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Consider this argument from The Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog"post by Andy Sumner and Amanda Glassman:

Saving money during an economic crisis by cutting off aid to middle-income countries "may sound like a sensible response, but it means disconnecting foreign aid from most of the world's poor and sick."

The post lists the European Union, the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and the World Bank's International Development Association as institutions considering a cutback in aid to middle-income countries. A defense of that position is offered by the EU's Andris Piebalgs: "Some countries can now afford to fight poverty themselves and, as a result, this will allow us to focus on places that need more of our help."

The post, which you can read in full here, answers that "by income, most of the world's poor live in middle-income countries. And the global distribution of malnutrition also points to middle-income countries, as do multi-dimensional measures of poverty and global disease and death figures.

"So if aid agencies pull out of middle-income countries they're disconnecting from the majority of the world's poor and sick."

Among the stronger arguments to continue aid to middle-income countries is that donor countries wish to "obtain the biggest bang for their buck in poverty reduction and disease control. ... Value for money may well be higher in middle-income countries where poverty and disease are concentrated, but where capacity is sufficient—if motivated and measured—to deliver results."

Heifer International's values-based model, including a Passing on the Gift requirement to help others, trains and develops those in substantial need into serious players in their own local economies. By empowering individuals and igniting income generation through livestock and agricultural training, those in need of aid are soon transformed into businesspeople who not only no longer require aid themselves, but who also become donors within their own communities, ensuring value of initial assistance is multiplied over time.

Heifer Tanzania photo by Dave Anderson


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.