Melinda Gates Says the Next 15 Years Will Be Historic

The philanthropist explains how The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work to end poverty around the world.
4:21 | 01/22/15

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Transcript for Melinda Gates Says the Next 15 Years Will Be Historic
Melinda Gates helps to run one of the largest nonprofits in the world focused on improving the lives of others. The bill and Melinda Gates foundation works to help people lift themselves out of poverty, improve their health, get the best education possible and now the foundation, it's hard to believe, celebrating its 15th birthday by setting some, what might be considered ambitious goals but not to them. They're hungry to see major changes. It's always a pleasure to be in your presence. Thanks for having me. You don't look at them as being lofty and ambitious. You want to do it and have set high goals you want to see accomplished in the next 15 years? Absolutely. So the big bet that we made in the annual letter is saying that the lives of the poor can be improved more in the next 15 years than in any other time in history. And it's because of great innovations that we see that are coming and in health and agriculture and those are actually being delivered on the ground thousand and they're transformative for families. Setting a goal for yourselves and saying, we've made great progress in the first 15 years, as you said and really wanting to move forward. How can people help you get there? Well, I think people holding our government accountable saying we care about other families. We want them to be able to lift themselves out of poverty and have a prosperous life but we have to make investments in health, investments in farming, investments in mobile technology. There's a big old world out there. How are you able to determine what it is that you want to focus on? Well, we look first at health because outside the united States in these countries we're talking about in Africa and southeast Asia, health is a precursor to being able to have the life that you want. So solving things like malaria, making sure vaccines get out. Making sure that mothers don't die during childbirth. That starts a family on the right path in life. It's about putting people in a situation to better where they are and their circumstances, correct? Absolutely. It's them lifting themselves out of poverty but you have to give them the tool. I've heard you from time to time refer to yourself and your husband as being impatient optimists. What are you most optimistic about and what are you so impatient about. I'm most optimistic that the fact that several diseases that we have on the planet can be eradicated. I'm optimistic we can bring childhood deaths down by half. That is absolutely doable in the next 15 years. What I'm most impatient about is getting more girls into secondary school because if that girl is educated, it transforms everything she does in the next generation so she even is twice as likely to educate her daughter and then all the families I talk to on the ground in Africa, whenever you ask them what they want for their children, they want an education. Where does this passion come from? What keeps you going? I have been so incredibly privileged to travel, travel all over the world. And I always go in and spend some time talking to mothers and fathers on the ground and when you do and they tell you what their lives are like, you see where change is possible an you see these amazing needs they're going to to lift their families up and say I want to keep doing that and I want to do it not just for them but hundreds of millions of people because it's possible. Are you as excited about your annual letter? I look forward to it of the it's a marker to look forward and back and this year for the first time we're sending people to the and say go up to our website, sign up to be a global citizen. Learn from others. Not only share stories but we're highlighting organizations that are doing incredibly work that we work with on the ground and that is a way to make sure that we take action individual action on behalf of so many others around the globe. That is the perfect place to end. Melinda Gates, thank you. Thank you, robin. Good to have you back from time to time to find out the work you are continuing to do. I know many feel that the need is great right here in the U.S. And it is, the Gates foundation doesn't believe it's about helping the U.S. Or other countries, but rather, think about this, helping the U.S. And other countries and say get away from either/or and have it be global. I like the term she used global citizen. It's perfect. That we can individually we do that, it is global like that. To learn more about the goals and connect to the organization to read their letter go to on Yahoo! Coming up, how to get rid of

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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