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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – March 4, 2002: Gates Foundation - 2002-03-01

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The richest man in the world is an American, Bill Gates. He started Microsoft, the company that makes computer programs and operating systems. Two years ago, Mister Gates and his wife Melinda decided to use some of their money to improve the lives of people in developing countries.

They started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington. The foundation has twenty-four-thousand-million dollars. It is the biggest not-for-profit organization in the world. Bill and Melinda Gates started the foundation because they believed progress in medical science and information technology was not reaching people in developing countries. Their foundation finances programs aimed at improving health and education in poor countries.

One of the foundation’s major goals is the development of new medicines to prevent and treat tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. The World Health Organization reports that these three diseases kill more than five-million people a year.

Another leading foundation project is an effort to reduce death rates for babies in poor countries. The foundation also supports efforts to provide necessary medicines to prevent diseases among children in seventy-four developing countries. It also supports training programs for health workers.

Bill and Melinda Gates are also concerned about connecting people to the Internet computer system. The foundation believes men and women of all ages and races should be able to use the Internet as a tool for lifelong learning. For example, the foundation gave nine-million dollars to more than three-hundred-fifty public libraries in Chile for computers and technology training.

The Gates Foundation usually provides money to developing countries in the form of a gift or grant. However, there are conditions for receiving grants. Governments or other not-for-profit organizations working in a country must promise to provide an equal amount of money. The receiver must also meet performance goals or risk losing the money.

For more information, write to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, P-O Box two-three-three-five-zero, Seattle, Washington, nine-eight-one-zero-two, U-S-A. Or, e-mail the organization at info-at-gatesfoundation-dot-org.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.