New Incentives, an innovative nonprofit organization that saves children’s lives by increasing immunization rates in North West, Nigeria, has been named a new 2020 “top charity” by GiveWell, an Oakland-based organization that rigorously researches and evaluates charities to find outstanding giving opportunities that do the most good per dollar. New Incentives is the only new organization to be added to the list this year. See GiveWell's recommendations for giving in 2020 here.
New Incentives’ program – called “All Babies” – provides conditional cash transfers for life-saving childhood immunizations. The organization offers small incentives to caregivers who bring their infants for routine vaccinations, which are provided at government clinics free of charge. These vaccinations protect infants from potentially life-threatening diseases, including tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and measles.
The All Babies program is implemented in close collaboration with State Governments in Jigawa, Katsina, and Zamfara States in North West, Nigeria. In Nigeria, 40% of under-five deaths are from vaccine-preventable diseases. The North West region of Nigeria, where the program operates, has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. It is estimated that only one-quarter of children in this region are fully immunized.
“The State Primary Care Agency now has an evidence-based strategy that works and is available for consideration in further improving immunization coverage and preventing vaccine preventable diseases,” said Dr. Nafisa Sani Nass, the Director of Primary Health Care at the Katsina State Primary Health Care Development Agency. “The NI-ABAE for RI program is a valid intervention.”
GiveWell 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. Based on GiveWell’s recommendation, Open Philanthropy plans to award $16.8 million to New Incentives to expand its work. With these funds, the organization plans to scale to reach over 600,000 infants in North West Nigeria over the next three years.
Svetha Janumpalli, Founder and CEO of New Incentives, explained what the top charity designation and grant award means for her team: “We are driven by a desire to do as much good as we can – to maximize our impact and deliver the most good per charitable dollar. We see GiveWell’s top charities as exemplars of these values, and building a program that merited inclusion on the list has been a driving force for us. We are thrilled to be recognized on the 2020 top charity list, and we are more motivated than ever to scale the impact of our work. Thanks to the generosity of Open Philanthropy, we will be able to reach over half a million children over the next three years.”
The results of a recent randomized controlled trial, which was funded by Open Philanthropy through the GiveWell Incubation Grant program, which supports the development of future GiveWell top charities, showed that the program has a substantial, positive impact on vaccination coverage, increasing the use of incentivized vaccines by up to 21 percentage points. Children in areas served by the program were 27 percentage points more likely to be fully immunized.
New Incentives was founded in 2011 to promote the use of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs), an evidence-based approach for improving health outcomes in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). In a quest to identify the most impactful and cost-effective application of CCTs to save lives, the organization explored several models and interventions. By 2016, they had developed the Conditional Cash Transfers for Routine Immunization 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 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 cash transfers to caregivers of infants who have received appropriate vaccinations. Caregivers can receive up to $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).
Open Philanthropy’s mission is to give as effectively as it can and share its findings openly so that anyone can build on its work. Through research and grantmaking, it hopes to learn how to make philanthropy go especially far in terms of improving lives. Open Philanthropy identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana.
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