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In t his a c t iv it y, the participants explore how the
United States compares with other industrialized nations
in regard to foreign-aid spending.
time required: 30 minutes
INT E ND E D F O R G R A D E S 6 - 8
Mat er ial s
N eed ed

» 10 blank sheets of paper


» 10 markers

Activity Steps
1 S e l e c t 1 0 v o l unt eer s to represent each of the countries listed below:
» Sweden
» Denmark
» United Kingdom
» Luxembourg
» France
» Canada
» Japan » Australia

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» United States » Greece

H av e t h e v o l unt eer s line up randomly at the front of the room. Provide each with a
blank sheet of paper and a marker. Ask them to write the names of their countries on the sheets of
paper and then to hold up their papers up for everyone to see. Indicate that all these countries are

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considered to be high-income countries.

Inv i t e t h e r e s t of the participants to form three smaller groups. Ask the participants if any-
one has heard of the Millennium Development Goals. Then share the following points:
» The Millennium Development Goals are a set of goals that emerged from a United Nations
Assembly in 2000, when all the countries of the world agreed to set goals to significantly
reduce poverty.

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» The United Nations established the goal of every rich country donating 0.7 percent of its
gross national income to poorer countries. This equates to $0.70 cents for every $100.
If the world’s richest nations gave this percentage, extreme poverty could be ended.

» Currently the world gives $80 billion in aid, but $140 billion is needed to eradicate extreme
poverty. To put this in perspective, the United States has spent $180 billion per year for the
last three years in Iraq.

» The volunteers standing represent 10 developed countries; the objective is to determine the
proper order of the countries according to how much each gives to foreign aid.

Inv i t e e a c h s m a ll gr o up to determine the correct order of the countries, from lowest

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contributions to highest. Allow only a minute for the groups to make this determination, and then
invite the first team to come forward and arrange the “countries” in the order they think is correct.
After the first group has lined up the countries, consult the list in step 5 and tell them how many
countries are in the correct position (but do not tell them which ones). Repeat this step with the
remaining two groups.

C o n t i nue t h e g a me until one group has successfully placed all 10 countries in the correct

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order. Afterward, inform the participants that the United States contributes only 0.16 percent of its
gross national income to foreign aid and is ranked 21 among other developed countries. Discuss
how the United States compares with other nations and whether the participants think the United
States could or should give more. The list of countries ranked according to the percentage of gross
national income (from most to least) that is used to assist development overseas is as follows:
1. Norway .95%
2. Sweden .93%
3. Luxembourg .9%
4. Netherlands .81%
5. Denmark .81%
6. Ireland .54%
7. Austria .49%
8. Belgium .43
9. Spain .41%
10. Finland .4%
11. France .39%
12. Switzerland .37%
13. Germany .37%
14. United Kingdom .36%
15. Canada .28%
16. New Zealand .27%
17. Italy .19%
18. Japan .07%
19. Australia .3%
20. Portugal .19%
21. United States .16%
22. Greece .16%

(These statistics are from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Web site.)

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6 R e f e r t o the United States’ placement once all the other countries have been placed in order,
and have the participants try to place the United States in the right spot. (Quickly review the coun-
tries from the list in step 5 that have not been mentioned.)

7 C a l l o ut t he na mes of the countries that have met the 0.7 percent target. Ask the volun-
teers holding those signs to step forward and be recognized (they may curtsy or bow). Then note:
» Many of these countries do not currently meet the target of 0.7 percent. Five countries not
only don’t meet the goal, but they have not set a timeline or committed themselves to a plan
to reach 0.7 percent before 2015.

Ask the participants to try to identify these five countries. Then call out the names of the countries
that have no current plans to meet the 0.7 percent donation goal by 2015: Australia, Canada, Ja-
pan, Switzerland, and the United States. Share that for each $100 earned in the United States, only

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$0.16 is donated in aid.

A s k t he pa rt i c i pa nt s to take some time to reconsider the position and reputation the


United States holds on the world stage. Use the following debriefing questions:
» What surprises you about these results?
» How do you feel knowing that a wealthy country like the United States has not lived up to
its commitment to donate 0.7 percent of its total income to poor countries?

9 C o n c l ude t he ac t iv it y by discussing what might be done to encourage the United States


government to meet the commitment it made back in 2000.

(This activity is adapted from the activity “How Is the United States Doing?” in Beat Poverty: We’ve Got
What It Takes! An Educational Resource for Young People in Grades 9–12. Copyright © 2008 by World Vi-
sion Resources, Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 wvresources@worldvision.org.
All rights reserved.)

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About World Vision
W o rld Vis i o n i s a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to helping
children and their families break free from poverty. Our work is motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. We
see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can
be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World
Vision is unique: We bring nearly sixty years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and
families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across
many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social,
emotional, and spiritual well-being.

W o rld Vis i o n R es o u r c e s educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to social justice,
and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world. By developing biblically-based
materials for educators and ministry leaders on the causes and consequences of global poverty, World Vision
Resources supports the organizational mandate to move the church in the United States to more fully embrace
its biblical responsibility to serve the poor.

For more information about


our resources, contact:

World Vision Resources


www.worldvision.org
wvresources@worldvision.org

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