A study in Rwanda finds healthier children in families receiving large cash grants, rather than clean water, livestock, textbooks, or nutritional supplements.
TRADITIONAL INTERNATIONAL AID programs typically offer some combination of clean water, livestock, textbooks, and nutritional supplements. A new study funded by Google.org and the US Agency for International Development asks whether the poor would benefit more if they were given cash and free to spend the money as they see fit.
A number of studies on unconditional cash transfers are underway, but the government agency’s involvement demonstrates a willingness to question whether the status quo is cost effective, says Michael Faye, cofounder and director of the US-based nonprofit GiveDirectly, which distributed the mobile cash in 248 villages in Rwanda, where the study took place…
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