How GiveDirectly Is Changing People's Lives

Meet our charity partner for Goal 1: No Poverty

This month we’re focusing on Goal 1: No Poverty, and we wanted to introduce you to our charity partner for this Goal, GiveDirectly. Using a ‘recipient first’ model, this organisation empowers the poor by allowing them to make decisions about how they spend their aid money and accelerate their journey towards self-sufficiency. 

The charity’s model is to transfer money directly to extremely poor people by locating communities in need in Africa and sending representatives door-to-door to enroll eligible recipients. Recipients are then electronically sent around USD 1,000 - roughly a typical household budget for one year. 

Families are able to report online how they have spent their money, and the really great thing is that you can read their stories in real time on the GiveDirectly website. Here, we meet Sarah, a 28 year-old from Kenya who has benefitted from ten GiveDirectly payments so far. 

In 2015, Sarah’s husband married a second woman, and he has since not contributed to the running of the household, which has made it difficult for Sarah to support her children. “School fees have been the biggest burden in my marriage life. I do not have a stable source of income just like my husband,” she writes on the GiveDirectly website. “The little income we get from our farm by selling our produce has never been sufficient for our daily needs. So many times we had to take part of our harvest to school because we were not able to raise money to pay school fees. This is the reason my children do not even have good school uniforms. With the transfers, I have been able to reduce the balance in school and I know by the end of this year, I will have cleared the whole balance.” 

One of the biggest differences the GiveDirectly payments have made to Sarah is improving the lighting in her house. “I recently bought a solar lighting system which has relieved me from buying kerosene on a daily basis hence reduced my daily expenditure. The solar light is also very bright and makes it easy for my children to read and do their homework at night and produces no harmful smoke as the kerosene lantern that I used before.” She has bought the lighting system on credit, and plans to use her monthly GiveDirectly transfers to pay it off. “I will use the transfers received in the next four months to clear the payment on the solar light before I can focus on other plans I have of purchasing a goat.” 

And it’s not just the physical things in Sarah’s life that have changed. “Since I started receiving the transfers, I have been feeling more independent than before. I do not go borrowing every time I have a problem and I don't get support on everything from my husband. Since I did not have any source of income, I literally had to depend on my husband which is not the case now. I can plan and budget well with my money. This is a great improvement in my life.”