Throughout this week, Marc Garneau’s Social Justice and Equity Committee has been fundraising for GiveDirectly, a non-profit organization working to combat poverty. It was founded by Paul Niehaus, Michael Faye, Rohit Wanchoo and Jeremy Shapiaro, former economic students at Harvard and M.I.T. GiveDirectly currently focuses on Kenya and Uganda, and aims to help the poor by sending the poor money from donors through electronic payment systems. Typically, they receive $1000 per household.
Conventionally, donors usually give to international groups, who then direct funds through partner organizations that run programs in local communities. However, GiveDirectly believes in an alternative operational model: they give money directly to people in need. This method helps cut minimize hidden costs & operating fees that are commonly associated with donations to partner organizations and local NGOs. GiveDirectly states that 91% of funds go to recipients, and there are few conversion fees and employee salaries; it also states that research has shown that there are no negative side-effects of electronic transfers.
The Social Justice & Equity committee is accepting donations to GiveDirectly in the Cafeteria at spare or in the Galleria at lunch. The fundraiser began 1 March 2015, and will remain until 13 March. Collection will also happen in the SAC office, where there will be a donation box.
Some students who are donating support GiveDirectly’s unique operating system. “It’s a very good way of donating to a good cause…this money will go directly to the family, and allows [families] to think about the necessities they need very badly, and put the money towards that.” says Takhliq Amir, a Grade 12 student who donated to GiveDirectly.
Even small donations will benefit the poor in Kenya and Uganda greatly. Aahan Rashid, a co-organizer of the fundraiser, said that “I urge people to donate whatever they can because the money we give through GiveDirectly will bring practical benefits to many people, [fulfilling] both short term needs and long term development. [It brings] much more benefit than the same amount of cash would bring to any of us.”