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We’re all trying to find that magic pill: How to effectively communicate about the historic success of U.S. foreign assistance. Here are a number of projects that offer some helpful and sometimes counterintuitive and surprising findings:
The Gates Foundation Narrative Project seeks to transform the way the foreign assistance sector talks about itself, to reverse the decline of public support for our work and create a climate that helps us all be more effective. Acknowledging that facts and evidence faith do not shift perceptions, it finds self-affirming strategies to be more effective than trying to disprove falsely held beliefs. Click here to view their findings.
Just 1 in 20 Americans correctly states that one percent or less of the federal budget is spent on foreign assistance. Most people think the U.S. should spend between five to ten percent. If only that was the case! The Kaiser Family Foundation offers this helpful Kaiser graphic showing just how misunderstood the budget really is.
Surprising top priorities: Some of the higher profile issues are further down the list than we think. More than half say improving access to clean water (57 percent), children’s health and vaccinations (53 percent) and reducing hunger and malnutrition (52 percent). While malaria, polio, chronic illness and reproductive health aren’t as high-ranking as we think. Kaiser Family Foundation offers this breakdown of sector ranking.
American Public Support for Foreign Assistance in the Age of Trump also offers some surprising revelations. This report by the Brookings Institute, shows public pushback is not on humanitarian forms of aid but rather foreign aid spending that is seen as linked to U.S. aspirations of global control. Which means the Trump administration’s effort to ramp down humanitarian forms of aid while preserving aid that serves U.S. strategic interests is an inversion of the public’s priorities.
This helpful deck by a USAID consultant looks at how best to reach key Republican and Democratic constituencies to inform short term communications and long term strategies.