This week, FastCoExist talked to GiveDirectly’s own Matt Johnson and profiled our new product, GDLive. In the piece, Ben Schiller dug into both the specifics of GDLive, such as its new search feature, as well as its big-picture goal, to give donors information about “who exactly is being helped.” Elsewhere, in the Houston Chronicle, Michael Taylor made the libertarian case for giving cash directly as a form of international aid, and the Independent Commission on Aid Impact published a report on the effectiveness of the UK’s cash transfers.


1. In eliminating poverty, cold hard cash goes a lot further than good intentions
Houston Chronicle, Michael Taylor, January 14, 2017
I’m intrigued by an international charity called GiveDirectly, which puts this radical thesis to the test. I understand this “just money, no stuff, no strings attached” approach runs contrary to our most cherished charitable instincts. It also goes against our typical “Don’t give a man a fish, teach a man to fish” plans, delightful as that cliché may be.

2. GiveDirectly Is Showing Its Donors Exactly What Effect Their Money Is Having
FastCoExist, Ben Paynter, January 12, 2017
Since launching in 2008, GiveDirectly has used cell phones to enable cash transfers straight to extremely poor families in the developing world. Recipients receive $1,000 through a series of mobile payments—one small, and two lump sums—to invest however they’d like throughout the course of a year. So far, the group has helped 50,000 families—that’s roughly 200,000 people—in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.


3. Credit where it’s due: good aid, bad news
Reuters, Saira O’Mallie, January 16, 2017
The recent report from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) on direct cash transfers – where aid money goes straight to those who need it – concluded that the scheme, despite faults, was a proven method for reducing poverty. Cash transfers not only have a demonstrable impact on helping the world’s poorest, critically, they provide “value for taxpayers’ money”.

4. UK aid watchdog recommends more direct cash transfers
BBC online, January 12, 2017
The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) says cash transfers are a “proven method” of helping the world’s poorest. The watchdog has recommended the £200m programme be scaled up. The Department for International Development said cash transfers achieved “value for taxpayers’ money”.

5. UK aid watchdog encourages direct cash support for people in poor countries
The Guardian, Karen McVeigh, January 11, 2017
The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai), which scrutinises aid money, said the government’s cash transfer programmes – likened by one MP to “exporting the dole” – have improved the lives of millions of people and provided “strong value for money”. The prime minister, Theresa May, staunchly defended cash transfers and the foreign aid budget earlier this month after both came under renewed attack. The benefits of the scheme have been recognised by the public accounts committee and the National Audit Office.


6. French socialist presidential candidates back universal basic income of £655 a month for all citizens
The Independent, May Bulman, January 17, 2017
French presidential candidates have backed a plan to introduce a universal basic income of €750 (£655) a month, in what they described as a bid to combat the threat of robots taking over three million jobs. Two of the seven candidates for the French Socialist Party leadership have proposed the measure, which would see every French citizen over 18 receive the monthly pay-out, regardless of their employment status.

7. As robots take human jobs, Europeans mull free money for all
CBS, January 17, 2017
The radical notion that governments should hand out free money to everyone — rich and poor, those who work and those who don’t — is slowly but surely gaining ground in Europe. That’s right: a guaranteed monthly living allowance, no strings attached. In France, two of the seven candidates vying to represent the ruling Socialist Party in this year’s presidential election are promising modest but regular stipends to all French adults. A limited test is already underway in Finland, with other experiments planned elsewhere, including in the United States.

8. Martin Luther King Jr. was decades ahead of his time in advocating for a universal basic income
Quartz, Marc Bain, January 16, 2017
Humans aren’t as necessary as they once were for carrying out basic tasks, manual and otherwise. Robots are doing more and more of those jobs, threatening to displace large numbers of workers and prompting experts from economists to Elon Musk to ask whether now is the time to implement a universal basic income, a social safety net that would provide unconditional cash payments to everyone.

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