As I think about 2016, I am acutely aware of the immense opportunity those of us in the effective philanthropy movement have to dramatically improve the impact of charitable donations.
Each year, $330 billion is given to charity in the U.S. alone, of which about $240 billion is given by individuals. Yet when we look at American giving:
• Only 35% of donors do any research before giving.
• Only 16% of donors consider maximizing impact to be their primary goal.
• Only 4% of giving goes abroad, where gifts can do the most good.
Thus, even small changes to aggregate donor behavior can influence billions of dollars in giving each year!
As I see it, collectively, the organizations and individuals inspired to work to change the face of philanthropy, including all of us at The Life You Can Save, have a tremendous responsibility to do our own work well, to work cooperatively and supportively with each other, and to support great NGOs saving lives and reducing suffering. We all share the privilege of doing this work and, personally, I want to express my gratitude to the others doing the work that enriches our own lives so much.
I want to thank everyone in the wider community of donors who contributes to supporting our work.
Here is to a great 2016!
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.
How do women's hygiene products lead to improved harvests?
In two months with reusable sanitary pads from One Acre Fund, client farmer Pamela Kituyi of Webuye District, Kenya, saved enough money to help her begin to raise poultry.
Scaling reusable sanitary pads in Kenya is just one of the exciting projects our program associates work on.
When One Acre Fund’s field officers in Webuye, Kenya met with farmer groups in January 2015, they had more than the usual planting trainings to deliver. All 49 field officers (both men and women) in the district were on a mission. Their goal? To explain the benefits of AFRIpads reusable sanitary pads, which were selected after in-depth evaluation by our product innovations team as a product farmers could choose to purchase on top of the standard One Acre Fund package.
Webuye district was the site of our first farmer trials for reusable sanitary pads. The So Sure Pads, made by AFRIpads, have a lot to offer: at only $6 USD for a 4-pack, the pads can be used for 12+ months, are highly absorbent, easy to wash, and dry quickly. They offer women and girls a more sanitary option than cloth materials, and for those who can afford to purchase disposable pads, AFRIpads also wind up being more cost effective than purchasing expensive disposable pads every month.
After hearing their One Acre Fund field officer explain the benefits of reusable sanitary pads, Pamela and Francesca, two female farmers in Webuye District, immediately signed up to purchase them. Both women are experienced One Acre Fund farmers with extensive practice using the improved planting techniques learned in One Acre Fund trainings and strong track records of improved harvests and increased incomes. Yet this was the very first time either woman had stopped to consider how reusable sanitary pads could also improve their productivity and incomes.
Pamela lives close to a main road in Webuye. Until now, she had relied on disposable pads, spending 200-220 Kenyan shillings ($2-2.25 USD) each month. “I dreaded my periods would start at a time in the month when I didn’t have money to purchase pads,” she recalls.
For Francesca, disposable sanitary pads were a luxury she often couldn’t afford. “During the hunger season, I had to make a choice between either buying food or sanitary pads. In most cases I could not allow my children to go hungry, so I would buy food and then cut pieces from old clothes and blankets to use as pads,” Francesca explains. “Sometimes, I would not join other people or visit my friends because I worried that I smelled or might leak. I stayed in the house alone the whole day.”
IPA's top ten blog posts of 2015
Photo: Sergio De Marco/IPA
AMF's Dec. 2015/Jan 2016 Update
As 2015 draws to a close we would like to thank all who have supported and worked with AMF this year as without donors, distribution partners, volunteers and pro bono supporters we would not be able to do what we do in contributing to the fight against malaria. Thank you!
We have just completed, or are currently carrying out, three distributions in Malawi (Balaka and Ntcheu districts) and DRC (North Ubangi district) totalling 1.37 million nets, protecting 2.5 million people.
Post-distribution net use check-ups
There are post-distribution net use check-ups just completed or ongoing in four locations, ensuring we have data on how protection of communities changes over time.
We have made significant progress with discussions in five countries requiring, individually, between 2 million and 15 million nets for the period 2016 to 2018 and expect to make an announcement in the first part of 2016. We are aiming to secure a further US$50 million for the projects we are currently considering.
AMF top ranked!
AMF has again been top-ranked by the three leading organisations 'dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities'. GiveWell has ranked AMF their #1 charity for the fourth time in five years, and both The Life You Can Save and Giving What We Can give AMF top-ranking for the fifth year in a row.
We are absolutely thrilled to have recently been awarded a US$22.8m grant by Good Ventures, the San Francisco based philanthropic foundation. We see this grant as transformational for AMF, allowing us to support larger scale distributions. We are also delighted to have received two US$1,000,000 donations from U.S. based donors, who visited one of our programmes and carried out detailed due diligence before making this commitment.
A suggestion for birthdays and other occasions
Consider nets instead of gifts. We send the recipient/s an email (on a date you choose e.g. a relative’s birthday) with your personal message and a link to their 'gift page', allowing them to follow the progress of their nets.