neckameyer:

Because it’s the right thing to do! Very simple

Ronni Schultz believes it’s all about karma:

I’m a firm believer that you should always try to help others in need. Don’t “kick ’em while their down.” Regardless of who they are or where they are. Someday it might be us in that situation and we may need more of a hand up then we do now. If we don’t put any effort into helping others we really can’t ask them to help when our time of need rolls around! It’s the golden rule. Treat others how you would want to be treated.

Eleanor Braun gets bonus points for mentioning the MDGs:

1. Everybody is our neighbor, and we have obligations to our neighbor. 2. Simple justice requires that all people have an equal opportunity to survive. 3. It is in our long term national security interest that all people see us as working for a fair distribution of the world’s goods. 4. Ensuring relative economic justice (e.g. achieving the Millennium Development Goals).

Simple facts, my friend. Via Mark Thornhill:

The fact is, we spend less than 1 percent of our federal budget on foreign aid and a small fraction of that goes to fighting poverty. If we can get that number up to 3 percent and more into fighting poverty, we can show the extreme poor that we are not the enemy, but their friend. This money should also go to improving the infrastructure of their country so that they can survive on their own. Things like roads, running water, power, EDUCATION and many of the other things we take for granted here.

Shabina Hussain is truly a global thinker:

Because US is part of global community. Wouldn’t you like to fight poverty in your community?

Michelle Turner thinks in terms of economics:

To allow the global community to continue to spin farther apart in wealth would be tragic. we must strive to close all of the gaps that divide us as a global people.

Here’s a fun one from our friends at the US Global Leadership Coalition:


Got a response of your own? Share it with us in the comments below.


Bonus point: Help us recruit ONE members in our effort to pressure President Obama and Governor Romney to tell us how they plan on tackling global poverty. Learn more about our campaign here: http://bit.ly/uRsQ5P


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