GiveDirectly provides unconditional cash transfers to extremely poor households in Kenya and Uganda. Recipients are selected using objective criteria like housing material. GiveDirectly then transfers US$1,000 directly to recipients using mobile payments technology, and recipients use the money to pursue their own goals. Rigorous evaluation has shown that recipients use their transfers for a range of purchases, including food, medical and education expenses, durables, home improvement, social events, iron roofs, livestock, and furniture.
Cash transfers are one of the most thoroughly researched anti-poverty tools. Dozens of high-quality studies have found that cash transfers improve a range of outcomes including child health and schooling, nutrition, and income. GiveDirectly selects the extreme poor as recipients of their cash transfers. On average, a recipient lives on about AUD 0.86 per day which, when adjusting for differences in cost of living, is roughly equivalent to living on AUD 2.64 - 4.15 per day in Australia, with that amount covering all costs: food, rent, education, clothing, entertainment, utilities etc. GiveDirectly delivers approximately 88% of each donated dollar directly to recipients, and uses the remaining 12% of funds to cover all delivery costs including staff wages, transfer fees, cost of research and other costs traditionally considered "overhead."
It's worth remembering that an Australian Dollar generally carries a lot more value overseas, especially in low-income countries. Even though 1 AUD exchanges for 2,800 Ugandan Shillings, you can buy a lot more with 2,800 shillings in Uganda, than you can with 1 dollar in Australia. In fact, having 2,500 shillings in Uganda is roughly equivalent to having AUD 3.50 in Australia. So, in donating to GiveDirectly you can effectively triple the value of your dollar. This effect is generally seen when you donate to organisations working in low-income countries, such as all our partner organisations. They can do more with your dollar.
You can learn more about GiveDirectly in this blog post.
GiveWell, widely considered the most rigorous charity evaluator in the world, recommends GiveDirectly as one of their top charities based on their cost-effectiveness and transparency.'