The idea of respect was central to how we built GDLive. For donors, respect means providing more transparency into where their dollars are actually going. Donors know that GiveDirectly is an efficient way to help the poor, but they often ask for more information about the families they are helping. With GDLive, donors can see when (to the hour), how much, and to whom, cash transfers were sent, and learn more about recipient’s lives. Respect also means a commitment to honesty: We aren’t cutting a single recipients’ answers and we’ll show everything they have to say about how GiveDirectly has impacted their lives: the good stories and the bad. We encourage recipients to be as honest as possible.
For recipients, respect means being careful that everyone’s information is valued and safely handled. All of this information is stored in a secure database. When we make this information public, we don’t post recipient’s’ last names and we don’t post specific village locations.
Additionally, and importantly, we recognize that some recipients may be uncomfortable having their stories shared online. That’s why there are several stages of consent before this information makes it onto GDLive. Before we ask any questions we ask, “is the household comfortable answering a few questions and taking a few pictures to be shared with donors?” After asking those questions and taking pictures we once again ask recipients for their consent to put these stories up on our website and GDLive app. We then read a disclosure, which includes the language: “I am aware that my participation in this project is voluntary. If for any reason, at any time, I wish to stop the information collection, I may do so without having to give an explanation.” Finally, we ask recipients to sign their names.
As of October 19th, approximately two thirds of the 6500 recipient households enrolled in Kenya during 2016 have consented to have their stories shared via GDLive. The majority of those who opt out (27% of total recipients) do so at the initial question asking if they’d like to share their information. The rest opt out at additional consent confirmation moments. We let recipients decline to answer individual or groups of questions. For instance, a recipient might opt in to answer questions during enrollment, but then later decide not to answer questions when we call them to follow up after they receive their transfers.
We hope that GDLive will jumpstart new connections between our community of donors and our community of recipients by fostering a sense of mutual respect. As always, we welcome your feedback to make this product even better.