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World Neighbors Awarded $4 Million From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Gift will be used to expand and strengthen women's health programs in developing countries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Jan Miller
Phone: 405.752.9700

OKLAHOMA CITY -- , an Oklahoma City-based international development organization, announced today that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has approved a grant of $4 million for expanding and sustaining reproductive health and family planning in rural communities of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The three-year grant will be used to expand and strengthen programs in rural India, Nepal, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Haiti and Ecuador. The program will help improve income in rural communities, and organize women to meet population, poverty and development objectives in a sustainable manner.

Subsistence farming communities in the developing world make up one fifth of the world's population, have high fertility rates and have traditionally not responded well to family planning programs. World Neighbors has been a pioneer in combining family planning and reproductive health education with agriculture, community health, natural resource management, income-generation and strengthening the capacity of communities to organize and implement their own programs. Results have clearly shown that this integrated approach is two to three times more effective in encouraging smaller, healthier families than stand-alone family planning programs.

"We are grateful for the confidence this generous grant from Bill and Melinda Gates demonstrates in World Neighbors," said Ron Burkard, World Neighbors executive director. "We approach those we work with in the developing world as equals and respond to the priorities and needs they identify. This grant makes it possible for us to respond to the huge demand for education and services to help improve the nutritional status and survival of mothers and children, reduce HIV/AIDS infection rates, and increase the ability of local people to create solutions to the many challenges they face."

"This grant also reinforces the commitment of the thousands of individual donors who have shared our vision of a better world with their generous voluntary contributions," Burkard said. "Without them, these programs would not have been possible."

World Neighbors, established in 1951 as a private non-sectarian organization, currently operates rural development programs in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. World Neighbors does not solicit or accept U.S. government funds.

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