Miguel Mateo

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This is such a well-thought post, thank you Sophie! It actually came up as I was looking for other people who might have considered exactly this in the past; that religious institutions have a great deal of resources to bring to the table when it comes to doing good. I know that Molly Burhans, for example, through the founding of her NGO Goodlands, has been pushing for the Catholic Church to understand the value of its lands assets in working towards climate change mitigation.

We don't even have to consider anything like the Church or any other similar religious organization donating some of their excess resources to EA charities: why not create a consulting organization that applies EA management practices in the stewarding of those resources? I could tentatively imagine more than one bishop, rabbi, abbot, imam or administrator of religious resources being willing to hear how they can make the most good with what they have, through evidence-based allocation of those resources towards high-impact interventions.

Hey all, I'm Miguel.

I've been reading on Effective Altruism for years, but only recently joined the Forum. I'm 26, from Venezuela, and I've got a Bachelor's in Philosophy, but work mostly on operations and HR. I live in Spain (Madrid-based), and do some volunteering at a local LGBTQ nonprofit that helps refugees persecuted by their sexual orientation or gender identity obtain asylum in Spain.

I've just recently signed up because I've been doing some thinking on a project that could have a high impact in the world through an impact in the EA community, for which I plan on writing a post at some point. Inspired by the work of the Friendship Bench, after I read about them in this thread by Michael Plant, I've been thinking of building a similar project but aimed at EAs who have mental health issues, who are going through a hard time, or who simply struggle with their emotions. I'm not a psychologist (though I am considering studying Psychology in the future depending on the viability of this project), but I don't think a degree in mental health should be needed for this. At first it'd just be me, setting up a Calendly and offering to talk to anyone in the EA community who needs it (especially founders, who are by default under especial strain given their circumstances), as a friend; and creating a few monitored support groups of EAs who are struggling with similar problems, where incoming people can perhaps discuss with people who have overcome similar issues or who are working on overcoming them. It'll also require setting up a referral network for people with severe issues, whom we (at first, just me) can't help, who could in turn be helped by volunteer psychologists and psychiatrists. We've got something somehow similar to all of this going on in the Effective Altruism Peer Support Group, which is really cool, but I don't think the majority of people in the community know about it, nor do I think it really suffices for the needs of most. I think there is a difference between writing in a group and actually talking one-on-one with someone, and that most people need the latter.

I'm guessing that the two major issues would be ensuring confidentiality for people who book a chat (confidentiality of what we talk about, of course), and, over time, managing the amount of people who need to talk so that there's not a long waiting time to have a call again if someone wants to. Maybe bringing other people on board? We'd have to see. In any case, I think that helping people in the EA community take care of themselves and express their emotions in a safe space, while offering someone who listens but can also talk, would directly have an impact on the safety and continued existence of the community itself, which in turn has an impact on the endurance of EA ideas, and, ultimately, on their impact in the world.

Anyways, there's more to be said about this and there's several problems I see with this idea that I didn't address here, because it's not the place. I've got solutions for some, but not yet for others. For the moment, I just wanted to introduce myself and explain what has driven a long-time lurker to speak up in the forum. Hope you're all having a beautiful day!