Aid Works – Some Examples

08/09/2012 at 9:28 am 4 comments

Health & Disease

  • In Bangladesh child mortality rates have been halved since 1990.
  • Guinea Worm has been nearly eradicated: In 1986 3,500,000 cases, in 2011 1,058 cases.
  • The number of people with HIV in Africa receiving anti-retroviral drugs has gone up from 100,000 in 2003 to almost 6 million today.
  • Two hundred million bednets have been distributed since 2006, cutting deaths from malaria by half in some African countries.


  • The estimated percentage of underweight children under five has dropped from 25% in 1990 to 16% in 2010.
  • In Ghana the number of children suffering from malnutrition has decreased from 32 % in 1992 to 9 % today. The country is now also self-sufficient in food production.
  • In Malawi, with the support of Irish aid, the number of households with insufficient food has been reduced from 1 in 4 in 2006, to 1 in 10 today.


  • In Tanzania, with the support of Irish aid, 96 % of all children now go to school compared with only 50% in 1990.
  • Enrolment rates in primary schools increased in sub-Saharan Africa, from 58% to 76% between 1999 and 2010.
  • In Uganda with the support of Irish aid the number of children in school has tripled in 15 years.


  • Globally the number of women dying in childbirth every year declined by half between 1990 and 2010, from an estimated 543,000 to 287,000.
  • Rwanda and Angola have more women in their parliament than anywhere else in the world, currently 56 %.


  • In 2012 for the first time since poverty trends began, both the number of people living in extreme poverty and poverty rates fell in every developing region in the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa, where rates are highest.
  • With Irish aid support the number of poor people in Vietnam has fallen from 58 % in 1990 to 15 % in 2008.
  • In Uganda, with the help of Irish aid, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day has halved in the last 15 years.


  • Fewer children are dying – annual global deaths of children under five fell to 8.8 million in 2008 – down by 30% since 1990.
  • Irish Aid support for the production of sweet potatoes has contributed to halving vitamin deficiency among children under the age of five.




Entry filed under: MDGs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. R Storey  |  09/09/2012 at 10:19 am

    To evidence that aid works would take a more scientific approach than selectively listing progress here and there.
    The aid industry needs to wake up to the reality of the day which is no longer satisfied with crude claims without analysis and attribution of reasons for change.
    There are many possible causes or contributory factors involved in most of the examples given and could demolish the relevance and implact of aid claims.
    We never see advance SMART objectives, detailsed budgets and narrative / financial reports on aid. The absence of such information will inevitably lead to the conclusion that money is often wasted.

  • 2. Tobias Troll  |  10/09/2012 at 8:25 am

    Interesting and rejoicing list, which shows that indeed some progress is happening. However, the obvious question for an aid sceptic, who I tend to be, is of course: What is the part of ODA in these successes? Can we, for example, seriously claim that poverty reduction in Vietnam over the last 20 years is a result of aid (or even more specifically IrishAid)? There are certainly much more powerful factors such as export-oriented growth and foreign investment involved, in comparison to which ODA is simply marginal. Also, we should not omit that while absolute poverty might shrink, inequalities both at global and local level are on a content rise. The answer to the these challenges is not aid, but justice!

  • 3. Hans Zomer  |  10/09/2012 at 8:54 am

    Tobias and R. storey are of course right in pointing out the “attribution gap”. I just wonder if those ‘aid critics’ are seeking the same level of ‘evidence’ in other areas of Government expenditure or if it’s only aid that has to close the gap between Attribution and Contribution.
    What ‘evidence’ do we have that the latest motorway, hospital or tram line expenditure is ‘achieving results’? What ‘evidence’ that tax cuts are working? Surely, there’s an Attribution Gap of some size there, too?

  • 4. R Storey  |  11/09/2012 at 11:19 am

    Easy to validate a hospital or tram line effectiveness but try to do the same with aid and the wall comes up.
    Wish that tax was being cut – the problem is that tax is rising while we borrow more money to pay for overseas aid which lacks transparency and accountability.
    You appear to have given up on the need to evidence results which is disappointing.


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