The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US government’s main foreign aid organization, has started doing something radical. It has begun testing programs it runs in Africa, and seeing if they actually do any more good than just handing out cash. And with the first such evaluation now in, the answer seems to be that they’d be better off giving away cash.
And with the first such evaluation now in, the answer seems to be that they’d be better off giving away cash.
The evaluation concerns a program in Rwanda called Gikuriro. Implemented by Catholic Relief Services, a nonprofit charity, the program is meant to teach good nutrition and hygiene habits to new mothers through initiatives like “village nutrition schools” and the distribution of small livestock and seeds; it also promotes the creation of small community groups to encourage savings.
It’s sort of a grab-bag of things that sound nice: nutritious food sounds nice, savings sound nice, giving out livestock sounds nice, so why not combine them into one nice-sounding program?
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