The Gates Foundation

11 November, 2013

According to the article, “Bill Gates- Biography and History” William Henry Bill Gates III is an American citizen. Gates is chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft. In addition to this, Gates is co-chair of the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation works for the better life of less fortunate people across the globe with the help of grantees and partners. Gates began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994 while creating a foundation focused on health of poor people. The Gates Foundation was founded in 1999. The main objectives of this foundation are to focus on global health and population control programs, libraries and access to information technology, education reforms and minority scholarships (Bellis).  Here we will discuss achievements and challenges faced by The Gates Foundation and we will also discuss the ideas of scholars on foreign aid and Gates’ response to them.

The article, “What We Do” on the web site of The Gates Foundation highlights major objectives and also explains how this foundation works globally. The article says The Gates Foundation works with partner organization worldwide to deal with critical problems in four program areas. For example, The Global Development Division of The Gates Foundation lifts poorest people of world out of hunger and poverty. According to the article, 2.5 billion people are living under poverty line and more than 1 billion people are suffering from chronic hunger. These people are very far from the basic needs of human beings. They don’t have access to clean water, education, or healthcare. The Gates Foundation with the help of other organizations helps thousands of people to come out of poverty and build better life styles. Secondly, The Global Health Division of this foundation aims to use advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries.  To access poor people in health care, The Gates Foundation provides affordable and reliable drugs and vaccines to treat diseases, such as, HIV, polio, and malaria to poor people across the globe. In addition, to this they help in family planning, nutrition, and maternal and child health.  Thirdly, The Global Policy and Advocacy Division of The Gates Foundation works with government and public sector to foster greater public awareness on alarming global issues. “Advocacy Division has people dedicated to advocacy, policy analysis and government relation” to fortify the charitable sector in USA and in overseas. The main purpose of this division is to work more efficiently on the issues which are difficult to deal without the help of government sector. Such as, mass awareness about alarming issues like health and family planning. The fourth division of The Gates Foundation is US Program. This is the only division of The Gates Foundation which works for only US. The main objective of this sector is to make sure that all students should have access to higher education in US. This sector also addresses the social inequality and poverty in Washington State which is the home State of Gates.  This is the basic structure of The Gates Foundation which is one of the biggest nonprofit NGO.

Here are the challenges faced by The Gates Foundation in different countries across the globe while helping the poor people to come out of constant poverty, such as, challenges in water, sanitation and hygiene. They write that: “2.5 billion People don’t have adequate sanitation facilities” as a result serious health and environmental problems are happening. Most of the people in poor countries use such sanitation systems which discharge raw sewage in to open places. “Poor sanitation caused 1.5 million child deaths from diarrhea each year” (Gates). According to the article “What We Do” creating sanitation infrastructures for everyone and keeping waste out of environment is the biggest challenge faced by these NGOs.  A second challenge faced by this organization is implementation of family planning and making contraceptives widely available and accessible in developing countries. According to their web site, more than 220 million women in developing countries get pregnant due to lack of effective methods of contraceptives. Other challenges are cultural and lack of knowledge and lack of awareness about effective use of contraceptives. Thirdly, The Gates Foundation faces challenges in ensuring nutrition in developing countries. The article “What We Do” says that millions of children in developing countries are suffering from health problems caused by malnutrition. The main challenges faced by this origination in different countries are “low agricultural productivity, effects of climate; poor sanitation and hygiene, and lack of awareness and understanding of healthy diets” “(What We Do)”.  In addition to this, The Gates Foundation also face problems in providing technology to poor countries due to low literacy rate, lack of electricity, lack of infrastructure and research centers.

Despite all of the wonderful work done by The Gates Foundation and other nonprofit NGOs in developing countries, many people criticize aid to poor nations. For instance, the article “Why Aid Doesn’t Work” by Fredrik Erixon criticizes foreign aid. Mr. Erixon is the chief economist of Timbro, a Swedish think tank. Erixon is curious about whether aid will help people to come out of poverty or have negative consequences. Further, he is arguing that it is understandable that no one will oppose the idea of assisting developing world if that support is helpful but he is doubtful that foreign aid is helpful for developing countries. He supports his argument with the following evidence. He argues that many times aid was given to eliminate poverty but it failed to fulfill its goal. To support his argument he mentioned many facts and figures. For instance, he reveals the fact that African countries are poorer today then in times past because the dependence on aid is increased which caused more poverty than economic stability. He says that the reason for the failure of aid is corruption and inappropriate decisions by the donor communities. Erixon very regretfully says that increased aid to the countries which are performing better in economic reforms are weakening the process of development. He further argues that aid can’t reduce poverty by promoting economic growth. Erixon suggests his own viewpoints to overcome this problem. His suggestions are that aid should not be given to those countries where democracy and transparent economic institutions are not developed, and rich countries should open their markets for exports from poor countries.  

On the other hand, Bill Gates the co-chairman of The Gates Foundation highlights the positive sides of foreign aid in his article “The Truth about Foreign Aid”.  Gates says that the anti-foreign aid establishment proposes that aid doesn’t work and should be cut across the board. According to Gates, the fact is that many people are willingly donating lots of money to poor countries. According to public opinion research many people believe that aid is either stolen by the corrupt leaders or wasted on ineffective programs. In addition to this, they are further claiming that aid doesn’t work even if given to intended recipients. Gates claims that these arguments are not convincing enough because we have a lot of examples of where aid is helpful. For instance, the number of children who die every year has decreased from “20 million to 8 million and the number of poor people is declined to one half.” Gates further claims that these massive improvements are results of aid funding programs to buy vaccines and to boost the productivity of farmers across the developing countries. Gates is very optimistic about aid funding programs and claims that many people in Africa were hungry before the emergency aid was introduced and still there are more than 1 billion people who don’t have access to enough food.  So, to solve these alarming issues the most powerful solution is to help poor people and farmers. Gates says that new seed and modern forms of harvesting are very useful for farmers to enhance their productivity. Therefore, aid plays a vital role in this regard. Finally, Gates very proudly claims that, “I am proud to live in a world where a stranger’s suffering matters.” Further he mentioned that we have misconception about aid and now it is time to tell the truth that aid is the best way to deal with problems of underdeveloped and developing world.

Finally, despite of many challenges faced by The Gates Foundation they continue their work across many countries to eradicate poverty and hunger from the planet. Gates is very optimistic about foreign aid and he is hopeful that one day all human beings will savor comfortable life if philanthropists continue to help less fortune people.


Works Cited

Bellis, Mary. “Bill Gates – Biography and History.” Inventors. Inventors, 2013. Web.

1 Nov. 2013.

“Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” What We Do. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.

Erixon, Fredrik. “Why Aid Doesn’t Work.” BBC NEWS. 11 Sept. 2005. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.

Gates, Bill. “The Truth About Foreign Aid.” The New York Times. 26 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Sept.



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