How to Really Help the Poor

Christianity Today posted on their website an interesting article on helping the poor. Bruce Wydick, himself an economist, polled other development economists asking them to “rate from 0-10 some of the most common poverty interventions to which ordinary people donate their money in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness per donated dollar.” Sixteen responded and their ratings showed remarkable consensus.

So what are the best ways to help the poor in developing countries?
1. Get clean water to rural villages. (Rating: 8.3)
2. Fund de-worming treatments for children. (Rating 7.8)
3. Provide mosquito nets (Rating: 7.3)
4. Sponsor a child (6.9)
5. Give wood burning stove. (Rating 6.0)
6. Give a microfinance loan. (Rating 4.2)
7. Fund reparative surgeries. (Rating 3.9)
8. Donate a small farm animal. (3.8)
9. Drink fair-trade coffee. (Rating 1.9)
10. Give a kid a laptop. (Rating 1.8)

One of the author’s takeaways is that there is “little relationship (perhaps even a negative one) between marketing hype and program effectiveness.”

Please read the entire article to see what the experts said were the strengths and weaknesses of each of the above strategies. As Christians we must be both generous and smart.

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