The Power of USAID

Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act on September 4, 1961 creating USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, the first U.S. foreign assistance organization whose primary focus was long-term economic and social development.

Before USAID, it was estimated that annually, about 20,000,000 children were not living to celebrate their fifth birthday due to preventable causes.  Now, that number has dropped to under 8,000,000, largely due to Foreign Assistance.  Furthermore, more than 3 million lives are saved every year through USAID immunization programs and millions of entrepreneurs around the world (many of them women) have started or improved small businesses through USAID assistance.  In the past 50 years, infant and child death rates in the developing world have been reduced by 50 percent, and health conditions around the world have improved more during this period than in all previous human history, largely due to USAID programs.

There is still work to be done, but we thank Congress for supporting these critical programs for 2012. We are also thankful that we have a voice to keep these programs going and to influence how USAID dollars are spent and which programs are supported.

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