Dispelling Myths About World Poverty

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Posted on 2/4/2014
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Many common misconceptions about global poverty persist, despite the many gains that have been made around the world.

Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently attempted to set the record straight on the real challenges faced by governments and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Fighting poverty in the world's poorest countries is a substantial challenge. In addition to the logistical and financial problems, there are a number of misconceptions about global poverty that further hamper efforts to improve living conditions in developing nations. Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal about these myths, attempting to set the record straight on the real challenges faced by governments and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Potential for Change

One of the most enduring myths about poverty is that, for countries with high populations of people living below the poverty line, there is little hope of economic recovery. According to Bill and Melinda Gates, this is not necessarily the case, citing improved conditions in Mexico City.

During the 1980s, when the Gateses first visited the city, conditions were extremely poor. Air quality was harmful, and many homes lacked running water or improved sanitation. Today, however, Mexico City is an entirely different metropolis altogether. Numerous improvements have been made to reduce emissions, improve and expand infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and bolster the city's economy. Poverty still persists in some areas, but overall, many gains have been made. Similar progress have been made in cities around the world, including New Delhi, India, and Shanghai, China.

The Value of Foreign Aid

Contrary to common misconceptions, international aid can be highly valuable in the fight against poverty. Financial support from overseas has had a tremendous impact, including reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. According to the Gates Foundation, a baby born in 1960 had an 18 percent chance of dying before his or her fifth birthday. Today, thanks to continued investment in developing nations from the international community and nonprofit organizations, this figure has fallen below 5 percent. By 2035, child mortality rates are projected to be lower than 1.6 percent.

Making a Difference

For the past 75 years, ChildFund has worked in some of the world's poorest countries to provide assistance to children and families living in poverty.

Our child sponsorship program has helped thousands of families break the cycle of poverty thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Entire communities can benefit from the services this program provides. Our early childhood development centers offer training and support across a wide range of areas, including nutrition, hygiene, pre- and postnatal health, and education. In addition, local health posts supported by ChildFund provide lifesaving health care such as immunizations and vaccinations, antimalarial medication, and regular health checkups for expectant and new mothers and infants.

ChildFund continues to work in developing countries around the world to improve the lives of families and help them break the cycle of generational poverty. However, we could not assist as many families without your support.

Becoming a child sponsor is one of the most effective ways you can help. For just $28 per month, you can allow us to provide nutritious food, clean drinking water and lifesaving health care to children who need it most. Alternatively, by becoming a monthly giving partner, you can support our various programs around the world, including the Children's Greatest Needs fund, which can help entire communities affected by food scarcity, drought and other problems.

Supporting ChildFund is more than just about monthly donations. It's about investing in the future. Together, we can work to fight child poverty and bring hope to thousands of families living in the world's poorest countries.