Ebay’s Founder Has Backed A Charity That Wants To Give Free Money To Some Kenyans

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You might have heard of Ebay, the online ecommerce company that allows people to sell stuff via the Internet. The company was founded by the now billionaire Pierre Omidyar who also started his own philanthropy called Omidyar Network way back in 2004.

Omidyar Network is backing an interesting experiment in Kenya based on the idea of a universal basic income. The idea is that people will receive money with no strings attached so that they can cover basic needs and it is guaranteed for the recipients’ lifetimes.

Omidyar Network says that they have invested in GiveDirectly, an organization that deals in this field of unconditional cash transfers. According to Business Insider, they have invested $493,000 to the cause. GiveDirectly has raised over $23M for this cause which is 79% of their target amount.

The initiative by GiveDirectly is apparently their most ambitious experiment which is being done in rural Kenya to 26,000 people in 200 villages. 40 villages will receive $0.75 per adult per day for 12 years (long term), 80 villages will receive the amounts but only for 2 years(short term) and 80 villages will receive the lump sum payment which is equivalent to the short term value. Of course there is need for a control group where 100 villages will not receive cash transfers. They have already started the cash transfers on one village in Kenya.

Apparently they have done research which shows that this system works as shown in this post. We will not have to wait for 12 years to see the outcome since they say they will have results of short term decisions in the first 2 years.

This is an interesting experiment that is being conducted in the country and i’m curious about the results. Kenya is not the first country where the basic income experiments have done as it has been announced in Canada, Finland, US and the Netherlands and has drawn interest in countries like India, New Zealand.France, Switzerland, Namibia, Scotland and Germany.

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