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December, 2015

A Letter from Peter Singer
We’re excited to announce our 2016 list of best charities working against global poverty. Our 17 recommended charities do innovative and cost-effective work to bring food, vital nutrients, medical services, and economic opportunities to many of the 702 million people living in extreme poverty today. These organizations use  evidence-backed interventions to give new hope to the world’s neediest men, women, and children.
The Life You Can Save’s Best Charities for 2016

Listed in alphabetical order
* denotes new 2016 addition

On this year’s list, you’ll see that we’ve added One Acre Fund, a nonprofit that helps small farmers in East Africa maximize their farm productivity. We’re confident that One Acre Fund offers our supporters one of the best giving opportunities for 2016, and hope that you’ll spend some time learning more about the organization’s farming program and environmental conservation efforts. 
2015 has been an exciting year for all of us who care deeply about poverty reduction. For the first time in human history, the percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty dropped below 10 percent. That’s great news, but there’s much more work to be done in 2016 and beyond as we work to wipe out extreme poverty.
People often ask me, “What can I do to help the poor? Can one person’s donation really make a difference?” I firmly believe that every donation, when given to the right charity, has the potential to have powerful impact. Last year, individual donations from Americans totaled more than the amount given to charity by corporations, bequests, and foundations combined. But less than 5 percent of those donations were earmarked for international interventions. That means that the majority of individual donor money never made it to the developing world, where people need help the most.
Each of us has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of the global poor. If you haven’t already done so, consider taking The Life You Can Save’s giving pledge to donate a portion of your 2016 income to effective poverty relief, or update your pledge amount as part of your New Year’s resolutions to improve your personal giving best. Then find out what your donation could buy through one of our charities, using our interactive Impact Calculator. And don’t forget to help us share the word! December 1 is #GivingTuesday, presenting a great opportunity to use social media to go public with your pledge to give during the holidays and in 2016.
From all of us at The Life You Can Save, thank you for helping us move closer to realizing our vision of a world free of poverty.
Peter Singer

Peter Singer’s landmark essay “Famine, Affluence and Morality” is available in hardcover December 1st from Oxford University Press and includes two of Singer’s New York Times essays on the same subject, a new preface by Singer, and a foreword by Bill and Melinda Gates. The slim volume, priced at only $9.95, would make an ideal holiday season gift for a thoughtful person.
Do you have a question for Peter Singer and The Life You Can Save? Peter will be hosting a Product Hunt LIVE chat at 3 PM Eastern on December 1, and a Reddit Ask Me Anything at 3 PM Eastern on December 10. The Life You Can Save’s executive director Charlie Bresler will be co-hosting a Reddit AMA with Development Media International’s CEO Roy Head on December 3 at 2 PM Eastern. Come with questions and join us for thought-provoking, inspiring conversation!


In December's Issue


Charity Voices


Highlights from Our Blog


Team Picks


This Month in Giving

Charity Voices
Introductions, Updates and Evidence from our Recommended Charities
The Life You Can Save's New Recommended Charity addresses poverty from the ground up--literally.
Farmer Jeanette Uwimanimpaye in Gitega, Rwanda. Photo by Hailey Tucker/One Acre Fund
At One Acre Fund, we supply smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty.  Instead of giving handouts, we invest in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income. We measure success in our ability to make more farmers more prosperous and we always put Farmers First.
Through a complete service bundle that addresses the full value chain, One Acre Fund provides farmers with farm inputs financing, improved seeds and fertilizer, agricultural training, and market facilitation to maximize harvest prices. Most importantly, we deliver these services within walking distance of the 280,000 farmers we serve.
Our program has proven impactful: on average, farmers working with us realize at least a 100% return on their investment and significantly increase their farm income on every planted acre. In 2014, 99% of farmers working with us repaid their loans in full and on time.
To learn why One Acre Fund believes empowering rural women is essential to ending poverty, read this post on our blog.
Family planning empowerment--even at 60
Salma sitting outside her house.       Photo by: Gurmeet Sapalen
"I never imagined my life could have been any different," says Salma Begum. Like most women in her village in India, Salma was married off at a young age. By the time she was in her thirties, Salma was raising 11 sons. 

In her sixties now, Salma has seen her sons marry women who remind her of when she was once a young bride. They face the same challenges — multiple childbirths and the struggles of raising large families.

So when she answered a knock on her door and met Zeenat from PSI, she couldn't have imagined their lives would be changed forever.

Zeenat was going house to house educating villagers about various family planning options. It was the first time Salma had met a woman who decided when — or whether — to get pregnant. 

When Zeenat told her about the health products and services that help women and couples plan their families, Salma was excited to learn that her daughters-in-law would have options she never imagined.   Read more
DMI recommended by GiveWell for a second year
INTENSAÚDE is a planned mass media campaign promoting reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, supported by the Ministry of Health in Mozambique.

DMI is delighted to announce that, for the second year running, we have been recommended as a 'standout organisation' by GiveWell. We are one of only eight organisations in the world to receive a recommendation.

GiveWell describes DMI as "a standout giving opportunity because of its strong transparency, rigorous self-evaluation, and its work on a potentially cost-effective program".

Read the GiveWell review of DMI
This review is based on the recently published midline results from DMI's randomised controlled trial in Burkina Faso, as we do not yet have final endline results (see the GiveWell review for discussion of the issues with the provisional endline data and plans to run a second survey). 

Support us
DMI is looking to raise $12m in the next two years to scale up child survival radio and TV campaigns in Mozambique, DRC, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mali and Niger. Our immediate priority is to raise an additional $2m to enable us to launch our INTENSAÚDE child survival campaign in Mozambique (for which we have already raised $2.5m). 

Read about INTENSAÚDE | Read about all future campaigns | Make a tax-efficient donation online

Volunteer with us
Meanwhile, DMI is planning to launch a 'virtual internship' scheme with a particular focus on raising funds and awareness in the US and other key markets. We are still ironing out the details, but we are considering recruiting a large number of interns in parallel (perhaps one per US state, and one per country elsewhere). Their remit will be to build relationships with potential funders of DMI in their allocated region (foundations, companies, high net worth individuals, etc) to ask for funding, and/or to write and publicise articles about DMI. The internships will be unpaid, but can be fitted around other commitments, and should not lead to any expenses being incurred. We will provide guidance, support, and access to fundraising materials and resources (e.g. databases). The internships will provisionally run for a 3-6 month period starting in January 2016. 

Sign up to express interest in a virtual internship (full applications will be requested once the scheme is launched)

More about how GiveDirectly recipients utilize direct cash transfers--In Their Own Words
Janet, age 23, and Dennis, age 30, and their two children
Photo courtesy of GiveDirectly

Here is an excerpt from GiveDirectly's conversation with Kenyan cash transfer recipients Janet and Dennis:

Has your daily life changed in any way? Things you do every day, are they different?

Dennis: Life without a vision is like living in darkness. My first daughter is joining class one next year. And maybe people might envision being in class one or nursery school doesn’t take a lot. It takes a little bit, and over time, it takes a lot by the end of the year if you calculate it. I really appreciate when GiveDirectly came in because at least I got in some light, and I have a vision ahead. And I’m sure by next month I’ll be in my own house, and when you come back you’ll find I have big stomach, I won’t be as thin as I am now. I’ll be so relaxed, I won’t even have to think about rent.

Do you have a different new vision for your children or the future of the family? 

Dennis: In life, a vision is important. When you have a child you have to teach them the steps, as they grow up. The steps and the way, that’s what GiveDirectly gave me. I really appreciate that GiveDirectly gave me the steps to stand up and start working. Now I’m able to work – the first thing that was on my mind mainly was the house. I’m sure by next month I’ll be in my house.

From there, I can start looking for ways to boost my wife’s business, and my business. To some extent, I could create employment for other people to boost themselves. So their children can grow up knowing it’s not such a big struggle.

To read the rest of this conversation and interviews with other GiveDirectly recipients, click here.

Highlights from Our Blog
  1. 2 Easy Ways to Donate Your Holiday to Charity by Rhema Hokama

  2. Be a Superdonor--Promoting Effective Altruism by Appealing to the Heart by Gleb Tsipursky

  3. Water is a Fundamental Right for All by Rhema Hokama

  4. 3 Painless Ways to Increase Your Giving  by Brad Hurley

Team Picks
Image courtesy Development Media International

Help support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, which will implement a strategic approach to ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths worldwide.


Jon Behar 
COO & Director of Philanthropy Education

The Life You Can Save's Executive Director Charlie Bresler gives a great introduction to effective philanthropy and Tiny Spark's Amy Costello gives him a run for his money in this 10-minute podcast interview.

Laura Gamse 
Media and Outreach Director

This piece recapping Peter Singer's recent event in D.C. is the 4th in a series by Marc Gunther in the Non-Profit Chronicles, providing a great introduction to Effective Altruism and The Life You Can Save.


Amy Schwimmer 
Director of Operations

The Teams at our recommended charities and the Team that I have the privilege to lead have done another outstanding job this year.  I am so grateful for their dedication to the cause of effectively working to reduce the devastating effects of extreme poverty.  These folks are my "team pick."

Charlie Bresler 
Executive Director

This Month in Giving


Charlie Bresler and Roy Head on Reddit AMA

The Life You Can Save’s executive director Charlie Bresler co-hosts a Reddit Ask Me Anything with Development Media International’s CEO Roy Head at 2 PM Eastern. Join us and observe or participate in the conversation.


Peter Singer on Reddit AMA

The Life You Can Save founder Peter Singer hosts a Reddit Ask Me Anything from 3-4 pm Eastern. It should be another lively discussion.

The Life You Can Save is a 501(c)(3) - an official non-profit registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service. Donations to The Life You Can Save are tax-deductible to individuals filing taxes in the U.S.
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