International Rescue Committee (IRC) — Treatment of Malnutrition (October 2021)

Note: This page summarizes the rationale behind GiveWell grants to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This page discusses our rationale at the time we recommended the grants. IRC staff reviewed this page prior to publication.

Published: March 2024

In October 2021, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) received a GiveWell Incubation Grant1 of $42,000 to explore opportunities for expanding or supplementing its current portfolio of malnutrition treatment programming in up to six countries.

We recommended this grant because we think malnutrition treatment interventions are promising. This grant was part of our investigation into whether there are opportunities to fund malnutrition treatment programming.

We guessed, based on our initial engagement with the IRC, that it would be an important partner in implementing cost-effective malnutrition treatment programming.

The grant

This grant was intended to pay for country technical staff time spent collecting information to inform our cost-effectiveness analysis of the IRC's malnutrition treatment programming.


At the time the grant was recommended, we thought this grant would enable GiveWell to recommend up to $20 million to IRC's malnutrition programming that we estimated to be above our cost-effectiveness threshold.2 We expected to do this before the end of January 2022. (Publishing note: We did not end up realizing this forecast.)

Our process

GiveWell recommended this grant via our policy for small discretionary grantmaking, following regular conversations with the IRC. As a small discretionary grant, this funding opportunity did not receive the same review as larger grants we recommend. Instead, we more minimally evaluated the case for the grant and any potential risks or downsides.

  • 1

    We formerly used the name "Incubation Grant" to refer to many of our grants to organizations that are not Top Charities. We discontinued this name in May 2022 to better reflect that these grants are not exclusively used to incubate early-stage organizations.

  • 2

    At the time we recommended the grant, we were primarily looking to recommend grants that we estimated to be 8 or more times as cost-effective as GiveDirectly's unconditional cash transfer program, and were willing to consider recommending a limited amount of funding to grants that are between 5 and 8 times as cost-effective as GiveDirectly. See GiveWell’s Cost-Effectiveness Analyses webpage for more information about how we use cost-effectiveness estimates in our grantmaking.