New report shows Aussie aid helps save millions of lives

Australian aid dollars have contributed to significant declines in child deaths, gains in school enrolments and the provision of clean water and sanitation for the world’s poorest people, says a new report released today by World Vision Australia. 

The report, Effective Aid: Helping Millions, calculates the impact of aid over the past 20 years and shows the 10 countries who receive the most Australian aid have all shown significant progress in combating poverty - with the exception of Afghanistan which is affected by conflict. 

“Rich nations spend just one third of one percent of their income on aid each year. Global military spending was 13 times higher than all aid from wealthy countries in 2009 and more is spent on soft drink each year than aid for poor countries,” World Vision CEO Tim Costello said. 

“Despite this small investment in aid, the report shows it’s having a big impact. And that should give Australians confidence that their aid dollars are going to good use. 

“According to the report, since 1990, global aid efforts have helped prevent 45 million child deaths and an additional 1.8 billion people have gained access to improved water sources. 

“An extra 40 million children have received a basic education each year since 2000. The number of women dying from pregnancy related causes has also dropped and the number of people dying from AIDS is on the decline.” 

Rev Costello said although some people have recently questioned the effectiveness of aid, World Vision program results listed in the report suggest aid is helping to combat poverty. 

“World Vision has worked for a number of years now in a region in Peru called Lamay. Before we started working there child deaths and malnutrition were very high,” he said. 

“However, between 2000 and 2006, the malnutrition rate dropped from 66 percent to 39 percent and the number of women who gave birth in a health clinic instead of at home rose from 30 percent to 90 percent. World Vision’s project has clearly contributed to some remarkable changes in the health of the Lamay community.” 

The release of the World Vision report comes in the lead up to next month’s Federal Budget. 

"Australians understand the importance of aid and are among the world's most generous private donors to overseas causes, yet the generosity of our government aid ranks just 15th out of the 23 industrialised economies," Rev Costello said. 

"There is bipartisan commitment to boost Australia's level of overseas aid to 50 cents in every $100 dollars by 2015. It is a commitment World Vision hopes to see crystallised in next month's budget if it is to be fulfilled.” 

The World Vision report shows an increase in the aid budget and a greater focus on essential services could save an extra 500,000 lives annually. 


To arrange interviews please contact World Vision media officer Sacha Myers on 0457 926 018. 

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