What if programmes aiming to improve people’s lives did a simple thing – give people cash, directly?
This is the model of GiveDirectly, one of the fastest growing nonprofits in the world. It distributes cash to communities where many experience poverty, mostly in low-income countries. It does so without the involvement of intermediaries – money is sent directly to beneficiaries by mobile phone.
In this episode, we speak with Lydiah Wangechi, GiveDirectly’s Regional Director for East Africa. Lydiah introduces the model of GiveDirectly and shares why she feels drawn to this model based on personal life experience.
The model – giving cash directly – sounds simple but also involves many choices and challenges. Giving cash to the poorest or to everyone in the community, providing small but regular transfers versus larger one-off payments, and sending money in advance of climate shocks rather than after the event – these are some of the things we cover in our conversation.
Lydiah refers to research undertaken by GiveDirectly, including about 20 studies proving the power of cash, a study that showed by how much surrounding communities benefit from cash transfers and research about how transfers over a medium or long term allow communities to thrive even when unplanned events like the COVID19 pandemic occur.
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