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GiveWell is a respected authority in evaluating the most cost-effective giving opportunities. Used by foundations and donors, GiveWell looks for programs that have been studied rigorously and repeatedly, are transparent about their operations and are underfunded. Then it does extensive analysis to recommend the opportunities that it believes will have the biggest impact. Its recommendations are focused on serving the global poor because its staff believes that’s how the most lives can be changed for the money spent.

Here are two organizations that GiveWell recommends:

  • Helen Keller International’s (HKI) Vitamin A Supplementation program: This program reduces child mortality, saves and improves vision, and combats malnutrition by providing needed vitamin A supplements. HKI’s program reaches millions of children in thirteen African countries. GiveWell estimates that $1.10 is the cost for HKI to deliver a Vitamin A supplement, and their estimate is that on average, $3,500 donated to HKI will save a child’s life.
  • Malaria Consortium
    This program provides preventive malaria drugs to children in Africa. GiveWell’s estimate is that, on average, donating $5,000 will save a life.

GiveWell’s numbers incorporate some, but not all, of the other benefits the charities provide with our donations. For example, HKI’s vitamin A supplements not only reduce mortality but also help prevent blindness, anemia, and impaired growth and development of children. The analysis also doesn’t take into account the benefits of polio vaccinations, deworming and “mop-up” immunizations for kids who missed scheduled vaccinations that occur alongside the supplement distribution.

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