Radical generosity emphasizes a deep commitment to giving and sharing, often going beyond traditional notions of charity or philanthropy. It involves a willingness to make significant sacrifices in order to create positive change in the lives of others and to address systemic issues. As human beings, we have an obligation to be generous to others both inside and outside our moral circle.[1] Extending generosity beyond one's immediate moral circle reflects a commitment to universal values and the well-being of all human beings, regardless of their proximity or familiarity. 

Effective altruism accentuates the significance of effecting meaningful positive changes with one's resources and endeavors, particularly in tackling urgent global predicaments such as poverty, inequality, and health crises. Radical generosity complements this objective by advocating for a mindset and practice of giving that transcends conventional charity norms.

While the concept of effective altruism has gained traction in affluent nations, this commendable innovative approach to philanthropy is gradually taking root in the Global South. Many regions in the Global South confront systemic challenges like poverty, inadequate access to fundamental resources, and limited opportunities for healthcare and education. Nonetheless, the unique circumstances in these nations necessitate an adaptation of the principles of effective altruism, with radical generosity being a prominent feature of this adaptation.

For instance, the widely known “earn to give” notion, derived from the premise of radical generosity, is less likely to find widespread support in the Global South. The "earn to give" notion primarily revolves around monetary contributions to effective charities making it more feasible for affluent nations given the numerous well-paid jobs. In contrast, securing a comparatively high-paying job in the Global South is a privilege reserved for a small, highly educated, or skilled minority, and even then, earnings fall significantly short of the average incomes in affluent nations.  However, having fewer proponents of the earn-to-give notion is not a reflection of the generosity of individuals in the Global South. In fact, as per the World Giving Index 2022, African nations consistently rank among the most generous globally. While the monetary contributions from African nations might be less compared to wealthier countries, African nations notably rank higher in terms of donation and volunteering. If you ask me, exhibiting generosity without the cushion of a high-paying job is a far more radical stance. 

To avoid underestimating the contributions of effective altruists in the Global South, careful reasoning must be invested in tailoring the principles of effective altruism to fit the diverse social, cultural, and economic contexts. Moreover, it's vital to acknowledge that generosity extends beyond monetary contributions and encompasses sharing skills, presence, support, advocacy, and mentorship. Africa, in particular, thrives on community-driven giving, where individuals pool their resources to support others. Noteworthy cultural practices that emphasize communal giving include South Africa's 'Ubuntu,' Kenya's 'Harambee,' and Nigeria's 'Ajo.' These established cultural practices not only foster unity but also nurture a culture of generosity.

These seemingly modest practices wield tangible effects on individuals' lives as well as the communities they belong to. Broadening our comprehension of generosity empowers us to make substantial contributions while addressing the distinctive challenges of various societies. Moreover, this approach sidesteps the impersonal and transactional nature that can accompany monetary contributions.

In conclusion, perceptions of effective altruism and radical generosity can differ within the Global South, given its multifaceted nature shaped by diverse social, cultural, and economic contexts. Therefore, engaging in all-encompassing and respectful dialogues, considering local perspectives and priorities, is imperative when deliberating on effectiveness. By intertwining and embracing the principles of effective altruism with a Global South perspective, radical generosity can evolve into a potent catalyst for constructive change.

However, this isn't meant to discourage those who can afford monetary donations. Rather its intention is to expand our comprehension of generosity and to illustrate how generosity takes shape in the Global South. As the Swahili saying goes, 'Kutoa ni suala la utayari tu, sio mali,' meaning 'Giving is a matter of willingness, not wealth.'


  1. ^

     A person’s “moral circle” classically refers to the entities that that person perceives as having moral standing, or as being worthy of moral concern. And “moral circle expansion” classically refers to moral circles moving “outwards”, for example from kin to people of other races to nonhuman animals, such that “more distant” entities are now in one’s “circle of concern”.






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An interesting read. Thank you for highlighting this perspective, Wanjiru!

I read your article and it was amazing! I loved how well-written and informative it was. Great job!

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