GiveWell's Recent Visit to Burkina Faso

by GiveWell 1 min read22nd Sep 2019No comments


GiveWell staff recently visited Burkina Faso to meet with staff of one of our top charities, Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) program, and observe its work. Through its SMC program, Malaria Consortium distributes preventative anti-malarial medication at a time of year when it is needed most.

As I [Olivia Larsen] write below, GiveWell donors have directed more than $37 million to Malaria Consortium over the last 18 months at our recommendation. We expect that this will provide preventative treatments to 4.8 million children and avert over 16,000 deaths. We’re so appreciative of the support of our community in enabling this tremendous impact.

We originally sent a version of the following message to supporters of Malaria Consortium’s SMC program in late August. We received positive feedback on this message and decided to share it more broadly on our blog. We plan to publish more information about the 2019 Burkina Faso site visit in the future.

Hello from Burkina Faso!

I’m here on a site visit of Malaria Consortium, one of our recommended charities, to see its malaria prevention program in action.

This visit helped me relate more deeply to the program by getting to know some of the people who run it and some of the people who benefit from it. I wanted to share my experience with you.

It’s currently the rainy season, which means that children in Burkina Faso are at a higher risk of contracting malaria. Today, I shadowed Abibata and Diedonne, two community distributors, as they visited households to administer preventative anti-malarial medication to every child they could find between 3 months and 5 years of age.

This is a three-day course of medication that will be dissolved in water and given to children under five.

In my role at GiveWell, I speak with donors almost daily to describe this program and why we think it is effective. I know the research back-to-front and understand the impact each dollar can have when directed to Malaria Consortium. But seeing the program being implemented made it more tangible. I saw Abibata and Diedonne going door-to-door helping coax children into taking the bitter medicine and teaching caregivers how to administer it. This made me feel like I had a closer connection to people on the other side of GiveWell’s analysis—people going about their daily lives, pausing briefly to receive a simple spoonful of medication that may prevent them from getting very sick.

GiveWell and Malaria Consortium staff members after meeting to discuss their Burkina Faso program. I’m the one on the right side of the front row!

And when my two hours of shadowing were up and we had offered medicine to our tenth child, I felt a real sense of pride in our donor community. GiveWell donors have given more than $37 million to Malaria Consortium over the last 18 months. Together, we expect that this will provide preventative treatments to 4.8 million children over the course of the high malaria season and avert over 16,000 deaths. Working with a community of so many donors having so much impact is inspiring. At its heart, giving is about helping others—and without GiveWell’s supporters, we would not be able to support Malaria Consortium’s work to provide simple, lifesaving medication to children who need it.

Thank you. We’re so grateful to have you by our side.