Thirdeyemom

“Three Myths that Block Progress for the Poor”: The 2014 Gates Annual Letter

For the past year and a half I’ve been honored to be a part of an exceptional group of women bloggers using our voices on our blogs and through social media to help try to change the world. As a proud member of the Global Team of 200 and Mom Bloggers for Social Good, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about and share with you some of the amazing things different non-profits are doing around the world to save lives and end poverty.

Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya Boys sit on a boulder overlooking the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
Boys sit on a boulder overlooking the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Jennifer James, founder of our social good team, has worked particularly hard with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has been fascinating to be a part of some of the work this amazing foundation is doing at changing the world and saving lives.

INDIA / Bihar / Jamsaut village / 23 March 2011 Bill and Melinda Gates with children at an Anganwadi centre in Jamsaut village near Patna. Photo Credit: Gate Foundation

INDIA / Bihar / Jamsaut village / 23 March 2011
Bill and Melinda Gates with children at an Anganwadi centre in Jamsaut village near Patna. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Yesterday, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released their co-authored 2014 annual report which contains some exciting findings and predictions in the world of social good.  

2014 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letter

This year’s letter, “Three Myths that Block Progress for the Poor,” addresses three misconceptions about the global effort to end extreme poverty: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor, foreign aid is a big waste, and saving lives leads to overpopulation.

In fact, life is better for more people around the world than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives and poverty rates have been cut in half in the last 25 years. Child mortality is plunging. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. Bill and Melinda want to tackle these myths because too often they give people a reason not to act.

-Bill and Melinda Gates, 2014 Annual Letter

Following is a summary of the report that will dispel any misconceptions about where the world is heading. The future is not as bleak as we may believe.  An enormous amount of progress has already been made.

INDIA / Bihar / Jamsaut village / 23 March 2011 Bill and Melinda Gates with children at an Anganwadi centre in Jamsaut village near Patna. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

INDIA / Bihar / Jamsaut village / 23 March 2011
Bill and Melinda Gates with children at an Anganwadi centre in Jamsaut village near Patna. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Bill Gates says:

“By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same”.

Roti Mushahari, India, 2013 Routine immunization in progress in Roti Mushahari village in Bihar, India. More children than ever before are getting vaccinated, driving child mortality down. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Roti Mushahari, India, 2013
Routine immunization in progress in Roti Mushahari village in Bihar, India. More children than ever before are getting vaccinated, driving child mortality down. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

I find these words to be so incredibly powerful as it is indeed true. Mainstream media often doesn’t highlight the successes we have made in making the world a better place. Instead, they oftentimes focus on the bad and also don’t necessarily tell us the truth about what is really going on.

For anyone with doubt that remarkable progress has been made and is continuing to be made around the world, then the Bill and Melinda Gates 2014 Letter is a for you. Bill and Melinda Gates eloquantly lay out the facts behind three major myths that are standing in the way of eliminating poverty. The Three Myths are:

Myth 1: Poor Countries are Doomed to Stay Poor

Per Gates:  “The bottom line: Poor countries are not doomed to stay poor. Some of the so-called developing nations have already developed. Many more are on their way. The nations that are still finding their way are not trying to do something unprecedented. They have good examples to learn from”.

Gates’ Prediction:

“By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Specifically, I mean that by 2035, almost no country will be as poor as any of the 35 countries that the World Bank classifies as low-income today, even after adjusting for inflation.”

The Poverty Curve. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

The Poverty Curve. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Myth 2: Foreign Aid is a Big Waste

Per Gates: “Broadly speaking, aid is a fantastic investment, and we should be doing more. It saves and improves lives very effectively, laying the groundwork for the kind of long-term economic progress I described in myth #1 (which in turn helps countries stop depending on aid).” Many people believe our governments spend way more money on foreign aid than we actually do. For example, most Americans believe we spend about 25% of our budget on foreign aid when it actually is less than 1% which is about $30 a year per taxpayer.

Here are some of the amazing things aid has changed:

What Aid Buys Chart. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

What Aid Buys Chart. Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Myth 3: Saving Lives leads to Overpopulation

Per Gates:  “Saving lives doesn’t lead to overpopulation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world. We will build a better future for everyone by giving people the freedom and the power to build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Talle, Niger, 2012 Like millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa, Sadi didn't know about contraceptives when she got married. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation.

Talle, Niger, 2012
Like millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa, Sadi didn’t know about contraceptives when she got married. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation.

Agordiebe, Ghana, 2013 Hanna Konadu is one of thousands of community health workers in Ghana, where immunization coverage is higher than 90 percent.Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Agordiebe, Ghana, 2013
Hanna Konadu is one of thousands of community health workers in Ghana, where immunization coverage is higher than 90 percent.Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Morogoro region, Tanzania, 2010 Sharifa Idd Mumbi's crop yields have increased dramatically since she started using a newer maize seed more tolerant to drought. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Morogoro region, Tanzania, 2010
Sharifa Idd Mumbi’s crop yields have increased dramatically since she started using a newer maize seed more tolerant to drought. Photo Credit: Gates Foundation

Read the letter and find out what Bill’s prediction for 2035 is here: —www.gatesletter.com

Help #stopthemyth

Related Posts:

Bill and Melinda Gates Dispel Three Poverty Myths in Annual Letter

The Amount that America Spends on Foreign Aid May Surprise You

 

21 comments

    • Me too. He is doing such amazing work as is his wife Melinda. Truly admirable life changing and life saving work. I hope to someday see it in action on the ground.

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Those myths are truly happening & a prevalent thinking. Everyone needs to be informed of what’s really happening & who else can speak with full conviction but the ones who are doing something in person. God bless them and all who continue to help countries stricken by poverty. It’s sad that so many are still indifferent & unaffected to the agony of others. I hope 2014 will open the eyes and hearts of the world to be an instrument of positive change globally.

    • Thanks Jo! yes it is easy to be negative especially when you pick up a newspaper and it is full of bad news. That is a big part why I turned to blogging and reading others blogs. I wanted to hear more good news and inspiration! 🙂

    • That is too bad that they donated money to fix the road but it didn’t go towards it. In the Gates letter he addressed corruption a little bit. Sadly there are still greedy people in the world who don’t care about the rest. Thanks for sharing. I would love to see this part of the world someday.

  2. vastlycurious.com

    I really absorbed and learned from your post but it leaves me feeling completely selfish. Suggestions?

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