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Points of Clarity | How Does Cash Assistance Work?

April 10, 20241:12

Around the world, approximately 690 million people still live below the international poverty line of $2.15 a day. In this Point of Clarity, GiveDirectly Senior Advisor Rory Stewart joins us to discuss how cash-based assistance—the direct transfer of cash to families in need—can help to end extreme poverty.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    Sending cash directly to the world's poorest households works because we've discovered that poor people know more, care more, and can do more, often than international NGOs. And that's in very simple ways. It's often that they have the knowledge already. But they're simply lacking the cash, for example, to get a business off the ground. Or it's about understanding that individual needs are very different.

    So within one community, one person could be trying to fix their roof, another person could be trying to get a bakery off the ground. Another person could be trying to invest in a motorbike or get their child into school. And cash allows that flexibility. How it works. Well, there's been a transformation now with the development of mobile money in Africa, which now means that a simple phone costing 6 or 7 dollars in the hands of somebody living in poverty can allow them to receive the money very efficiently with no people in the way, no middle people in the way, and allows that expenditure to be monitored and overseen.


Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart

GiveDirectly Senior Advisor