We estimate GiveWell donors’ $15.3 million to the Against Malaria Foundation will save over 3,000 lives

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Thanks to our donors, we have dis­bursed $23.3 mil­lion in flex­ible fund­ing to our top char­i­ties this year. This gen­er­ous, flex­ible sup­port is wor­thy of cel­e­bra­tion!

This post fo­cuses on our de­ci­sion to grant $15.3 mil­lion to the Against Malaria Foun­da­tion (AMF), which in­cludes the $11.7 mil­lion that donors gave to “Grants to recom­mended char­i­ties at GiveWell’s dis­cre­tion” in the first half of 2020.[1]

AMF sup­ports the dis­tri­bu­tion of in­sec­ti­cide-treated nets in ar­eas with high rates of malaria. The nets stop mosquitoes from bit­ing and spread­ing the dis­ease. We es­ti­mate our donors’ sup­port for AMF will col­lec­tively save over 3,000 lives, mostly of young chil­dren in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea.[2] Without this grant, we think net dis­tri­bu­tions in DRC and Guinea would have been de­layed.

We be­lieve that AMF was the high­est-im­pact choice for this grant. We chose AMF af­ter as­sess­ing the effect of the COVID-19 pan­demic on our top char­i­ties, the ur­gency of our top char­i­ties’ fund­ing needs, and our es­ti­mates of their im­pact per dol­lar. We’re grate­ful for GiveWell donors’ trust in pro­vid­ing flex­ible fund­ing to fill this need.

Why we chose AMF

We typ­i­cally al­lo­cate flex­ible dona­tions to our top char­i­ties ev­ery quar­ter. How­ever, we de­layed al­lo­cat­ing the dona­tions we re­ceived to “Grants to recom­mended char­i­ties at GiveWell’s dis­cre­tion” in the first quar­ter of 2020. We wanted to bet­ter un­der­stand the im­pact of the grow­ing COVID-19 pan­demic on char­i­ties’ bud­gets and plans be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion about where fund­ing would have the great­est im­pact.

AMF was a top con­tender for re­ceiv­ing this grant be­cause of its high es­ti­mated im­pact per dol­lar. It is con­tin­u­ing its work dur­ing the pan­demic, with some de­lays and mod­ifi­ca­tions.[3] How­ever, we wanted to re­solve a cou­ple open ques­tions about its work be­fore mak­ing a grant.[4]

First, we wanted to make sure that AMF needed ad­di­tional fund­ing. At the end of 2019, it held around $70 mil­lion that was ear­marked for spe­cific dis­tri­bu­tions, but we were un­sure how much of this fund­ing would be for­mally com­mit­ted.[5] As of June 2020, AMF had com­mit­ted nearly all of this fund­ing and held only around $4 mil­lion in un­com­mit­ted funds.[6] Distri­bu­tions AMF hoped to carry out in DRC and Guinea in late 2021 to early 2022 would re­quire sig­nifi­cantly more than $4 mil­lion.[7] There is a strong case the dis­tri­bu­tions would be de­layed with­out this grant, as fund­ing needs to be se­cured well be­fore nets are pro­vided.[8]

Se­cond, we wanted to con­firm that AMF had solid pro­cesses for check­ing that nets reached their in­tended re­cip­i­ents and were in use and in good con­di­tion. We ex­pect strong mon­i­tor­ing from all of our top char­i­ties. We in­ves­ti­gated AMF’s cur­rent mon­i­tor­ing prac­tices in de­tail this year and be­lieve AMF meets our high stan­dards.[9] We plan to share more about this work in the com­ing months.

Other op­tions considered

We con­sid­ered mak­ing grants to Malaria Con­sor­tium’s sea­sonal malaria chemo­pre­ven­tion (SMC) pro­gram and He­len Kel­ler In­ter­na­tional (HKI)’s vi­tamin A sup­ple­men­ta­tion pro­gram, as we es­ti­mated that they were similarly cost-effec­tive to AMF when we be­gan our de­ci­sion­mak­ing pro­cess. How­ever, our in­ves­ti­ga­tion into their cur­rent plans and bud­gets did not turn up ur­gent fund­ing needs. We had di­rected an $8 mil­lion grant to Malaria Con­sor­tium’s SMC pro­gram in June be­cause of its high es­ti­mated cost-effec­tive­ness, and we did not be­lieve that it had ad­di­tional time-sen­si­tive needs fol­low­ing re­ceipt of those funds.[10] We de­cided to wait un­til the end of the year to re­visit mak­ing grants to Malaria Con­sor­tium and HKI.[11]

AMF emerged as our clear choice with its time-sen­si­tive need for fund­ing that we es­ti­mated would save a lot of lives.

Our bot­tom line for donors giv­ing today

Go­ing for­ward, we recom­mend that donors give to the Max­i­mum Im­pact Fund (formerly known as “Grants to recom­mended char­i­ties at GiveWell’s dis­cre­tion”). We will di­rect these funds where we be­lieve they can be used most effec­tively.

We ex­pect the $15.3 mil­lion grant to cover most of AMF’s ur­gent needs. For donors who wish to sup­port a spe­cific char­ity to­day, we recom­mend Malaria Con­sor­tium’s SMC pro­gram. We now model dona­tions there as hav­ing the high­est im­pact among our top char­i­ties.

We ex­pect dona­tions to Malaria Con­sor­tium will sup­port its work in 2022. Pro­vid­ing fund­ing to en­able work in the fu­ture can be a high-im­pact op­tion for donors, and we be­lieve that sup­port­ing Malaria Con­sor­tium to­day is a great choice for donors seek­ing to max­i­mize the good they ac­com­plish per dol­lar donated.

We’re so grate­ful to our com­mu­nity of donors for pro­vid­ing flex­ible fund­ing that will sup­port the dis­tri­bu­tion of nets in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo and Guinea. Thank you!


Sources and foot­notes for this post may be found here.