Photo by Namnso Ukpanah.

2021 Giving Report

In 2021, I donated €4,000.

This year, I gave away 10% of my net income. Every year, I donate to three cause areas:

  1. 60% to saving lives and improving health outcomes of the world’s poorest.
  2. 20% to finding long-term solutions to global poverty and inequality.
  3. 20% to spreading happiness.

In a year that felt, in many ways, like a carbon copy of 2020, I gave to organizations I’ve supported before:

Against Malaria Foundation    €2,148
StrongMinds €882
J-PAL €882
The Luminos Fund €88

Why Against Malaria Foundation?

AMF has been on GiveWell’s list of most effective charities for years. The organisation provides free mosquito nets in areas affected by malaria at a cost of $2–3 per net. It is estimated that a donation of $4,500 saves a life.

AMF is highly (and demonstrably) cost-effective. In the time of COVID-19, its work is more important than ever, with many government programs suspended and access to nets and medicines disrupted. My donation will fund 1,107 nets, protecting 1,993 people in Nigeria.

Why StrongMinds?

Mental health is chronically neglected throughout the world. Most low- and middle-income countries spend less than $2 per person per year on mental disorder prevention and treatment. On top of that, there is very little evidence on the effectiveness of such treatments. StrongMinds is, as far as I can tell, the only organization whose interventions are rigorously evaluated in the context they work in. Founders Pledge estimates that it costs the organisation $248 to prevent the equivalent of one year of severe major depressive disorder through group therapy to low-income women in Uganda and Zambia.

Why J-PAL?

The mission of J-PAL is to reduce poverty through policy informed by scientific research. Led by two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, J-PAL provides access to well over a thousand randomized evaluations and summarises key findings in policy briefcases and bulletins. When I have a question (say… what’s the most cost-effective way to improve primary school attendance?), J-PAL is the first place I go to.

Why the Luminos Fund?

That’s an easy one — because I believe we are doing something truly impactful. Our vision is of a world where no child is ever denied the chance to learn, and we are only getting started. With close to 260 million children out of school and millions more falling behind as COVID-19 continues to hurt the most vulnerable, education needs radical change. I believe our Second Chance program might be just such a change — bold, impactful, and ready to scale.

This is hard, this year and every year

Every year, I agonise over my giving decisions. Am I donating to causes that are truly important, and to organizations that are truly effective? Are my decisions not overly narrow? There are so many important challenges we are facing every day — surely malaria nets alone won’t address them all.

Education in particular is close to my heart and something I would love to give more to. Today, however, the available evidence favours basic health interventions above all else. There’s so much I — and we all — need to learn.

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Bookworm (but I sometimes go on real adventures) · Obsessive thinker · Inconsistent writer · “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” — Douglas Adams

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Ernesta Orlovaitė

Ernesta Orlovaitė

Bookworm (but I sometimes go on real adventures) · Obsessive thinker · Inconsistent writer · “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” — Douglas Adams

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