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Charities worthy of special recognition

This is an archived page. For our most recent information on the charities discussed see our full list of charities considered.

Organizations on this page do not rate well enough on our criteria to merit our strong confidence and recommendations, but display a prominent and unusual commitment to self-evaluation and/or transparency. While we encourage donors to support our top-rated charities, we also want to highlight other organizations for further research, if they fit more closely with one's personal giving priorities.

Stands out for publishing monitoring and evaluation reports

AMREF

AMREF works to improve access to health care in Africa through a wide variety of programs such as training health care providers, providing health education, improving access to water and sanitation, and providing loans and business training to women with HIV/AIDS.1

AMREF publishes an Annual Programme Report that offers a comprehensive review of its year's activities, providing (a) an overview of each project; (b) its cost; and (c) the titles of evaluation reports for each project.2 Interested donors may download these reports at AMREF's publications page.3

Publicly publishing reports such as these is extremely rare among the developing world charities we've reviewed, and we recognize AMREF for its commitment to monitoring and evaluation. However, the details in this report did not meet our criteria for proven impact, and we therefore did not proceed further with AMREF.

CARE

CARE implements a highly diverse set of development-related programs.4

Standing out from many similar charities we reviewed, CARE publicly publishes a large project-by-project database with links to project-level evaluations.5 CARE also undertook a "meta-evaluations," reviews of project-level evaluations.6

Publishing reports such as these is extremely rare among developing-world charities we've reviewed, and we recognize CARE for its commitment to monitoring and evaluation. However, the details in this report did not meet our criteria for proven impact, and we therefore did not proceed further with CARE.

Stands out for assessing its impact through a high-quality evaluation in progress

(For more on our definition of high-quality, see our standards of evidence.)

Living Goods

Living Goods recruits women to serve as community health promoters (CHPs) who go door-to-door selling basic, health-promoting goods including oral rehydration salts, iodized salt, and deworming medication (see our report on the deworming intervention).7

Living Goods is working with the Poverty Action Lab to perform a rigorous evaluation of its program.8 The evaluation is currently ongoing; data on impact are not available yet, but we are looking forward to the results of the evaluation and will revisit our analysis of Living Goods when it is published.

Additional information submitted by Living Goods to GiveWell about its operations and activities is available in the sources section below.

The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project's "epicenter strategy" mobilizes villages to take control of their development and hosts several empowerment and social capital programs, such as literacy classes, women's empowerment, HIV awareness and agricultural training.9 Specifically, The Hunger Project establishes a building for each group of villages which houses "health clinics, a microfinance center, a library, food banks and classrooms."10

The Hunger Project is working with Innovators for Poverty Action to perform a rigorous evaluation of its program.11 The evaluation is currently ongoing; data on impact are not available yet, but we are looking forward to the results of the evaluation and will revisit our analysis of The Hunger Project when it is published.

Stands out for publishing a negative review of a program

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders provided medical care to people in "caught in crisis."12 Doctors Without Borders stands out for publicly published a negative review of a program it implemented.13

The summary states:

[Doctors Without Borders] started the Nujiang TB assistance program in March 1999, after signing a Memorandum of understanding with the Nujiang Prefecture Health Bureau and the Public Health Bureau's in Fugong and Gongshan Counties. The Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) WHO TB control guidelines were followed. After the initial set-up phase of nine months, enrollment of patients started in January 2000. In April 2000 low cure rates (less than 60%) were registered which led to a mid-term evaluation of the program under supervision of Professor Zhao Fengzeng in August 2000. Professor Zhao and his team recommended increasing the patient detection rate, to strengthen DOTS and the laboratory work, to consolidate the training and (implicitly) to cooperate well with county governors and PHB directors. [Doctors Without Borders] wrote a response document to the evaluation report, revised the TB control guidelines, organized refresher training together with PHB and implemented new working methods from February 2001 onwards. In June 2001 the [Doctors Without Borders]-H Health Advisor visited the project and came to the conclusion that these changes had had little impact on the treatment outcomes. In August the TB advisor of [Doctors Without Borders]-H performed a technical evaluation and recommended to stop enrolment of patients.

In our experience, charities are very rarely willing to share evidence of disappointing impact. We believe that any charity that does so is being unusually honest about the challenges of international aid, and unusually accountable to donors. We expect that charities capable of spotting, documenting and sharing disappointing results are better positioned to improve our time.

Sources

  • 1.

    • AMREF, "Our Work in Ethiopia."
    • AMREF, "Our Work in Kenya."
    • AMREF, "Our Work in South Africa."
    • AMREF, "Our Work in Southern Sudan."
    • AMREF, "Our Work in Tanzania."
    • AMREF, "Our Work in Uganda."
  • 2.

    AMREF, "Annual Program Report (2007)."

  • 3.

    AMREF, "Annual & Financial Reports."

  • 4.

    CARE, "What We Do."

  • 5.

    CARE, "Evaluation Electronic Library."

  • 6.

    Goldenberg 2000 and 2002, Russon 2004 and Rugh 2006.

  • 7.
    • Living Goods, "The Living Goods Model."
    • Living Goods, "Products and Pricing."
  • 8.

    Poverty Action Lab, "Promoting Community Health in Uganda."

  • 9.

    Innovators for Poverty Action, "Evaluating an Epicenter Scale-Up Strategy in Ghana."

  • 10.

    Innovators for Poverty Action, "Evaluating an Epicenter Scale-Up Strategy in Ghana."

  • 11.

    Innovators for Poverty Action, "Evaluating an Epicenter Scale-Up Strategy in Ghana."

  • 12.

    Doctors Without Borders, "Activities."

  • 13.

    Doctors Without Borders, "China Tuberculosis Assistance Project: End of Evaluation Report (2002)," Pg 2.

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