Charity Science: Health - A New Direct Poverty Charity Founded on EA Principles

After 6 months of research, primarily based on GiveWell’s list of charities they wish existed, we’re happy to announce the launching of Charity Science: Health. It is a direct poverty charity that will increase vaccination rates in India using phone-based reminders. We think it has the potential in the long term to be competitive with GiveWell recommended charities because it is:

  • Evidence-based. There are four RCTs and two related Cochrane reviews demonstrating an increase of vaccination rate of 8.7-17.6 percentage points. There were two additional pilot RCTs which found no statistically significant effects, but these pilots were underpowered and the full studies are yet to be published, so could yet show positive results.
  • Cost-effective. Our calculations suggest that vaccine reminders have similar cost-effectiveness to current GiveWell recommended charities. Vaccines are already very cost-effective, and given the extremely small cost of text messages and the decently large effect size, the cost per life saved is very low.  Naturally, we do not take these calculations literally and our analysis is still incomplete because there are many figures, such as the impact of vaccination delays or number acquisition costs, that are yet unknown. Nevertheless, as one factor among many other promising ones, the results are exciting.
  • Flexible. It has a lot of room to expand into other phone-based interventions which also have evidence supporting its effectiveness, such as educating women on the benefits of breastfeeding or reminding them that vitamin A supplementations will be distributed for their children soon.

Currently we are:

  • Hiring. We are looking for another Associate Project Director to help with high level strategizing and implementation. We are also looking for a Field Officer who could help with on-the-ground work in India.
  • Looking for volunteers and advisors. We need more talent! If you have spare time and you’re able to commit to a certain amount of time per week, we’d love to hear from you.

If you are interested in being a part of the beginning of something that could be big, please contact us at joey@charityscience.com. You can read more about CS: Health in our proposal and on our website.


If you would like to make a donation, thank you! Fortunately, some generous donors have already filled our room for more funding for the following year. Please keep us in mind for next year, and in the meantime, we highly recommend donating to GiveWell recommended charities.

Comments (5)

Comment author: Gregory_Lewis 05 August 2016 05:13:38PM 2 points [-]

I work as a public health doctor. Let me know if I can provide helpful advice or support.

Comment author: vipulnaik 04 August 2016 08:09:12PM *  1 point [-]

Sounds like a pretty good thesis and execution plan!

How are you using the phrase "direct poverty charity"? It's not clear to me that this has direct bearing on poverty, except insofar as a large fraction of the target audience comprises poor people. But it's not poverty-focused per se.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 04 August 2016 09:04:03PM 5 points [-]

My understanding is that "direct" and "poverty" are being used as loose EA terms, with "direct" distinguishing from indirect approaches like fundraising and other meta-work and "poverty" distinguishing from other common EA causes like animal welfare, x-risk, etc.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 04 August 2016 02:05:44AM 1 point [-]

Excited to see the outcome of the extensive research that Charity Science did to determine the shape of this new charity! Will be looking forward to updates, and beat of luck!

Comment author: TrentonWhitlock 03 March 2017 11:56:03AM -1 points [-]

Congrats for the direct Charity Science and this is something different from other charity houses. Currently, I am a part of Jewish foundation https://www.regionalbikurcholim.org/ and soon I will be donating for your charity too. It’s a great way for us to make people aware of vaccination and other small things. We should raise our hand and funds for charity and donations to make our world better.