Melinda Gates embraces public role, calls out Trump

Melinda Gates co-founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at a UN event in New York

Bill Gates adds: "The idea that children shouldn't die of malaria or be malnourished is not just our value". And we use our resources in a very specific way: to test out promising innovations, collect and analyze the data and let businesses and governments scale up and sustain what works.

"We're acutely aware that some development programs in the past were led by people who assumed they knew better than the people they were trying to help".

Melinda Gates said they tended to avoid hashing out their disagreements in front of bigger groups at the foundation, saving them for private discussions, which they have on walks. "We've learned over the years that listening and understanding people's needs from their perspective is not only more respectful-it's also more effective".

In response to the question of "Why don't you give more in the United States?" She said the Trump administration's decision a year ago to expand a ban prohibiting USA aid to any health organisations that provide or discuss abortion in family planning had caused "chaos" in the field - forcing them to stall their work as they figured out how to adhere to the rules.

Questions range from the political to the personal, including,"Are you imposing your values on other cultures?" and, "What do you have to show for the billions you've spent on USA education?" "To its credit, Congress has moved to put the money back in the budget".

Why don't you give more in the United States?

In relation to their work in Africa and other regions, the co-Chairs of the foundation were asked whether they were imposing their values on other cultures.

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Lubienski, who said he has not sought nor received money from Gates, also noted that by turning their attention to poverty, the Gateses are tackling the "really big elephant in the room" when it comes to student achievement.

But for this year, the co-founders of the world's richest philanthropy have instead opted to answer a selection of critical and skeptical questions about the foundation's work and the power it wields. There's another issue at the heart of this question.

"Although we have had some success", Melinda Gates wrote, " I think it would be hard to argue at this point that we made the world focus too much on health, education and poverty". Bill writes. "The answer is that we think there's always going to be a unique role for foundations".

"What happens when the two of you disagree?": Melinda, answering this question said: "We never disagree". Bill said, adding "We are partners in both senses that people use the word these days: at home and at work".

One of the challenges the Gates face is not only addressing questions or concerns about the wide diversity of intractable global problems they do work on - from eradicating polio in Nigeria and the Middle East to reducing homelessness in the Pacific Northwest - but demands about the problems they don't fund.

Listing some of the areas where he thinks the foundation's work has made a difference to India, Gates picked "working with the government to introduce new vaccines for children"; "Avahan - which helped to get the HIV epidemic - getting super large; and "partnerships with Serum Institute of India, Bio-E and Bharat Biotech to make vaccines not only for India, but the world".

"The other reason is that we have fun doing it". Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. "These efforts save lives".

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