As of today, our international response to COVID-19 is live: you can give directly to households living in extreme poverty in the hardest-hit communities overseas. More information on this below.

We are deeply concerned for these families. As the pandemic hits and governments impose lockdowns to try to limit its spread, many will suddenly be unable to continue earning a living. Few will have the financial resources to weather this storm, let alone provide care if a family member falls ill. To make matters worse, traditional aid programs that rely on face-to-face interaction may need to scale back at the same time.

This is the moment for digital cash transfers. Giving directly to families in extreme poverty has always been a great opportunity to do good, but it’s an extraordinary opportunity now. If you’re coping with this crisis yourself and are in a position to give, please do so generously.

Our current plans are as follows. All may change as we develop better opportunities and refine our tactics, and we’ll keep you informed as we do so.

  • We’ll start enrolling new recipients next week. We will focus first on urban areas, where we expect the economic impacts of COVID-19 will hit first and hardest. We will coordinate with local governments and NGOs to identify and prioritize underserved groups, and we’re starting with youth in Nairobi slums.
  • We will enroll recipients remotely, using some combination of (a) our own existing databases of low-income households, (b) rosters provided by local NGO partners whom we have vetted, and (c) rosters of mobile money subscribers recruited through our partner mobile network operators. Specific approaches will vary across countries.
  • In parallel, we will continue to pay previously enrolled recipients in all six countries with live projects (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, and the DRC), and have already shifted to a remote follow-up model. We completed payments to 13,806 recipients in March totaling over $2.5M.

If you have the means and are interested, please donate here.

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