Back to List

Bajillions of aid dollars – Cash in the News

From the GiveDirectly blog, co-founder Paul Niehaus writes about a recent paper on the long-term impacts of cash transfers, commenting, “A study like this from the US is news.” Commentary on using direct cash grants to help refugees also appeared this week in The New York Times, with a thorough investigation of how cash is and can be used to assist refugees in Lebanon.

FROM THE BLOG

1. Long term impacts of cash transfers here at home
The GiveDirectly blog, Paul Niehaus, September 20, 2016
In April, a team of researchers from Brown, Toronto, Northwestern, and UCLA published a fascinating study on the long-term impacts of cash transfers in the United States, looking at impacts on kids whose mothers received transfers from a pension program in the 1910s-1930s.

 
GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

2. Here’s What Happens When You Give $1,000 to Someone in Extreme Poverty
Medium/NewcoShift, Andrew McDermott, September 16, 2016
After dealing with the frequent barrage of opposing views, but always holding strong to our personal convictions; we decided to dig for some more answers — and see how many of these holes they were poking in our own justifications could be filled. Since we currently travel abroad full-time, and Kenya is an incredible country, we decided to head out for a field visit and take a real peek under the hood of GD’s operation.


CASH TRANSFER NEWS

3. A Malagasy Family’s Journey to Overcome Poverty
World Bank video, September 19, 2016
In Madagascar, recent political and environmental shocks have taken a toll on the economy and the Malagasy people, especially the most vulnerable. More than 70% of Malagasy live in extreme poverty. With the support of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, a new cash transfer program is helping families start small businesses, get more nutritious food and keep their children in school.

4. Cash For Free: Who’s In The Driver’s Seat?
Forbes, Amber Peterman and Sudhanshu Handa, September 16, 2016
The rise of ‘cash without strings’ and ‘basic income’ in the development policy and aid discourse has blossomed, and for good reason. The arguments for just giving cash to poor households to use as they best see fit are numerous: cash transfers reduce poverty and have widespread impacts—often larger than traditional forms of assistance—program operational costs are low and, importantly, cash provides recipients more dignity and autonomy over spending.

5. Ghana: Positive Impacts of the Leap Programme On Its Target Beneficiaries
All Africa, Press Release, Government of Ghana, September 15, 2016
The LEAP Programme which is Government of Ghana’s flagship social protection programme provides the means for cash transfer to the extremely poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society. The programme targets the extremely poor segment of the Ghanaian population that belong to the following four (4) categories: Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), the Elderly sixty-five years and above without support, Persons with Severe Disability without Productive Capacity, and Pregnant Women and Children under One Year.

6. ​Cash transfers help Punjabi girls stay in school
The Guardian, Sue George, September 14, 2016
In Punjab, leaders employed a tactic that’s part of a larger global health strategy: conditional cash transfers (CCTs). Typically provided by government or nonprofit groups, CCTs give money to vulnerable people in exchange for those people taking certain actions – such as sending children to school or regularly seeing a doctor. CCTscame into practice in places like Bangladesh in the 1980s. Many developing countries, including Malawi and Kenya, have started using them, and US metropolitan areas like New York City and Memphis have also tried the transfers.

7. Our vision for aid? Help the poorest people help themselves
The Guardian, Albert Kan-Dapaah, September 14, 2016
These successes are the products of foreign direct investment, political leadership, active civil society – and foreign aid. Like Ghana, aid has seen lots of changes in recent years. With the expanded involvement of the private sector, use of innovations like cash transfers, and former aid recipient countries becoming donors themselves, some might say traditional aid is obsolete.


CASH TRANSFERS AND REFUGEES

8. Mormon Church Donates $2 Million to Charities Assisting Refugees
Chron, Heather Hemingway, September 19, 2016
For the USCCB, the gift of $1.2 million in cash and donated foods and goods will help newly arrived refugees in 80 resettlement offices throughout the country. The $750,000 donation to the IRC will provide similar services for refugee families in their initial months of resettlement in 29 cities across America.

9. For Refugees in Lebanon, Cash Instead of Camps
The New York Times, Tina Rosenberg, September 13, 2016
Cash is catching on. A decade ago, the United Nations World Food Program was trying out cash in a few pilot programs. Now cash makes up a quarter of the organization’s portfolio, according to Kenn Crossley, the deputy director of policy and program. (Past Fixes columns here, here and here have reported on early, smaller cash programs.)

BASIC INCOME

10. Finland needs basic income and low-paid jobs, says Wahlroos
Helsinki Times, Aleksi Teivainen, September 15, 2016
A well-designed basic income scheme, he estimated, will reduce inactivity traps and enable people to accept job offers with wages lower than the minimum wages prescribed under the collective agreements. The Government’s proposal for a limited basic income experiment, however, is not the answer due to its design flaws, according to Wahlroos.