Here’s the basic story:
- GiveDirectly is the first nonprofit that lets donors like you and me send money directly to the poorest people on the planet, with no strings attached. Crazy as it may seem, we weren’t able to find this back in 2011 when we were looking for a way to give away our own money, and that’s why we created GiveDirectly. And yes, a lot of people thought we were crazy at first - one of our first big funders initially told us we “must be smoking crack.”
- Like many people, we had grown up hearing this was a bad idea. We worried that recipients would waste the money, or even use it in ways that harmed themselves like spending on alcohol or tobacco. We worried that they wouldn’t work as hard to improve their own situation. We thought that you have to “teach a man to fish.” (An aside: in the data, we are actually quite bad at teaching people to fish.)
- But now for the first time we have evidence – a lot of evidence – from rigorous experimental evaluations. Experimental impact evaluation didn’t start in a big way in development until the early 2000s, but since then there have been 100s of high quality evaluations of the impacts of cash transfers, including many randomized controlled trials.
- The bad things we worried about haven’t happened. A systematic review by economists at Harvard and MIT found no evidence that people work less when they receive transfers; another one by economists at the World Bank found that not only did spending on alcohol and tobacco not increase, it actually went down on average.
- Instead there have been positive impacts on just about any measure of well-being you can think of, including health, education, nutrition, assets, earnings – we even saw a study recently that found evidence cash transfers reduced suicides. There is no one answer to the question “what happens when you give money to poor people,” which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising: the whole point is to give people the flexibility to pursue the goals and opportunities they think are most important.
- At the same time, advances in payments technology have made it cheap and safe to reach the very poorest people on the planet. We send most payments over mobile money, which let us reach people in East Africa living on just $0.65 / person / day and deliver around 90% of each donated dollar into their hands. We’ve proven this model at a large scale - currently around $50M / year, similar to the scale of many government cash transfers programs - and could easily be moving two or three times as much with current capacity.
- Given this, we think that giving directly should be the default way of helping people who don’t have much money. Globally, we are already spending more in foreign aid and private charitable giving than it would take to end extreme poverty, at least in a purely financial sense. There will be times when we can do better - by creating a public good like a vaccine, for example. But we think we should always start from a place of respect: treat donated money as if it belongs to the poor, and ask if there is a good reason to believe that we can create more value for them by spending it ourselves than by letting them decide.
A few dollars could change the world, save many lives, and you can help
Join the fight against superbugs
The world is running out of effective antibiotics. In fact, it is one of the greatest threats to health today.
For many of us, this means that common infections could once again cause death. A grazed knee or routine surgery could result in an infection that is untreatable.
An estimated 700,000 people around the world die every year due to drug-resistant infections and, if new antibiotics are not discovered, this number is predicted to rise to 10 million people a year within a generation – that’s more than 27,000 people per day; more people that die from all types of cancer combined.
Cure Kids are leading the way to help find new treatments for antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
One of the country’s leading scientists in this area, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, is on a mission to test 1,000 unique soil and fungi samples for their potential to kill superbugs. If successful, these could form the beginning of urgently needed new treatments for increasingly untreatable infections.
We need you to help fund Dr. Wiles’s critical and urgent research to find new antibiotics.
Please join the fight against super bugs today and donate $30, $50, $100, or what you can towards the target of $250,000 needed to make this critical research possible.
Become a Cure Kids superhero and join the fight against superbugs by donating today.
Siouxsie Wiles is a microbiologist, bioluminescence enthusiast (with very pink hair!) and “Infectious Thoughts” science blogger who heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Group at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
She drew this logo for me in bioluminescent bacteria!
As The March for Science calls on our governments this Earth Day to face the facts, in its policy-making, a parallel movement gives you way to directly support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other climate change effects around the world.
Kiva offers a simple way for everyone to make a small investment and, via targeted green projects, make a real impact.
This Earth Day, lend to a project that helps curtail climate change, get repaid, repeat!
Kiva.org/earthday is meaningful way for you to take action today to help people in poverty around the world to replace dirty cook stoves, some of the worst contributors to climate change, with cleaner alternatives; gain access to safe drinking water; counteract the effects of deforestation; and more. We don’t have to wait for governments to take action. Change is in our hands.
Traffic was lousy this morning, in part due to the wet weather, but I really didn’t care. I had downloaded Joe Rogan’s latest podcast featuring theoretical physicist Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss*.
The topic was (nominally) his latest book—The Greatest Story Ever Told…SO FAR—but the discussion was wide ranging and fascinating. It went something like:
The annoying thing was even Auckland traffic on a wet Wednesday meant I only heard about half of the 2 1/2 hours before I arrived at work. I really just wanted to keep driving, or not driving as was often the case this morning, to hear the rest. The commute home allowed some more of that and, even not yet having heard all of it, I recommend investing your time in this.
The way not to get frustrated commuting is to make it a brain expanding pleasure!**
* Also looking forward to hearing Prof. Krauss at the Auckland Writers Festival
** It also helped having a fresh application of Rain-X so hardly had to use the windscreen wipers!
JRE #938 - Lawrence Krauss 03.27.17
Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, best-selling author, producer, actor, and science and public policy advocate. His latest book The Greatest Story Ever Told So-Far is available now --http://krauss.faculty.asu.edu/
@DoctorKarl @zanrowe 100% of dogs I know sneeze almost immediately when turned on back, but I only know one dog, Alfie, well enough to test it... (video)
Fart breathing, killer nightmares, spider muscles | media | triple j
Why do humans need pillows? Why do dogs sneeze when they lie on their back? Why do house flies fly in a box formation?
Note: No dogs were harmed in the making of this video, one was slightly confused.
My notes & photos from TEDx Auckland 2015. I only took the phone (for both notes & photos) and was sitting right at the back of the hall so my shots are a bit ‘distant’.
Award-winning scientist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast but to others she is “that pink-haired science lady”. She believes that playmakers like Lego should lead the way in stamping out gender-stereotyping in toys.
I know Siouxsie, from Skeptics in the Pub, and had seen her speak before so wasn’t at all surprised she was great. Must be a double edged sword being first up to kick off a big day. Big expectations but the benefit of getting out of the way to enjoy the rest of the speakers. As a life long Lego fan (having Grandparents living on duty free Norfolk Island helped that) I the topic was of interest. I loved the simple solution Siousxie offered, something Lego could, and should, easily implement.
Grant Schofield lives and breathes the motto “be the best you can be”. Through his work as Professor of Public Health and director of the Human Potential Centre at AUT, his focus is on preventing the diseases of modern times, and seeing what it takes to help people live a long, healthy and happy life.
Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions. Public health should involve the public.
Riley Hathaway is a 14-year-old ocean ambassador, who presents her own TV series called ‘Young Ocean Explorers’. In it, Steve and his daughter Riley present captivating stories about what happens when a teenager comes face to face with the marine animals we’re all curious about.
Great message and amazing where a school project can lead.
Shaun Hendy is the founding Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland. Shaun believes that the challenge for New Zealand is to overcome our relatively small and widely dispersed population base and build a city of four million people.
Interesting to compare the culture of patent sharing to some of the patent trolls who hoard and stifle innovation. I wonder, in spite of some awesome examples, if New Zealand will ever get beyond the commodity mentality.
People rush out for coffee at the end of the first session
Steve Pointing is Professor of Applied Ecology at AUT and for over a decade has led an astrobiology research team collaborating with NASA. He has broadened his interests to consider the societal impacts of discovering life on other planets: How will this change our perception of humanity?
Strange leap from potential of alien microbes to the Pope being open to welcoming Aliens!
Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong is currently an eye doctor in Gisborne hospital. In 2014, he founded OphthalmicDocs, an R&D company that focuses on the development of ultra mobile and economical eye tests and diagnostics devices.
As I have fairly poor vision — short sighted, astigmatism and a risk of glaucoma — I know how it would impair life without treatment. Hong Sheng got a deserved standing ovation for a brilliant combination of invention, technological innovation and creative distribution to get affordable health care to people who really need it.
Tom Scott is an award winning political columnist, editorial cartoonist and documentary maker. Some of the films and television dramas he either wrote or co-wrote include Footrot Flats and Tiger Country. He's currently working on a six-part television series on Sir Edmund Hillary.
Have known his work my whole life. Great to hear Tom speak about his work, our world and some of the bizarre things that are considered normal.
Gavin Healy, who is originally from Ireland, will speak about the impact of growing up in a country devastated by centuries of civil war, and how the 5,500 year old spiritual sites that surrounded his childhood home gave him hope...
Some interesting views on the way media is influencing us, maybe our brains. Have been thinking about this myself since the Tibet trip. Both Buddhism and the political oppression combined with media control have impacted a whole society. Maybe (in a different way) the same is happening here.
Billie Jordan established a hip hop dance crew with her elderly neighbours (aged 68 to 96 years old) with the audacious goal of performing at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas within eight months. From that point on, her life and the lives of her dance group changed forever.
Billie and her crew were just awesome. What I found really sad was the prejudice they encountered (from both family and community) which was much more discussed in the AUT Lounge session after.
Hip Hop-eration video
Bailey Wiley filters neo-soul classicism through modern, righteous and true live musicianship. The star of the show is her golden voice – effortless and organic, supported by her raw talented band.
Dale is changing the way we connect online. Her #donate software, developed to make giving easy on social media, is unleashing the next generation of generosity. Her goal is to support the evolution of the human experience with money by creating a generosity-based financial system.
I hadn’t heard of Goodworld and how the #donate tag worked before this talk. A neat way to enable more people to give, breaks through the hassle of giving.
Janette Searle had a life changing conversation that turned into ‘Take My Hands’ a not-for- profit organisation that redistributes prosthetic, orthotic and medical equipment to those in need.
The last note sums it up. A simple idea, connecting a waste problem to a resource shortage, and she made it happen. Brilliant.
Sir Bob Harvey is the Chairman of Waterfront Auckland, has served 6 terms as Mayor of the city of Waitakere and recently published his biography ‘A Life Less Ordinary’. Sir Bob’s involvement in leadership, creativity and his passion for the environment will be the foundation of his TEDx talk.
Bob’s talk really resonated with me. Maybe because I’m a Westie and love the West Coast that was ‘his place’. I don’t live on that coast but would never want to live far from it. I made a point of hanging around to thank him personally for the talk, inspiring.
A futuristically classic sound in a distinctive blend of funky drum rhythms and soulful synthesizers – that is how you can explain the diverse music mix of Sorceress. The duo has evolved into a widely respected soul electronica act with a truly global following.
To be honest, initially had my doubts, then the trumpet came out and the performance soared. Loved it.
Tame Iti will explore the old saying of "Te ka nohi ki te ka nohi" (Dealing with it eye to eye) and how it creates a far more productive space for open dialogue around any issue.
When I saw Tame Iti on the line-up I remembered the underwhelming Willie Jackson session last year. No worries about that as Tame Iti was brilliant. A great message, beautifully delivered.
Max Cryer (MBE) was New Zealand television’s first quiz host and was awarded ‘New Zealand Entertainer of the Year.’ He has an Honours degree in English Literature and Etymology, and for TVNZ he produced over 100 episodes of “University Challenge” and 100 episodes of ‘Mastermind’. [and MC Vaughn in W3
Have known Max’s work my whole life, listen to his Radio Live spot with Graeme Hill every weekend (via the podcast usually), was great to see him live. He didn’t disappoint.
Lisa Matisoo-Smith is the Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago. Her primary area of interest is in looking at the biological evidence for the human settlement of the Pacific.
Had heard of Lisa’s work (I think thanks to G Hill on Radio Live) and interested. A few years ago I submitted my DNA to the National Geographic Genographic Project. The results showed that my (paternal) ancestral DNA left Africa about 60,000 years ago migrating across continents to the U.K. & Western Europe. From there a much more recent migration resulted in me being Kiwi born. It was interesting to hear how Lisa’s work was rewriting, or restoring, the remarkable abilities of the Polynesian settlers.
Michel Tuffery has a deeply held belief in the possibility of art to create connections: "I’m not a social worker, I’m an artist who’s trying to create a conversation".
Interesting to hear how art was used to build community in an area with many social challenges.
There was a strange sky to greet us, the result of a full'ish moon being eclipsed by a cloud!
This was a new venue for TEDx. Although the auditorium was great I thought the lack of foyer space, compared to the previous Aotea Centre, really impacted the ability to circulate and socialise during the breaks. Food, from The Food Truck, was good but they were seriously challenged trying to feed a couple of thousand people in the one hour break. It was fortunate there was no rain, always a risk in Auckland’s changeable climate, as the outdoor areas got a lot of use. In short, a great day but I hope it returns to Aotea next year.