For Second Year in a Row, New Incentives is on GiveWell’s Top Charity List
December 1, 2021
New Incentives, an evidence- and data-driven non-profit organization that saves lives by increasing immunization rates in North West, Nigeria, has been named a “top charity” for the second year in a row by GiveWell. GiveWell, which is a non-profit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis, is widely recognized as one of the most rigorous and thoughtful charity evaluators, spending over 20,000 hours each year conducting in-depth research to identify the most outstanding giving opportunities for donors. See GiveWell's recommendations for giving in 2021 here. Cited as an outstanding giving opportunity that does remarkable good per dollar, New Incentives is one of just nine organizations that GiveWell has identified as a top charity in 2021.
Svetha Janumpalli, Founder and CEO of New Incentives, explained what GiveWell’s continued support means for the organization: "We are thrilled to be recommended as a GiveWell top charity for the second year in a row. Over the last year, New Incentives has grown from operating the cash incentives for childhood vaccinations program at 98 clinics to over 880 clinics. We have also developed new capabilities, including rigorous measurement of immunization coverage to evaluate our impact over time. We are looking forward to increasing our capacity to scale and reaching millions of infants in the coming years."
In Nigeria, two out of every five deaths of children under the age of five are from vaccine-preventable diseases, and it is estimated that only one quarter of all infants in the areas where New Incentives serves are fully vaccinated. New Incentives’ program—called “All Babies”—aims to increase immunization rates and decrease childhood deaths in Nigeria by providing five small cash incentives totalling ~US$11 to caregivers who have their child vaccinated for free at a local health clinic or outreach session. Results from a randomized controlled trial of New Incentives’ All Babies program demonstrated that modest cash incentives given to caregivers who vaccinate their children, coupled with awareness creation and vaccine stock management, doubled the proportion of babies who were fully vaccinated (IDinsight, 2020).
Since 2016, NI has provided over 1.4 million cash transfers after verification of required vaccines. The vaccinations, which are administered over the course of five clinic visits in the first year of an infant’s life, protect them from life-threatening diseases, including tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and measles.
The All Babies program is conducted with the approval of and in close collaboration with the Governments of Katsina, Zamfara, and Jigawa in North West, Nigeria, while partnering with the State Primary Health Care Development Agencies and State Ministries of Health. At the national level in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office, and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning are primary partners. The North West region of Nigeria, where the program operates, has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. As a demand-side intervention, cash incentives complement existing campaigns, outreach, awareness creation, community follow-up, and traditional leader engagement, and provide cash directly to families where it can be used to offset transportation costs, food, and lost wages.
At a joint meeting of New Incentives stakeholders in May 2021, the Honorable Yakubu Nuhu Danja, Katsina State’s Commissioner of Health, applauded New Incentives’ positive impact in his state, which has a very high rate of child mortality: “As a result of the incentives being given to women in the form of conditional cash transfer, there has been a 30% increase in the rate at which women seek for immunization for their children as well as seek for antenatal care services.” He emphasized the need to continue to sustain New Incentives’ program.
Since first obtaining GiveWell’s top charity designation in November 2020, New Incentives has embarked on an ambitious expansion of services, increasing the number of clinics participating in the program eight-fold (with more scheduled to join in 2022) and conducting extensive surveys to identify new areas for expansion.
About New Incentives and the All Babies program:
New Incentives was founded in 2011 to identify the most impactful and cost-effective ways to save lives. The organization explored several models and interventions, with a focus on conditional cash transfers, given strong evidence on their effectiveness. By 2016, they had developed the All Babies program, which GiveWell has now recognized as one of an elite group of charities that saves the most lives per dollar. In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative.
The program consists of three main components: 1) Awareness creation and sensitization about the importance of vaccinations and the existence of the incentives program; 2) Identifying and addressing bottlenecks in the vaccine supply chain; and 3) Disbursing small cash incentives to caregivers of infants who have received appropriate vaccinations. Caregivers can receive up to US$11 over the course of five clinic visits.
GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of their analysis to help donors decide where to give. Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, GiveWell conducts in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, they focus on the few charities that stand out most (by their criteria) in order to find and confidently recommend high-impact giving opportunities (their list of top charities).