Aid Reform Background
Why is it so important to improve US foreign aid? Because one billion people have been left behind by current global development trends. Aid, used in smart ways, can save lives and help people get themselves out of poverty. Better yet, smart aid can help make other local, national, and global economic and political forces work for poor people.
Why care about aid reform?
From helping local farmers increase their crop production to supporting citizens and governments rebuild after a natural disaster, development assistance must be led and designed by the people who need it most. But our system of foreign aid delivery was built for the challenges of the 20th century and is too bureaucratic and fragmented for 21st century problems, often failing to reach poor communities. Furthermore, America’s foreign aid strategy has become increasingly driven by US military and political concerns and Washington pet initiatives, losing sight of the real objective: the actual needs of the poor.
What we’re doing
Oxfam America is advocating for effective development through innovative approaches on-the-ground that strengthen country-led development practices and commit the US to providing better information, capacity, and control to responsible governments and active citizens. This approach can allow America to reap the long-term benefits of our investment by lifting millions out of poverty, making the world more secure, and bringing prosperity to millions through economic opportunity and political stability.
Oxfam is asking that:
- The President and Congress partner to ensure that America’s development assistance builds long-term institutions in communities, rather than working around them. Demand, not supply, should be the new guiding principle of our development assistance.
- The President and Congress partner to ensure that US foreign aid is focused on the real goal of helping countries move beyond aid and to self-sufficiency.
- The President and Congress partner to continue to support policy reforms and initiatives such as the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future, and USAID Forward, by protecting the critical funding needed to shift to more streamlined development practices, including reforms to use more country systems.
In this tough economic environment, the US will be required to make difficult choices about its investments. And because poverty-focused aid is currently less than one percent of the US federal budget, cutting aid to developing countries will have no impact on reducing the nation’s debt, but it would threaten the livelihoods of millions of poor people worldwide and put at risk our own national security.
Whether the US fights global poverty for moral reasons or to improve its own future security, Oxfam America believes the right approach requires that the US aid portfolio effectively fights poverty for its own sake, and that the needs of poor people—not politics—drives US development policy and funding.