GiveDirectly provides no-strings-attached cash transfers to the world’s most vulnerable. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GiveDirectly will design and deploy a breakthrough, fully remote model of humanitarian relief. They will provide unconditional cash transfers to more than 300,000 people in Togo and Kenya over 12 months, helping families safely address their immediate needs, while demonstrating the potential of data-informed crisis relief to improve the scale and effectiveness of future humanitarian responses.
Main photo credit: GiveDirectly was able to quickly get emergency cash relief to hundreds of thousands of people, without ever stepping foot on the ground. / Shutterstock
GiveDirectly partnered with the government of Togo to quickly launch a remote, national COVID cash response. The program has expanded from an initial pilot of 3,000 people to providing a cohort of 60,000 people with mobile payments.
In Kenya, GiveDirectly has provided cash transfers to more than 106,000 people, including about 10 percent of all youth living in Nairobi’s slums. Young people in Kenya have been particularly hard hit by COVID: more than half report living on less than $1.40 a week.
Insights show that the majority of GiveDirectly recipients use transfer funding to buy food and pay rent. Recipients are six times more likely to be able to meet their needs than before transfers began, and a third report that they now have more than ten days worth of savings. Before transfers began, only five percent had that much in savings.
With GiveDirectly now fielding interest for the model from countries like Nigeria and Bangladesh, this work is serving as a blueprint for future disaster response — one that will allow governments and nonprofits to safely get resources to citizens immediately after a crisis hits.
“There was a time when I was jobless and I did not have enough money to pay my rent. The landlord threw me out, and I was left homeless for three months. All my belongings were auctioned to cover the arrears I had accumulated. I moved from house to house, seeking shelter. By God’s grace, I got another job and I was able to start again from scratch. The little I get now is barely enough to cover my expenses, let alone provide for my wife, who is expecting. So receiving this money will mean financial stability for me. I will be able to pay my rent, buy food and save the remaining amount for my wife’s medical bills.”
- Collins, Kenya
With Audacious support, we’re using new technology — including machine learning algorithms that identify people in need based on mobile phone data — to deliver cash remotely and at scale. This model will not only help hundreds of thousands of people get through the pandemic but will also provide a blueprint for humanitarian response — helping governments and nonprofits build their communities’ resilience to future disasters.”