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Myth: We Have to Choose Between Helping the Poor at Home vs. Overseas

Last week Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter for 2014. I was excited to see it focus on debunking persistent myths in development aid, and it got me thinking about the myths I’ve encountered working in advocacy, government relations, and communications at the Gates Foundation for the past decade. One constant refrain about aid that I’ve heard, particularly in more recent years living in Europe, is this: “We have to choose between helping the poor here at home and helping the poor abroad.”

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Myth: Poor Countries Aren’t Doing Their Part to Fund Their Own Development

More often than not, poor countries are in fact funding their own development with their own resources.

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Transparency, Accountability and Citizen-Led Development

We realize that to empower citizens and build strong communities, it is necessary to harness the power of community-based ideas and resources and work hand-in-hand with communities to bring these ideas to fruition.

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The Uneven Politics of Development

The MDGs constitute an important framework that emphasizes things like maternal health, gender equality and universal education as imperative to development. In other words, they highlight the link between people and development, and the importance of maintaining a focus that is not solely on the economic.

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A Quiet Renaissance in American Aid

Aid does not cause development; people do.

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