These are the findings from a 28-country study conducted by Ipsos with the Gates Foundation. This study investigated knowledge of major development progress, expectations of the future and the main issues worrying the world at this moment.
The Paradox of Progress: Low Awareness of Development Success and Weak Support of Aid Funding
Ipsos partnered with the Gates Foundation to examine public awareness of and perceptions towards the global progress made battling poverty, immunizations, infant mortality, and other public health issues. We find that most people in donor nations have very low levels of knowledge about international development progress and most people believe conditions around the world have gotten worse when, in fact, they have markedly improved. These findings suggest that much of the lukewarm support for aid spending in donor nations is strongly correlated with a sense that aid is not working.
Among the findings from our 28-country study are:
- Most citizens in donor countries believe that living conditions in the developing world are worsening when most data – including the Gates Goalkeepers Report – shows marked progress towards meeting development goals;
- Furthermore, few people in donor countries expect the quality of economic opportunities, health, or education in the world’s poorest countries to improve over the next 15 years;
- Most people in donor countries (significantly) overestimate the amount of money their governments spend on development aid;
- However, among respondents who are best informed about development progress, optimism increases.
Taking low understanding of the facts of development with poor expectations for future progress and combining it with an overinflated since of how much is being spent on aid, it comes as little surprise that most donor countries struggle to generate support for aid spending. Moving forward, advocates for aid – including the Sustainable Development Goals – should consider balancing the urgency and importance of the mission with a sense of hopefulness about the progress already made.
Further analysis by Meghann Jones and Kaitlin Love from the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Center is available here.