WATCH: Is Giving Directly to the Poor a Good Idea?

GiveDirectly co-founder on the value of charitable cash transfers.


"Is Giving Money Directly to the Poor a Good Idea?"

About 8 minutes. Produced by Amanda Winkler and Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Jim Epstein and Brett Crudgington.

Original release date was April 27, 2015 and the original writeup is below.

"No one person has the same goal or aspiration," says Paul Niehaus, President and Co-founder of GiveDirectly, "And what you get when you give people money and let them use it is this real rich human experience where everyone does something a bit different."

GiveDirectly is changing the way people think about charity. The non-profit was founded in 2008 and is designed to help people living in extreme poverty through cash transfers via mobile phones. The recipients use their mobile phones to receive the money, which they are allowed to spend as they wish. This philosophy varies greatly from traditional third party charities which largely decide how a recipient should spend the money. 

"Something important happened in development around 2000, which is we decided to scientific experimental testing," explains Niehaus. "When you start doing science, when you put two things head-to-head and ask 'what's the impact?' there are surprises. Cash transfer, which is literally just giving money to poor people, has turned out to be one of those really big positive surprises."