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Why Cutting Foreign Aid is a Bad Idea

October 21, 2011 The Washington Post

I agree that the Republican presidential candidates' apparent willingness to drop humanitarian foreign aid from the U.S. budget is deeply disturbing. Some argue that foreign aid is ineffective and only props up corrupt governments. But UNICEF and the World Health Organization just reported that the annual child mortality rate has dropped in the past 20 years from 12 million to 7.6 million children per year; much of this decrease can be attributed to investments of foreign aid.

Another result of foreign aid is an increased number of children in school; one effective group called the Global Partnership for Education has enabled 19 million more children to go to school since 2002. Education is recognized as the most effective type of aid; more than 700,000 cases of HIV could be prevented if all children received a primary education.

The United States has a chance to support this Global Partnership at its first fundraising conference next month. I hope that the Obama administration will make this crucial investment, and that the Republican candidates will come to recognize the importance of foreign aid to the safety and stability of the United States and the world.

Lisa Peters, Bethesda

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