GiveDirectly

Region of Impact
Africa
Total funding
$2.4 million
Funding began in
2012
Focus
Economic Opportunity

Overview

Creating opportunity through mobile cash transfers

What they do

Studies suggest that 700 million people around the world live in extreme poverty. People who are fighting for immediate essentials are rarely able to invest in their future. And unfortunately, many nonprofits designed to offer set types of goods and services aren’t able to meet the unique needs of individual recipients.

GiveDirectly has very a different idea: that the most effective way to have a long-term impact on poverty is to give people a basic starter income with no strings attached. Funds are delivered via simple mobile transfers. Recipients can then invest the money in whatever is most pressing - whether that be planting crops, replacing a roof or sending their kids to a better school. No matter the decision, GiveDirectly meticulously tracks each donation in order to ensure that the aid is being spent effectively.

All this data collection has also produced a larger revelation. GiveDirectly's ongoing research shows that letting the poor be their own financial decision makers doesn’t just lift them out of poverty, but has a ripple effect that influences everything from agriculture and labor practices to education and women’s rights.

How we're helping

Google.org saw so much potential in GiveDirectly’s research that we gave them a $2.4 million grant in 2012. The grant helped the organization scale direct cash transfers to more Kenyan families and duplicate its program in Uganda. Two years later, a second round of funding enabled GiveDirectly to expand to additional countries in East Africa as well as conduct a study in Western Kenya that examined the macroeconomic, communal, social, and psychological impact of their cash transfers.

Project gallery

GiveDirectly recipients can access their money from their cell phones.
A mother and three children, recipients of GiveDirectly funding, smile in front of their home.
A man tends to his local chicken farm. GiveDirectly funds can help pay for supplies, equipment, and repairs on this farm.
Three people at a mobile device maintenance kiosk, where their phone-based credit can be exchanged for cash.

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