The Solution

GiveDirectly provides unconditional cash transfers using cell phone technology to some of the poorest people in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. These direct cash transfers allow families to buy much-needed food and shelter, educate their children, and start small businesses.

GiveDirectly uses national data and door-to-door surveys to seek out the poorest households to receive transfers. Households are selected using criteria that vary by region — including a range of factors like housing materials, assets, vulnerable recipient status, and other criteria. Selected households are provided with SIM cards if they do not have one. GiveDirectly then transfers $1,000 to the family in installments over several months using a mobile payment system, and the recipients are free to use the money however they need to.

GiveDirectly is also currently launching a historic initiative on the efficacy of Universal Basic Income, scientifically testing a program of providing regular cash payments to thousands of extremely poor households in East Africa for more than ten years.