If you’ve been with us for a while, you are probably aware that we believe in the power of U.S. foreign assistance. Whether we are debunking myths, talking about the benefits of these programs, explaining how it works, or sharing experiences from the field, the effectiveness of these programs is evident. Thanks to funding from U.S. foreign assistance, each year over 3 million people are able to receive life-saving immunizations. Foreign assistance programs also saved Emmanuel’s life. At 18-months-old, Emmanuel got sick because he lacked vital nutrients such as vitamin A and iron. With the help of a USAID and World Vision program, Emmanuel’s father, Martin, learned how to cook nutritious meals and was provided with the resources needed to harvest vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes to eat and sell. Now, Emmanuel and his baby brother are thriving.
But don’t just take our word for it, hear what others have to say about these programs! Below, 15 experts from business people to generals to government officials all share why they believe foreign assistance is powerful.
- It provides us an opportunity to live out our faith.
“U.S. foreign assistance is our moral call and our opportunity to feed the hungry, offer water to the thirsty, and free the stranger from exploitation. As the FY18 budget debate gets underway all too soon, we are deeply grateful that Congress has made its bipartisan support of American values put to work, abundantly clear.” – Jean Duff, leader of Faith for International Assistance
- It gives hope to refugees.
“Countless times, I’ve seen firsthand how U.S. foreign assistance works and saves lives. I recently visited Jordan, a country that is committed to welcoming families fleeing violence and persecution in neighboring countries. More than 650,000 Syrian refugees, half of them under the age of 18, are now in Jordan, and the U.S. provides significant foreign aid for refugee programs in the country. That support feeds young refugee children, offers children the chance to get back into school after years of being away from home and provides vocational training for Syrian youth to give them hope for a productive future. This U.S. funding is essential if we are to avoid a lost generation of young people who can eventually help put their country on a better path.” – Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
- It promotes global health.
“Who really loses if we turn our back on global health? We, the American people lose. We lose out on the innovative new medical interventions that could someday save our lives. We lose critical opportunities to grow the next generation of scientific leaders. And we make our country more vulnerable to devastating epidemics.” – Jennifer Slyker, assistant professor of Global Health at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine & Public Health
- It is holistic.
“No national security strategy is complete in the long run without promoting global health, political freedom, and economic progress.” – President George Bush
- It is bipartisan.
“I believe that one thing that unites conservatives and liberals and moderates is the view of who we are as a people. And our goal is to explain to the American taxpayer that we take every dollar you send to us seriously when we spend it through the foreign operations account.” – Senator Lindsey Graham
- It is a smart investment.
“Looking at these issues as a businessman, I believe that investing in the world’s poorest people is the smartest way our government spends money.” – Bill Gates
- It is good for U.S. jobs.
“As a business person, I understand the value of an investment – and the importance of getting a good return on your dollar. And that’s what we get when we fund our diplomatic efforts and international programs. Yes, it means needed humanitarian relief. Yes, it means more security for the American people in these troubled times. But from years of our company’s experience, it also means jobs right here at home.” – James W. Owens, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar
- It is cost-effective.
“Spending money on foreign aid is a less costly alternative to placing aircraft carriers.” – Former Senator Norm Coleman
- It is like insurance.
“If you have a hard time accepting foreign aid as an investment, think of it as insurance. Insurance that is cheaper than at some point having to put American troops in danger.” – George Ingram, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution
- It establishes the U.S. as a global leader.
“We did not achieve our world leadership position through fearful isolation. We achieved our world leadership position by energetically engaging with the world through trade, investment, security arrangements, diplomacy and foreign aid. While we can always do better and while we will always have problems, our leadership position has made America and the world more open, more prosperous, more secure and more free.” – Former Representative Robert Dold
- It makes the U.S. stronger.
“Strong national security is dependent on having a strong diplomatic arm, a strong development arm, a strong intelligence arm, a strong capability to try to have strong economies in the world. I mean, all of this is related to our national security. And I think if any one of these areas suffers cuts above and beyond others it’s going to damage our security just by virtue of the kind of broad approach we need to have to be — to maintain the leadership position we have in the world.” – Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
- It achieves a secure and stable environment.
“The ultimate importance to the United States of our security and development assistance programs cannot be exaggerated. The programs and activities provided for in these bills will enable the United States to continue its contribution to the achievement of a secure and stable international environment.” – President Ronald Reagan
- It addresses threats.
“Development and diplomacy keep us safer by addressing threats in the most dangerous corners of the world and by preventing conflicts before they occur. … We urge you to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget. Our nation’s security depends upon it.” – 70 top military leaders; USGLC National Security Advisory Council’s Letter to Congress
- It helps provide peace.
“If we spend [U.S. foreign assistance] wisely, it is what keeps our men and women out of harm’s way, keeps them from being in a hot war.” – Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- It helps break the cycle of poverty.
“When a mother receives adequate nutrition and access to healthcare before and during her pregnancy, her chances of delivering a healthy, HIV-free baby go up considerably. And when a healthy baby has access to good nutrition and critical immunizations, she is much more likely to survive and thrive throughout her first 5 years of life. And a child who makes it past the age of 5 has a much greater chance of remaining healthy, which means she’ll be more likely to go to school. Once a child is educated, the cycle of poverty is broken.” – Marian V. Liautaud, author and Director of Marketing for the Aspen Group
Photo: Oscar Otim, 1-and-a-half, and his brother Emmanuel Ojede, 3, enjoying cakes made out of orange flesh sweet potatoes at home. © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Simon Peter Esaku