Songoi at his preschool in Noomunye, Ngorongoro, Tanzania. Credit: Geoff Sayer/Oxfam
In 2005, G8 leaders promised to increase aid by $50 billion.

G8 must deliver on Aid for Health and Education

We live in a world where every minute of every day somewhere in the developing world a woman dies needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth, and where millions of children do not go to school.

We also live in a world where we have the resources and capacity to ensure that this is not the case. Aid – the transfer of financial resources from rich country governments to poor countries for development purposes– is not sufficient to truly help poor countries fight poverty, but it is necessary.

In 2005, G8 leaders promised to increase aid by $50 billion, with half of this going to Africa. On current trends, the promised $50 billion extra will be missed by as much as $23 billion dollars. Oxfam has calculated this money could save at least 3 million lives.

The G8 need to keep their aid promise, so that millions of people are able to get health care, and millions of children an education.

Health

  • 1 woman dies a minute in pregnancy and childbirth – adding up to over half a million deaths each year.
  • Children left without mothers are 3 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday.
  • Although more than 90 per cent of maternal deaths are preventable, pregnancy remains the leading killer of women in their reproductive years in poor countries.
  • In Burkina Faso the cost of a normal delivery is nearly half a poor family’s yearly income.
  • Just 1 more midwife could save the lives of 219 women.

Education

  • In India there are more than 7 million children out of school - nearly the equivalent to the entire population of London.
  • In Mali there are 793,000 children out of school - almost equivalent to the population of Amsterdam.
  • In Bangladesh there are over 48 million adults who can not read or write - more than the population of Spain
  • Teachers in the large majority of lower income countries earn less than three dollars a day, which is the equivalent of a gallon of 2% milk in Colorado /a Starbucks coffee in the US   / less than a beer in Turin, Italy/ a glass of wine in Germany / less than a sandwich in Paris.
  • The $18 billion that went into the pockets of those who created the global economic crisis could have paid for two years of schooling for the 75 million children around the world who have no access to education.

The global economic crisis means things are going to get significantly worse in developing countries towards the end of 2009. Governments are the only ones who can give the large sums of money needed – this is why the role of the G8, the world’s richest governments, is critical.