Poverty and hardship for children in developing countries is the global problem of greatest importance to Australians, according to survey results released today.
ChildFund Australia’s third annual survey, “Australian Perceptions of Child Poverty and Aid Effectiveness in Developing Countries,” finds that two-thirds of Australians believe international aid is effective to some degree. More than one-third of Australians think spending on international aid should increase, while half feel it should stay the same. Only 9% of Australians think we should be spending less on international aid.
The survey results echo a 2009 U.S. survey by ChildFund International that found 66% of Americans believe the United States has an obligation to help poor children around the world. Almost one-third (31%) of Americans surveyed said that aid to the globe’s poorest children should be the number one charitable priority in the U.S.
Other top global concerns for Australians are war and armed conflict, terrorism and refugees/human rights abuses. Concern about climate change and the environment has significantly decreased, while the global financial crisis is ranked as the problem of least concern.
ChildFund Australia’s research, also conducted in 2007 and 2008, examines the views of more than 1,000 Australians about international aid issues. This year, a children’s survey was introduced to find out what Australian children think about poverty and aid.
Among 200 Australian children, the survey found that children hold many similar views to adults. However, children believe lack of food is the most pressing concern facing children in developing countries, whereas adults rank water and sanitation as the greatest concern. Also evident is that Australian children are even more worried than adults about the plight of children in developing countries and believe Australians should be giving more money to help them.
Download a PDF copy of the report from ChildFund Australia’s website.