15 February 2012

Ending world hunger

Some 850 million people (one in eight of the world's population) go to bed hungry every night. Many of them are children, for whom early hunger leaves a lifelong legacy of cognitive and physical impairment. The human and economic waste is horrifying ... 
Damaged bodies and brains are a moral scandal and a tragic waste of economic potential. That hunger exists at all shows the urgency of redistributing income and assets to achieve a fairer world. Providing the additional calories needed by the 13% of the world's population facing hunger would require just 1% of the current global food supply. That that redistribution has not already taken place is truly something to be ashamed of.
The good news is that there's no need to just sit around railing against the system - YOU can make a real difference right now - there is data, there is evidence, there are really good reliable opportunities for you to totally change someone's life. Or rather, lots of people's lives. And for a sneaky selfish bonus, giving money away makes you happier. Go to Givewell, check out the analysis, and make a donation. 


Matt said...

Except none of Givewell's top rated charities deal with hunger directly. Most of the health charities aren't directly involved with nutritional intervention (and the point of many of the recent articles on the Save the Children report is that we're at the point of diminishing returns with non-nutritional health interventions). Sure, there's evidence that the cash transfer programs might help for hunger, but this isn't really pointed to in Givewell's main recommendation page. 

This is another case where we have evidence that some stuff works, but we haven't figured out everything that works, ergo we're going to hit diminishing returns on things much, much quicker. 

rovingbandit said...

Shhh (slight sleight of hand there. Was hoping noone would notice. Forgot that you always notice my mistakes). I would say that GiveDirectly's cash transfers almost certainly have an impact on nutrition. 

Give Well also think a lot about "room for more funding" and have shifted their recommendation away from Village Reach because they think this opportunity has been exhausted for now, so diminishing returns should not be an argument for not taking the opportunities which exist as quickly as possible. 

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