Submitted by Savanna Schwartz
The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization that advocates for increased U.S. foreign policy in order to reduce hunger and poverty worldwide. They also work to address the many myths that surround foreign aid and whether or not it actually helps. One common misconception that circulates American media and society is that the United States has already given enough in terms of foreign aid and that it should no longer be our responsibility. There are several reasons why this is false.
The reduction of global poverty is not only about helping other countries. By helping to raise people out of poverty, we can increase the global market that the American economy relies on in order to provide jobs for Americans. As people move up from barely surviving, to being members of the working class, to joining the middle and upper classes, they participate more in the global economy, benefiting everyone involved. Additionally, an investment in the reduction of poverty is an investment in American national security. Poverty-stricken countries are often those that experience the most violent conflicts. People that are living on less than one dollar a day are the most susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations. Raising people’s quality of life reduces the likelihood of them resorting to desperate, potentially dangerous, methods of survival.
Another important consideration is the impact of poverty on overpopulation and the resulting strain on resources. The idea that saving people from poverty will result in larger populations is an idea that is frequently perpetuated, but it is not correct. Families that live below the poverty line are often the ones that have higher numbers of children, because infant mortality rates are much higher and because they rely on their children to bring in extra income. By reducing poverty and hunger through foreign aid, we also reduce the likelihood of death in early childhood, thereby reducing the need to have more children.
In order to increase foreign aid, there are several important acts in Congress that must pass. Some of those include the International Affairs Budget, the Keeping Girls in School Act, and the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act. To pass these acts, everyday citizens can contact their Congressional leaders to demonstrate their support. Congress tallies every phone call and email they receive regarding important issues, and the more interest that is shown, the more likely leaders are to back a bill or act. The Borgen Project highly encourages supporters of these acts to email their Congressional leaders via borgenproject.org/action-center. It is also possible to call Congressional leaders at their office and let them know you’d like them to support increased foreign aid to developing countries. This is a very easy way that people can make a difference in our government and in the lives of people struggling from poverty around the globe.
Borgen Project PR Intern