GiveWell’s Recent Visit to Burkina Faso

Link post

GiveWell staff re­cently vis­ited Burk­ina Faso to meet with staff of one of our top char­i­ties, Malaria Con­sor­tium’s sea­sonal malaria chemo­pre­ven­tion (SMC) pro­gram, and ob­serve its work. Through its SMC pro­gram, Malaria Con­sor­tium dis­tributes pre­ven­ta­tive anti-malar­ial med­i­ca­tion at a time of year when it is needed most.

As I [Olivia Larsen] write be­low, GiveWell donors have di­rected more than $37 mil­lion to Malaria Con­sor­tium over the last 18 months at our recom­men­da­tion. We ex­pect that this will provide pre­ven­ta­tive treat­ments to 4.8 mil­lion chil­dren and avert over 16,000 deaths. We’re so ap­pre­ci­a­tive of the sup­port of our com­mu­nity in en­abling this tremen­dous im­pact.

We origi­nally sent a ver­sion of the fol­low­ing mes­sage to sup­port­ers of Malaria Con­sor­tium’s SMC pro­gram in late Au­gust. We re­ceived pos­i­tive feed­back on this mes­sage and de­cided to share it more broadly on our blog. We plan to pub­lish more in­for­ma­tion about the 2019 Burk­ina Faso site visit in the fu­ture.


Hello from Burk­ina Faso!

I’m here on a site visit of Malaria Con­sor­tium, one of our recom­mended char­i­ties, to see its malaria pre­ven­tion pro­gram in ac­tion.

This visit helped me re­late more deeply to the pro­gram by get­ting to know some of the peo­ple who run it and some of the peo­ple who benefit from it. I wanted to share my ex­pe­rience with you.

It’s cur­rently the rainy sea­son, which means that chil­dren in Burk­ina Faso are at a higher risk of con­tract­ing malaria. To­day, I shad­owed Abibata and Die­donne, two com­mu­nity dis­trib­u­tors, as they vis­ited house­holds to ad­minister pre­ven­ta­tive anti-malar­ial med­i­ca­tion to ev­ery child they could find be­tween 3 months and 5 years of age.


This is a three-day course of med­i­ca­tion that will be dis­solved in wa­ter and given to chil­dren un­der five.


In my role at GiveWell, I speak with donors al­most daily to de­scribe this pro­gram and why we think it is effec­tive. I know the re­search back-to-front and un­der­stand the im­pact each dol­lar can have when di­rected to Malaria Con­sor­tium. But see­ing the pro­gram be­ing im­ple­mented made it more tan­gible. I saw Abibata and Die­donne go­ing door-to-door helping coax chil­dren into tak­ing the bit­ter medicine and teach­ing care­givers how to ad­minister it. This made me feel like I had a closer con­nec­tion to peo­ple on the other side of GiveWell’s anal­y­sis—peo­ple go­ing about their daily lives, paus­ing briefly to re­ceive a sim­ple spoon­ful of med­i­ca­tion that may pre­vent them from get­ting very sick.

GiveWell and Malaria Con­sor­tium staff mem­bers af­ter meet­ing to dis­cuss their Burk­ina Faso pro­gram. I’m the one on the right side of the front row!


And when my two hours of shad­ow­ing were up and we had offered medicine to our tenth child, I felt a real sense of pride in our donor com­mu­nity. GiveWell donors have given more than $37 mil­lion to Malaria Con­sor­tium over the last 18 months. To­gether, we ex­pect that this will provide pre­ven­ta­tive treat­ments to 4.8 mil­lion chil­dren over the course of the high malaria sea­son and avert over 16,000 deaths. Work­ing with a com­mu­nity of so many donors hav­ing so much im­pact is in­spiring. At its heart, giv­ing is about helping oth­ers—and with­out GiveWell’s sup­port­ers, we would not be able to sup­port Malaria Con­sor­tium’s work to provide sim­ple, life­sav­ing med­i­ca­tion to chil­dren who need it.

Thank you. We’re so grate­ful to have you by our side.

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