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Jonas loves his wife, being in nature, and exploring interesting worlds both fictional and real. He uses his bamboo bike daily to get around in Munich. He's currently a freelance software engineer, and was working at the Against Malaria Foundation and Google before that. Jonas enjoys playing Ultimate and dancing.


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Answer by Sjlver3

TLDR: Full-stack software engineer (previously at Google and AMF) looking for part-time opportunities.

Skills & background: Expertise in software engineering for backend and frontend development, using a wide range of tech stacks. At AMF, I also worked on many data science tasks: automatic importing and cleaning of data, analyzing geospatial data, database design and optimizations. I have a security mindset and have done PhD research on software testing and hardening. I enjoy working with team members and partner organizations, and have excellent communication skills in English, French, and German.

Location/remote: Munich, Germany. Open for (and experienced in) remote work.

Availability & type of work: Ideally 20h/week. I can offer a lot of flexibility.


Email/contact: Jonas Wagner

Other notes: I'm particularly interested in work that has a clear and simple theory of change. While I am most experienced in global health and development, I am open to any cause area. I value meaningful work over high pay.

For European people on a budget, here's a multivitamin at €0.07 per day: They don't deliver to the US, though. And you might want to add in some omega 3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA) for a more complete supplementation

What you write is almost right, but not 100%... we are getting at the heart of the problem here. Thanks for making me re-think this and state it more clearly!

Edited to add: I've now also read the discussion that you've linked to in your comment. It is now clear to me that the team has thought through issues like this... so I wouldn't be angry if you prefer to use your time more wisely than for responding to my ramblings :)

Assume as an example that, without my vote, there is the following situation:

  • candidate A received 933 points from other voters
  • candidate B: 977 points
  • candidate C: 1000 points
  • candidate D: 1001 points

In this case:

  • If I put most of my votes to A, it gets in the top three along with C and D
  • If I put most of my votes to B, it gets in the top three along with C and D
  • If I split my 100 points just right, A and B both get in the top three

I understand that this is a constructed example with low probability of happening. It is meant to illustrate the case where, as a voter, I would like to support two candidates, but my support for one will hurt the other, and vice versa.

As a voter, I'd be particularly vexed if I had allocated 60 votes to A and 40 to B. In that case, I would have caused B to eliminate A, despite having more strongly supported A. This could not happen in approval voting, non-weighted instant run-off voting, or any Condorcet voting method.

As I wrote earlier, no voting system is perfect. For each system, one can construct silly counter-examples for which the system behaves counter-intuitively. For the subproblems "top-3 election" and "funding allocation", there are known solutions, for which the counter-intuitive situations are somewhat well understood. In your case, you have combined the two sub-problems into one harder combined problem. This makes it more difficult to reason about corner-cases, and creates a few more undesired incentives for strategic voting.

I don't think this is a critical flaw, so there is no urgent need to change things. If you did choose to change the approach, you might end up with two separate voting steps that are simpler and require fewer explanations than the current system.

Thanks for setting up this donation election!

Choosing voting methods is difficult, and no voting method is without flaw. Nevertheless, I am somewhat unhappy with the method proposed here, because it is very difficult for users to support multiple candidates. The problem arises because the method tried to do two things: (1) determine which candidates are in the top three, and (2) determine their relative popularity.

The problem: as a voter who likes two candidates A and B, I cannot support A without harming B, and vice versa. My rational behavior is to allocate all points to either A or B, to maximize the chance that one of them ends up in the top three. If I split my points between two candidates, I face the risk that neither makes it in the top three.

Other voting methods behave better with respect to this problem. For example, if we used approval voting to determine the top three, I could vote for both A and B without one vote harming the other. Similarly, in classical instant runoff voting without weights, I can put A and B at the top of my list, without having to work about negative consequences for either of them.

I think that this problem is best solved with a two-step voting process. In a first step, determine the top three candidates. In a second step, determine relative allocation of money. The second step would probably use different information than the first. This could be done with the current weights, if the first step considered only the order of candidates on the ballots.

This is very well written. Thanks! It's the kind of article that sparks (my) curiosity.

I looked for some information on Helvetas' website. Helvetas is a Swiss charity that has been running safe water interventions for about 50 years; they are funded by private donors, but also receive development aid money from the Swiss government.

Helvetas provides some ideas why water interventions might help, besides diarrhea:

  • Disproportionally helps women and girls: Women and girls in poor communities often spend several hours a day fetching water => big opportunity cost, probably unhealthy for their heads and back.
  • Unsafe water is used in critical situations, such as during child delivery. (edited to add: There are hints that this might be significant. For example, WHO and many organizations work to promote breastfeeding, and this is shown to reduce child mortality. Presumably many of the averted deaths would be due to unsafe water)

There are also positive effects of water management in general. These don't apply to chlorination or to filters at existing wells... but I found it helpful to consider more holistic approaches to water:

Improving water resource management is also key to equitable development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable agriculture and the prevention of conflicts.

Unfortunately, Helvetas' websites and reports are somewhat light on research. They provide numbers for the number of people reached by their programs, but to my knowledge there isn't any cost-effectiveness analysis. +1 that we need more research!

Thanks! I completely understand... putting these systems in place can be time-consuming, and the regulations differ for each country.

I hope you'll find great US/Canada candidates!

PS, but only tangentially related: I've recently documented the situation of someone working in Germany for an international organization, at

This sounds interesting, thanks for posting!

I noted that the application is open to candidates in the US or Canada. Is that a strict requirement, or could you make exceptions?

Here are some reasons why I think that units of ~100 households are ideal. The post itself has more examples.

  • It's best for detailed planning. There is a type of humanitarian/development work that tries to reach every household in a region. Think vitamin A supplementation, vaccination programs, bednet distributions, cash transfers, ... For these, one typically needs logistics per settlement, such as a contact person/agent/community health worker, some means of transportation, a specific amount of bednets/simcards/..., etc.

    Of course, the higher levels of the location hierarchy (health areas, counties, districts, ...) are also needed. But these are often not sufficient for planning. Also note that some programs use other units of planning altogether (e.g., schools or health centers), but the settlement is common.

  • It's great for monitoring. The interventions mentioned above typically want to reach 100% settlement coverage. It makes sense to monitor things at that level, i.e., ensure that each settlement is reached.

  • It's great for research. Many organizations use household sampling surveys. These are typically clustered, which means that researchers select a given number of "enumeration units", and then sample a fixed number of households in each unit. Ideally, these enumeration units have roughly even size, clear and well-understood boundaries, and known population counts. The type of locations that I'm aiming for would make good enumeration units.

  • This type of place name is used and known. For example, people in the region will know where "Kalamu" is. There will likely be a natural contact person, such as a village chief. There will be a road that leads there and a way to obtain transportation. One can ask questions like "is there cellphone coverage in Kalamu" and get a good answer. In the majority of cases, a place name is a well-understood, unambiguous and meaningful concept.

The final reason is about data availability: settlement names are usually the most detailed names available, and their names are reasonably stable and accepted. The data exists, we only need to collect and aggregate and publish it. In contrast, streets or buildings often don't have names, so we can't easily have more fine-grained data than place names. Plus, there are some solutions like Plus Codes for situations where address-like data are preferred.

Thanks! This seems very relevant. I will try to contact the team.

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