Last week we ran an article on the blog titled, “THE FACTS – Just how ‘pathetic’ has Australian Foreign Aid become?”. We asked what one word you’d use to describe the current situation of Australian Aid? And you responded, telling us you find it, “tragic”, “disappointing”, and, from reader Ashleigh, “In one word it leaves me… gutted.”
But then we received this comment from Adam Valvasori, head of the new Campaign For Australian Aid. When asked how he felt about Australian Aid, Adam responded with the following;
Not the response we were anticipating (or admittedly, agitating and angling for) but Adam’s response highlights something important we failed to cover, and that is,
Whilst we rightly lament the ‘level’ of Australian aid currently being given, we must not forget that when delivered well, Australian aid saves lives and improves the living standards of millions of people around the world.
So to make up for our oversight, we’ve gone in search of the most impressive statistics showcasing the difference Australian aid makes around the world, and here they are.
AMAZING STATISTICS ON THE POWER AUSTRALIAN AID
Through Australian aid partnerships with NGOs in 2013–14:
- More than 950,000 people gained access to safe water and basic sanitation;
- 4 million people grew in their awareness of gender equality, women’s equal rights and issues related to violence against women;
- 2 million people gained better access to essential medicines and health commodities including HIV treatment;
- 280,000 people increased incomes;
- 3 million people gaining access to financial services;
- And in 2013-2014 alone, Australian aid helped vaccinate almost 36 million children against measles, provided drinking water to 3.4 million households and gave 2.5 million children in emergency situations access to learning, safe community spaces and psychological support
And in its effort to empower women and girls, Australian aid has helped:
- The UN Development Program to create almost 6.5 million jobs (over half for women) in 109 countries;
- Support freer and fairer elections in 68 countries (including registering 3.4 million new voters in Afghanistan—35% of them women);
- Ensure that in 2013–14, nearly 900,000 additional births were attended by a skilled birth attendant, including 97,000 women in the poorest regions of Indonesia where the number of women delivering in hospitals supported by Australia tripled from 490 to 1,490 per month
Finally, through Australian aid’s regional focus on the Indo-Pacific region (that receives less than one-third of global aid despite being home to two-thirds of the worlds poor):
- In 2013–14, now more than 40,000 people have better access to financial services, 327,000 students have improved education facilities, and 180,000 people can access safe water.
SO DO WE ‘PROTEST’ OR ‘CELEBRATE’ AUSTRALIAN AID?
Looking at these impressive numbers, you should be encouraged by that fact that this is where some of your hard-earned tax has gone.
Without even knowing it- your money has been directed through the hands of Australian aid into foreign communities where lives have been transformed and are now healthier and happier. This improvement in the lives of others will also continue to benefit our own wellbeing and security as Australia’s national interest is strengthened. Pretty sweet deal hey?
So in reference to our last post… Has Australia broken the international responsibility to spend 0.7% of it’s GNI on foreign aid? Yes. Very much so. We are still giving around only 0.25% of our national income, which is the least generous we’ve ever been as a nation.
However, is Australia’s foreign aid program in-and-of-itself a failure and… ‘pathetic’?
Evidently not looking at the statistics above.
Whilst there is still space for improvement in the delivery and nature of our overseas programs, what remains disappointing is not necessarily the quality of work, but rather the quantity.
The drop in Australian aid over the past few years is indeed tragic, but it is important to keep focused on the incredible impact it has had and continues to have.
Australian citizens – we need to look towards the future, recognize and believe in Australian aid’s potential, and keep hoping, praying and advocating for it to achieve even greater things.
Instead of getting angry or feeling hopeless, let’s make a conscious decision to celebrate the impact of Australian aid through believing that our nation can do “more and better” by joining the ‘Campaign for Australian Aid’.
- Take a stand and join thousands of other Aussies who believe their taxes should go towards the best kind of investment- people. Instead of getting frustrated at it’s ‘pathetic-ness’– stay informed, sign up to the Australian Aid campaign, and keep believing in Australian aid’s potential and power.
*Source of statistics: DFAT publication ‘Performance of Australian Aid 2013-14’ , Released: 11th February 2015