Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Living Proof - aid works say ONE and the Gates Foundation

A quick post from us today to let you know about the Living Proof project from ONE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We were invited to the launch of the ONE version of the campaign in London last night, and attended alongside friends from the non-profit/NGO community, as well as business leaders, ministers from the UK government and celebrities such as Bono and Thandie Newton.

Living Proof aims to show the world that when aid is smart and well targeted, it works.

Bill and Melinda talked about the need to celebrate the successes achieved through international aid. In tough economic times, aid has come under much scrutiny (rightfully so, we need to make sure aid is as effective and well targeted as possible) but also has suffered in its public image with many sceptics questioning whether aid is lost to corrupt forces and whether it can actually help break cycles of poverty.

Both Bill and Melinda spoke of the virtuous cycle that could be achieved with smart aid. Healthy children lead to productive workforces, and so on. They spoke also of the amazing returns investment in aid can bring - from child deaths of 10.5 million a year in 2005, in 2009 8.1 million children died - a reduction of 2.4 million.

Melinda also highlighted vaccine programmes as part of the answer, and told us about aid investments made in the rotavirus vaccine which is helping in the fight against child deaths from diarrhoea. In Nicaragua the vaccine has nearly totally wiped out rotavirus in poor communities.

Mothers in Nicaragua wait for vaccinations against rotavirus - a major cause of diarrhoea.
Photo: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Aid of course is not the whole solution - but with such dramatic results the world, Melinda argued, would be foolish to ignore it as an amazing and impressive tool in the fight against poverty.

It's also clear that as a campaigning group demanding smart aid from governments, we need to do better in showing the positive results of aid to water and sanitation, as there are so many! We'll get started on this work, and keep you posted on how we're getting on.

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