The end of the year is always a time for reflection, and this year asks more than most. With a confluence of global crises, and rising skepticism of institutions, the actions we take as individuals – and the signals they send – are perhaps more important than ever.
At GiveDirectly, we’ve been deeply encouraged to see our community and its impact grow meaningfully this year. Together, we have enrolled 31K new households, and placed $27M into the hands of 40K households (or more than 180k individuals), most of whom had been living on less than $1/day. This represents more than a 1000X increase in distributions from just five years ago. And whereas in 2011, the New York Times asked whether it was “nuts” to give cash to the poor; this year, the Secretary-General has argued that “cash-based programming should be the preferred and default method of support.”
While we are excited to see this progress, we also have a long way to go. Despite the rhetoric, cash transfers represent at most 6% of global humanitarian assistance; and in non-humanitarian contexts, USAID and DfID are estimated to give 0% and 2%, respectively. Unfortunately, there are powerful lobbies and bureaucratic structures that will resist expanding cash, which is why we will need your help to keep growing this movement: establishing cash as a benchmark, trusting the poor, and putting those we serve back at the center of philanthropy.
Thank you for all you’ve contributed to the recipients and this movement and have a happy and healthy holiday season.