GiveDirectly plans a cash transfer response to COVID-19 in US

by warrenjordan1 min read19th Mar 20203 comments



I wanted to share to everyone that GiveDirectly, one of GiveWell's top rated charities, is planning to respond to COVID-19 in the US.

We’re planning a (contactless) cash transfer response to COVID-19 in the U.S. We recognize that gov’t responses, while large in scale, can’t meet the full need — whether by excluding some of the most vulnerable (e.g., elderly, undocumented, etc.), not providing sufficient resources, or simply being delayed. To that end, we’re planning to launch a public cash transfer program in the U.S., leveraging our experience with cash in disasters and contactless operations.

As someone new to EA, it sounds like this goes against the principle of the dollar going further overseas. I assume that poorer countries are already (or will be) significantly impacted by the pandemic vs. developed countries.

I brought this up to them via e-mail and this was their response.

We recognize that the need is immense globally, and will only grow over the coming months. We believe cash relief can play an important role in helping those most vulnerable, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Operationally, the complex challenges we face to do this well (e.g. connecting people to a payment grid without any interaction) are more immediately surmountable in the US. That said, we are absolutely pulling up plans that were already underway (pre-Covid) to pilot remote enrollment models in East Africa. This could look like a phone-based approach or partnering with telecom companies to fund digital wallets in high poverty areas without boots on the ground.

What are everyone's thoughts on this and does this influence your personal donation strategy?