Making aid work

Ensure US poverty-reducing aid is led and designed by the people who need it most.

What's wrong

We can't afford to let Congress cut lifesaving foreign assistance—it's working. But 60 years of foreign aid also shows that international donors alone cannot fix the problems of developing countries.

Making it right

With a small investment from the US government, US foreign aid programs can support local leaders as they take action to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

Aid hero, Mayor Manuel Dominguez.

Don't cut aid. It's working.

By leveraging a tiny US investment, people like Mayor Manuel Dominguez are creating a secure future for their nations and communities. Tell Congress to oppose any cuts to life-changing foreign aid.

Sign the petition

Stories & updates


Suyapa Maldonado: a lifelong struggle for justice

Since she was a child, Suyapa Maldonado has made fighting for the most vulnerable her core mission—and not even hurricanes and the most powerful El Niño on record will make her waiver.


Sidi Jaquite: A friend in times of trouble

Threatened by Ebola in neighboring countries, Sidi Jaquite and his team of trusted health workers used their experience to spring into action to protect vulnerable communities.

How much do we really spend on foreign aid?

If you think about 25 percent of the US federal budget, you're like most Americans.

But the reality is that poverty-focused development aid is currently less than 1 percent of the US federal budget, and cutting it will have virtually no effect on reducing our nation's budget problems.

Even if development aid is a small percentage of the US federal budget, in terms of absolute dollars, the US is still the largest donor of official development assistance around the world. So these aid dollars must still be spent in the right ways.

How is foreign aid put to work?

Whether helping local farmers increase their crop production or supporting neighbors to rebuild after a natural disaster, few Americans would disagree that the aim of US foreign assistance must be to help people help themselves.

But, too often, US foreign aid is slow, bureaucratic, politically driven, and implemented from the top down. It seems to have lost sight of the real objective—the actual needs of people who are poor.

Oxfam advocates with decision makers in Washington, DC, to improve the way the US government delivers aid. For US foreign aid to be effective, who delivers it and how it is delivered matter. US approaches should build on the vast amount of enterprising and creative problem-solving skills that local leaders employ.

Because aid is not the solution to poverty.
People are.

Featured publications

  1. Brief

    Open the books on US Foreign Aid

    The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 would release more information about where US dollars go and what results they achieve.

  2. Research

    Foreign aid 101: A quick and easy guide to understanding US foreign aid

    Foreign aid contributes to global poverty reduction, helps protect basic rights and liberties, and benefits America’s interests – all for less than one percent of the US federal budget.

  3. Brief

    A quiet renaissance in American aid

    How US reforms are making America a better partner in the fight against poverty Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+