While headlines focus on negative news, Bill and Melinda Gates believe the world is getting better.

In their 2018 annual letter, the couple point out that the number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and extreme poverty has declined by nearly half in just 20 years.

Bill and Melinda Gates yesterday shared their 2018 Annual Letter, titled “The 10 Toughest Questions We Get”. In it, the tenth annual letter that they’ve written, they respond to 10 tough questions they’ve received over the years from non-profit partners, government leaders, the general public – and supporters and critics alike.

The letter also includes tough questions that are relevant to their work in Africa, including questions about the foundation’s influence and why they are giving away their wealth.

The co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation were asked whether they were imposing their values on other cultures. In their answer, they outlined their commitment to listening and learning from their local partners in an effort to avoid the mistakes of past development programs, and the shared common values that unite the world.

“We’re acutely aware that some development programmes in the past were led by people who assumed they knew better than the people they were trying to help,” Melinda Gate says. “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.”

Bill Gates adds: “The idea that children shouldn’t die of malaria or be malnourished is not just our value. It’s a human value. Parents in every culture want their children to survive and thrive.”

Read the letter at www.gatesletter.com.