In their own words: Half-broken house

Recipient Nyadeje, a 55-year-old farmer and mother of four, recently spoke to our backcheck team about her current living situation, and what she hopes to accomplish with the transfer (added explanation in italics). On hardship: My biggest hardship has been to raise money to make a better house since I lost my spouse. The house […]

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In their own words: Initial reactions to free money

Insights from Helen and Kevin, Teresa and Odhiambo, and Christine Can you imagine a stranger coming to your door offering a year’s income, no strings attached? Neither could our recipients, until it happened (and even then, many still didn’t believe the offer was real). In the interviews below, three randomly-selected recipients recount what went through […]

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GiveDirectly has a song?

Recently, we found out that one of our recipients used his transfer to start a band; he bought instruments and hired seven other musicians and four dancers. They play paying gigs around their community and have even put out an album. Our favorite track is a song about GiveDirectly. It’s not only catchy and fun […]

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How our recipients celebrate Christmas

Sometimes it feels like we’re worlds apart from our recipients: (most of) our domestic team is based in NYC, whereas our recipients live in rural Kenya and Uganda; and the $1000 we send is more than a year’s income for our recipients, but it’s just another month’s rent in NYC. Despite these differences, some things […]

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What’s $1 worth?

People often ask us how far a standard GiveDirectly cash transfer – approximately $1,000 – goes for a recipient household in Kenya. The easy answer is: a lot further than it would go in the U.S. In order to understand exactly how much further, I recently asked my colleagues in Kenya about the average cost […]

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Why so few stories?

If you regularly check our website, blog, or Facebook page, you may have noticed something you don’t often see: stories and photos of our recipients. Given how closely we interact with recipients and how prominently stories feature in most nonprofits’ messaging, you may be wondering if we’ve completely missed the marketing boat. We try to […]

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Cash, goods, or services? The poor say cash

Earlier this month, while leaving a recipient’s home after a chat about his purchases and experience with GiveDirectly, I noticed a new structure beside his house that I hadn’t seen on my way in. “What’s that? Did you buy that with the transfer as well?” I asked, and my colleague Erick, Senior Field Officer, translated.The […]

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There’s no charity for power saws

One of the main benefits of giving cash is that people can use the cash to buy whatever they want or need. When people first hear about cash transfers, this freedom is sometimes one of the things they worry about – “and… they can just spend it on anything?” But it turns out that, on […]

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