Two upcoming opportunities to ask (almost) anything.
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November, 2015

As Giving Season approaches, we have been enhancing our website to improve the user experience. Take a look at our updated Impact Calculator, which now not only calculates what your donation can buy through each of our 16 recommended charities, but does so in your country’s currency (shout-out to the volunteer who suggested this!). We have also added a Causes We Support section that allows you to explore where to donate by focus area.

Mark your calendars: Peter Singer will be answering your questions during a Product Hunt LIVE chat on November 30, from 12-1 PM Pacific/3-4 PM Eastern. Sign up to chat with Peter and get ready for an inspiring conversation! Peter will also be hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything chat on December 10, from 12-1 PM Pacific/3-4 PM Eastern. We will publish a direct link on our homepage closer to the date.

During Giving Season, we will be sending out second newsletters in mid-November and mid-December to provide relevant information for this critical period. For those of you who celebrate family holidays at this time of year, consider integrating effective giving and The Life You Can Save's recommended charities into your plans. We welcome you to share your ideas with us at We will, in turn, pass on some of those suggestions in our newsletters.

Thanks for everything you do to help alleviate the devastating effects of extreme poverty.

Good living and good giving,

Charlie Bresler is Executive Director of The Life You Can Save, an organization founded by the philosopher Peter Singer and based on the basic tenet of Effective Altruism: leading an ethical life involves using a portion of personal assets and resources to effectively alleviate the consequences of extreme poverty.

In November's Issue


Charity Voices


Highlights from Our Blog


Team Picks


This Month in Giving

Charity Voices
Updates from our recommended charities about the many ways they empower the extreme poor to sustainably improve their lives.
Making markets work: How we got to 10,000 toilets.
Click image to see full infographic.

By Yasmin Madan, Director of Global Marketing, PSI

Last month, our PSI-India project surpassed 10,000 toilets in rural Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, where 99 million reside and more than 80% practices open defecation.

Congratulations are due to my colleagues at PSI-India for their hard work to understand and strengthen the market for toilets. Ensuring the construction of one toilet is a relatively easy task, but scaling the solution takes a more systemic approach.

In collaboration with Monitor Group (now Deloitte), PSI identified key sanitation market failures that must be understood and addressed through both demand and supply interventions. For example, on the supply side, PSI found that there were very few businesses engaged in acquiring materials in bulk in order to expedite toilet construction for households.  On the demand side, households were often unaware of where they could buy a toilet, its cost, and of how they could pay for it.

With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with our partners PATH and Water For People, PSI is working to strengthen the market by:

  • Identifying and training local businesses to produce and deliver toilet components;
  • Working with local and national microfinance institutions to increase the availability of loans for sanitation needs, both for households to purchase a toilet as well as for local businesses to increase their capacity to provide parts and construction;
  • Supporting marketing and sales structures at the local level so they can integrate financing and assist households to navigate the purchasing process, converting a “need” into “demand” in a burgeoning market;
  • Ensuring the availability of a product that is not only affordable, but aspirational for households and one that they will feel proud to own and use;
  • Exploring technologies for safe removal, treatment and reuse of waste.

The infographic above gives you a glimpse at what it takes to construct 10,000 toilets – the first step in our efforts to develop the total market for sustained access to and use of toilets.

Hear from GiveDirectly's recipients about their individualized uses of cash transfers.
Penina, a Kenyan mother

These last few months have been exciting times for GiveDirectly, as we form important new partnerships and move into new regions. We hope you visit our blog, specifically our new weekly “In Their Own Words” series, where you can read about randomly chosen recipients’ lives and see, on an individual level, how your donations can make a lasting and profound impact on families in need. 

One such recipient is Penina, a mother in Kenya who explains what she and her husband have used their cash transfer for so far: "I spent 10,000 shillings [$95] on farming, 14,000 shillings [$135] on buying a cow, 3,000 shillings [$29] on clothing, 2,500 [$24] on paying for medical bills, and 5,000 [$48] I invested in business while the remainder I spent on food.

"My business is doing well and I am sure of daily income from it. I also spent some cash on farming, and even as we speak we are in the farm harvesting. And I am sure the harvest will feed my family for the whole season."

Fredrick, another Kenyan recipient, says, "I spent a larger portion on building materials (iron sheets, iron nails, timber, and wall poles), bought clothes for the family, purchased grains for family consumption, and also paid 5000 shillings [$48] school fees.

"Though I've not managed to establish my house due to other financial commitments, I bought building materials. This has revived my hope of building an iron-roofed house, and this will rescue me from seasonal rains."

Check out our blog to see how cash transfers give recipients the flexibility to set their own priorities and improve their own lives.

Malaria deaths down by 60% and 663 million cases stopped in Africa in the last 15 years
Photo credit: Against Malaria Foundation
Two reports, one in the journal Nature and another by the World Health Organisation, provide information on progress against malaria. Insecticide treated bed nets were responsible for 68% of the reduction in malaria cases.
  • Malaria death rates have fallen 60% globally since 2000.
  • 663 million cases have been prevented in Africa over the past 15 years.
  • 68% of the reduction has been due to the distribution of a billion bed nets.
  • 22% was attributed to the treatment artemisinin.
  • 10% to spraying homes with insecticide.
  • The number of infections fell by 50% across the continent.
  • Africa still accounts for 80% of cases and 78% of deaths.
  • 13 countries that had malaria in 2000 reported no cases in 2014 while a further six countries had fewer than ten cases.
Great progress has been made, but there is still much work to be done. Your donations to AMF are crucial to that continued work.
A unique workshop to share experiences of salt iodization across the South-East Asia Region
At the end of the three-day workshop, countries posted their revised goals for household coverage with adequately iodized salt.

Earlier this month, the Iodine Global Network held a regional workshop on “Achieving universal salt iodization for optimal iodine nutrition” in Bangkok. The workshop was organized jointly with our partners: UNICEF, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and Micronutrient Initiative (MI), and in collaboration with the Thai Ministry of Public Heath. 

The workshop was well attended by representatives of 11 countries across the East Asia & Pacific Region: China, DPR Korea, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam. Most countries in the Region already have national programs that target iodine deficiency, and many countries have achieved their national nutrition goals. The workshop offered the first of its kind opportunity for the countries to share their experiences and learn about the best ways to move forward, to make sure their national IDD programs remain strong and sustainable.

Read more:

Highlights from Our Blog
  1. 4 Innovative Ways to Keep Children in School by Rhema Hokama

  2. Here's an Easy Way to Make Effective Giving Part of Your Estate Plans by Rhema Hokama

  3. How to Run a Giving Game and Start a Local Chapter by Michael Dello-Iacovo

Team Picks

This new online course explores innovative ways to leverage public and private sector funds in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Jon Behar 
COO & Director of Philanthropy Education

Angus Deaton's selection for the Nobel Prize for economics reinforces a central premise of The Life You Can Save -- the critical importance of turning massive amounts of data into actionable information.

Charlie Bresler 
Executive Director

Data: Ferreira et al 2015 | Chart by Kenny and Sandefur

Articles from Vox (including the pictured graph) and from the World Bank explain why the definition of "extreme poverty" has been raised from living on $1.25 a day to $1.90, and the implications of this change.

Amy Schwimmer 
Director of Operations

For the month of November, Seva is having a photo contest on Instagram! Post a photo of something you’re thankful for along with the hashtag #thankfultosee. From your Instagram channel, follow and tag Seva at @sevafoundation. Seva will repost their favorites and pick a winner to receive a prize after Thanksgiving.

Rhema Hokama
Director of Communications

This Month in Giving

A Conversation with Peter Singer; with Special Guest Mandy Moore 

Peter Singer discusses his recent book The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Can End Poverty; Mandy Moore, actress and PSI Global Ambassador, will give opening remarks about her recent trip to India with PSI and the impact she’s seen first-hand.
Co-hosted by Giving What We Can and Population Services International (PSI)   
6pm, Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, Wash. D.C.
For more information and tickets, click here.


World Toilet Day -- #WeCantWait 

2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation; 1 billion lack any access to a toilet, and have to defecate in the open, denying them basic human dignity as well as safety, especially for women. See the UN's World Toilet Day website for great information, ideas, and reports on progress (and a great logo). Also, see PSI's article and infographic above about supplying over 10,000 toilets to one of the poorest states in India.


Peter Singer on Product Hunt Live 

Peter will be answering your questions during a Product Hunt LIVE chat on November 30, from 12-1 PM Pacific/3-4 PM Eastern. Sign up to chat with Peter and get ready for an inspiring conversation!

Dec. 1st

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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