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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A Primer On Aid

March 21, 2012

Most Americans believe that about 25% of their national budget goes to foreign aid. Far too much, they say, naming 10% as the right amount to spend. They also cite examples of waste and corruption.

In reality, aid makes up less than 1% of the U.S. federal budget. And far more of it goes to saving and improving lives than is wasted.

That’s why last month we opened a call for proposals to help change the narrative on foreign aid. Since then, we’ve been hearing from people around the globe with great ideas to help us meet this challenge.

We’ve also heard that people want more information on foreign aid itself: What exactly IS aid? How much money is spent? Where are the success stories? And what are the current perceptions at play?

It’s a complex topic. To help provide context, we’ve asked key foundation staffers for their perspective on the aid challenge. Watch this short video for an overview of the issues at hand.

We’ve also compiled a list of some of the primary resources on development aid. Keep in mind: This list is intended to be a jumping-off point: There’s an enormous amount of work out there to draw from, and we’d love to hear from you what you’re finding useful. We invite you to post updates and questions in the comments below.

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