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  • Writer's pictureCE Team

Announcing our February-March 2024 Charity Ideas



Join our February-March 2024 Incubation Program to start nonprofits in Mass Media (Global Health) and Animal Welfare.


In this post, we announce our top four charity ideas to launch in February 2024. They are the results of months of work by our research team, who selected them through a seven-stage research process. We pick interventions that exceed ambitious cost-effectiveness bars (e.g., for global health policy, this is 5x top GiveWell evaluated charities), have a high quality of evidence, minimal failure modes, and high expected value.


We’re seeking people to launch these ideas through our February-March 2024 Incubation Program. No particular previous experience is necessary - if you could plausibly see yourself excited to launch one of these charities, we encourage you to apply. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2023.





In the Incubation Program, we provide two months of cost-covered training, stipends, funding up to $200,00, operational support in your first months, a co-working space at our CE office in London, ongoing mentorship, and access to a community of alumni, funders, and experts. Learn more on our refreshed CE Incubation Program page.

Disclaimer:

To be brief, we have sacrificed nuance, the details of our considerable uncertainties, and the downside risks discussed in the extended reports. Full reports will be published on our website and the EA Forum and announced in our newsletter in the upcoming weeks.

Please note that previous incubatees attest to the ideas becoming increasingly exciting over the course of the program.


One-Sentence Summaries

Childhood vaccination reminders

An organization that sends SMS or voice messages to remind caregivers to attend their child’s vaccination appointments. Read the full report.


Mass media to prevent violence against women

A non-profit that produces and delivers educational entertainment content focusing on preventing intimate partner violence. Read the full report.


Influencing EU fish welfare policy through strategic work in Greece

An organization focused on improving fish welfare through corporate campaigning and policy work in Greece, aiming to influence animal welfare standards at the EU level. Read the full report.


Influencing key stakeholders of the emerging insect industry

An organization that provides information to relevant stakeholders on sustainability, environmental impacts, food safety concerns, and animal welfare issues related to insect farming. Read the brief or request a report.


Fundraising for animal advocacy

An organization focused on bringing new, counterfactual funding into the animal advocacy movement.

Structured Pedagogy

An organization providing teacher guides and other aspects of structured pedagogy to improve education outcomes in low-income countries.




One-Paragraph Summaries


Childhood vaccination reminders

In 2021, 25 million children under one went unvaccinated. Studies show that mobile messages can effectively remind caregivers to keep up with their child's vaccination schedule, thereby mitigating disease risk and improving overall health outcomes (1, 2, 3). Yet, such beneficial services are rarely implemented on a large scale. Suvita, a non-profit incubated by CE, is delivering this impactful service in India. A new non-profit organization will launch it in the next top-priority country. This new organization will likely coordinate closely with Suvita to expand to numerous priority countries or operate under the same umbrella. This intervention can be expected to help avert one disability-adjusted life year (DALY) for approximately $80, making it a highly cost-effective means to improve global health.

Mass media to prevent violence against women

Almost 500 million women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to violence from an intimate partner at least once since they turned 15. Countless women continually face threats to their safety within their homes, experiencing physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Fueled by societal norms and attitudes, this pervasive form of violence remains prevalent in many societies worldwide. Evidence from robust experimental (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and quasi-experimental studies suggests that media content designed to address these behaviors can prevent intimate partner violence. This newly-formed non-profit will produce and disseminate such media on a large scale, working to curb this problem. In doing so, it should contribute to a growing body of evidence outlining effective strategies to prevent violence against women.

Influencing EU fish welfare policy through strategic work in Greece

Greece is the largest fish producer in the EU (and the 15th largest in the world), but no one is working or planning to work on fish welfare there.

The endline goal of this charity should likely be a policy change, but corporate campaigns will likely be a useful first tool to build public and corporate support for the policy. Enshrining fish welfare in legislation in Greece would not only impact the 440 million fish farmed in the country but could also impact progress and policy on fish welfare at the EU level. We believe that having the voice of the largest fish producer in the EU leading the way on (or at least not actively against) fish welfare could go a long way.

Influencing key stakeholders of the emerging insect industry

Insect farming is a rapidly growing industry with 10s of billions of insects alive on farms at any one point in time, primarily being farmed as feed for other animals. There are several misconceptions about this industry. Insect farming is often touted as a sustainable solution to factory farming, but there are key questions and uncertainties regarding sustainability and environmental impacts, food safety concerns, and welfare issues on farms. This charity would aim to ensure relevant stakeholders – investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs, insect farmers, etc. – are aware of the challenges and limitations of insect farming.


Fundraising for animal issues

Funding is expected to be a key bottleneck in the effective animal advocacy movement going forward. We predict that the pool of available money for animal advocacy is unlikely to grow in the next few years and could even shrink. We’re concerned that funders may neglect more exploratory work and certain regions (e.g., Africa) due to limited resources. A new organization focused on fundraising could work to close this funding gap. There are multiple promising approaches in the space, including a giving pledge (like Giving What We Can) targeted at vegans or influencing high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in promising geographies like India or the US.


Structured pedagogy

Across many low-income countries, the quality of education is poor. Many children leave school without basic reading, writing, and numeracy skills. A new charity can improve the quality of teaching by providing structured teacher guides alongside training and coaching on their usage. Structured pedagogy is an evidence-based, cost-effective intervention deemed a “great buy” in global development. We estimate this intervention to have a benefit-cost ratio of 30:1.


More Detailed Summaries

Childhood vaccination reminders

In 2021, 25 million children under one went unvaccinated. For example, in 2021, only 80% of children in Africa received the BCG vaccine (protecting against tuberculosis), while just 71% received the third dose of the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine.

The solution we propose is straightforward and has demonstrated effectiveness. It involves sending reminders and encouragement to caregivers about upcoming vaccination opportunities via mobile phone (SMS or voice messages).

Various meta-analytic reviews, including several from Cochrane (1, 2, 3), support using reminders to boost child vaccination rates. However, despite their proven effectiveness, these reminders are underutilized. Many countries with low vaccination rates have not yet scaled their use.

We constructed a model for a theoretical 20-year program in Angola to assess the cost-effectiveness of this intervention. We estimated the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted to be between $38 and $78, considering solely the costs to the charity and including additional government expenses, respectively.

Challenges

Various factors can hinder scaling health technologies, including lack of resources, competing priorities, inadequate digital health information systems, poor governance, and insufficient advocacy.

Establishing and maintaining robust monitoring systems integrated with routine immunization data may be vital to the organization’s work. An organization in this field may need to develop strategies to mitigate poor data availability, prioritizing data access and robustness while acknowledging that limited or unreliable information could pose a constraint.

Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. However, the co-founding team would benefit from the following skills and experiences: 1. Experience working with government stakeholders, such as Ministries of Health; 2. Knowledge of health data systems and routine health service provision; 3. Expertise in logistics and operational efficiencies; 4. Skills in monitoring and evaluation, with a focus on extensive data monitoring. We also expect strong generalists to be able to acquire these skills on the job or hire additional team members to fill critical gaps.

Collaboration with Suvita

Drawing on the successful model of Suvita, a CE-incubated organization that has effectively delivered this service in parts of India, we envision a new non-profit that could implement this service in another high-priority country. This organization will likely coordinate closely with Suvita to expand to numerous priority countries in the future or could even operate under the same umbrella.

Conclusion

Addressing under-vaccination is a global health priority. While mobile phone reminders are not a panacea, they can significantly aid in achieving this goal at a low cost and large scale.

Entertainment-led mass media to prevent violence against women

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a substantial, preventable human rights violation impacting millions of women worldwide. Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) suggest that nearly one-third (31%) of women have encountered physical or sexual violence since turning 15. IPV poses significant health and economic challenges, with extensive consequences for victims.

Educational entertainment offers a promising solution to alleviate IPV's burden. It is theoretically robust, with some supportive evidence among strategies to prevent violence against women. Despite growing recognition of edutainment as an effective social intervention, not many organizations still conduct this type of work. We think there are gaps in implementation that a new organization could fill.

The evidence on the effectiveness of mass media in IPV is limited but cautiously optimistic: While only one experimental study measured effects on behavior, four other experimental (1, 2, 3, 4) and quasi-experimental studies found sizable shifts in attitudes and norms related to IPV. Combining these findings with the broader literature on the effects of mass media on behavior change, we believe there is a strong case for scaling up an edutainment approach in this space.

Our cost-effectiveness analysis of a hypothetical 5-year intervention in Lesotho, Rwanda, Angola, and Ethiopia revealed a cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted ranging from $28 to $1419, depending on assumptions and the country chosen. Based on our estimates, this may be among the most cost-effective interventions in the IPV space.


Challenges

Key data indicators will likely be scarce. Collecting IPV data may prove challenging, particularly in regions with cultural reluctance to discuss these issues. We have reservations about how easy it will be to evaluate and communicate impact to funders reliably. Effective monitoring will necessitate the triangulation of different data sources and creative utilization of impact-evaluation methodologies.


Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. However, given the subject's sensitivity, the ideal co-founder team should be aware of IPV's complexities. Experience with or knowledge of gender equality issues and advocacy would be advantageous. As this idea is based on indicative studies and requires further testing, co-founders should be comfortable with uncertainty and exhibit a scientific mindset.

We also value organizations capable of producing high-quality, engaging content. Experience in artistic and communication fields, such as theater, TV, and writing, would be advantageous, although such skills could also be acquired through early hiring.


Conclusion

IPV is a significant, preventable issue. Edutainment can broadly and inexpensively address it. Encouraging evidence suggests that mass media approaches can effectively shift attitudes and behaviors towards gendered violence, positioning them among the most cost-effective interventions for this issue.


Influencing EU fish welfare policy through strategic work in Greece

Greece is the largest fish producer in the EU and the 15th largest in the world, with over 440 million fish alive on its farms at any time. These fish are unprotected by legislation. As a result, they are left to suffer from high stocking densities and overcrowding, barren environments with no enrichment, high mortality rates, and prolonged slaughter in an ice slurry without pre-stunning at the end of their lives. Work to improve the lives of these animals is highly neglected. No animal advocacy organizations are working or planning to work on fish welfare in Greece. This noticeable gap should be filled to ensure that fish suffering on farms does not continue.


A new organization working to enshrine fish welfare in legislation in Greece would not only be beneficial for the millions of fish farmed in Greece, but could also impact progress and policy on fish welfare at the EU level. We believe that having the voice of the largest fish producer in the EU be on the side and leading the way on (or at least not actively against) fish welfare could go a long way.


Policy change should be the end goal of this work. Still, awareness-raising and corporate campaigns are likely necessary first steps to build public and corporate support, making policy change easier.


Humane slaughter could be a promising first ask. Slaughter is likely to be the focus of campaigns by other animal advocacy organizations, and it would be good to be coordinated. However, we think there could be scope to include environmental conditions – such as stocking density limits, water quality parameters, and environmental enrichment – in the ask to increase the overall impact on fish. A new organization should work with existing actors to determine these standards.


We expect that passing fish welfare legislation in Greece could be very cost-effective, with our model yielding an estimated impact of ~400 fish helped per dollar (leading to 370 welfare points affected per dollar). This cost-effectiveness estimate does not include the impact this work could have on EU policy or the precedent-setting effect that EU policy could have globally. These effects are hard to quantify but play an important part in the overall impact that this work could have.

Challenges

The main challenge with this work is its uncertain tractability. There are many reasons in both directions to think this work could be easy or difficult. As an illustrative example, the Greek government took the lead in developing fish welfare guidelines adopted by the EU Platform on Animal Welfare and could be open to policy change on fish welfare. On the other hand, experts have cautioned that the Greek government is pushing for deregulation and growing the industry as quickly as possible. Welfare legislation is a push towards more regulation and could be seen as hampering growth, so perhaps the government would be against policy change on fish welfare.

This tractability question could be overcome through corporate campaigning. It could provide a good leverage point for future policy work as it will build public and corporate support for policy change on fish welfare.


Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. It will be important for the founding team to have access to Greek language skills early to communicate with stakeholders. While this will most likely come from a first hire (or interpreters), a Greek speaking co-founder would be a significant bonus.

Experience with corporate campaigning and/or policy work is nice to have but not a necessity.

Conclusion

Although fish welfare legislation is rare across the globe, with only a handful of countries having any protections for fish enshrined into legislation, we think pushing for this within an EU country is likely the most tractable place to do so. Work in Greece seems particularly important given the scale of its production and the impact domestic actions could have on progress at the EU level.

Influencing key stakeholders of the emerging insect industry

In the last few years, the size of the insect farming industry has skyrocketed, with millions of dollars in seed funding raised across the industry, larger facilities beginning to open, and many new startups appearing in the space. This growth is only expected to continue, with the industry aiming to produce 500,000 metric tonnes of insect protein by 2030, likely requiring over 100 billion insects to be on farms at any one point in time. Most of this growth is expected to come from the insects-as-feed industry, where insects are farmed to be fed to other farmed animals as an aspirationally cheaper alternative to fishmeal, soybean meal, and other plant-based options. Insect meal will likely fulfill some of the huge unmet demand for fishmeal. This will enable the growth of aquaculture production by an estimated 1.1% by 2030.


There is an overwhelming lack of knowledge surrounding this industry, with questions regarding sustainability and environmental impacts, food safety concerns, and animal welfare issues. Given the scale of production – and the size of these uncertainties – we believe that the growth of insect farming deserves consideration, action, and precaution from all relevant stakeholders: investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs, insect farmers, and others.


Work on insect issues is very neglected. Only a handful of people (~5 FTEs) are working in this space, and most of this work primarily focuses on the welfare of insects on farms rather than actively challenging some of the underlying assumptions about insect farming. We think this is a huge underinvestment in an important issue and believe there is space for a new organization and many opportunities to pick up that existing actors might not take.

Challenges

As work in this space is new, there is not much of a track record to build on or learn from. This means that work will need to be innovative and cautious. Collaboration with existing actors will help to overcome these challenges.

Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. A skilled generalist could do this work. Experience with corporate campaigning or other similar roles that deal with outreach and managing stakeholder relationships is nice to have but not a necessity.

Conclusion

Providing information and promoting caution amongst relevant stakeholders of the insect farming industry is an urgent priority, given the projected growth of the industry. We must address the remaining questions and uncertainties on sustainability, environmental impacts, food safety concerns, and animal welfare issues before many more insects are farmed in the current system.


Fundraising for animal issues

After many conversations with experts and fund managers, we concluded that funding is expected to be a key bottleneck in the animal advocacy movement going forward. We estimate that the available money dedicated to animal advocacy is unlikely to grow in the next few years and could even shrink. These limited resources will likely mean more exploratory work and certain regions (e.g., Africa) could struggle to receive funding. A new organization focused on fundraising could work to close this future funding gap.

There are multiple promising approaches a new charity operating in this space could take. One potential intervention would be to run a giving pledge for vegans. Similar to Giving What We Can’s model, this organization would get vegans to commit to donating x% of their annual income to recommended animal advocacy organizations. We think this could be a relatively easy way to bring in new money for the movement, as vegans could be easily motivated by the right opportunity to do more good for animals.

A second approach could be an organization targeting high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), especially in India or the US. This target audience is particularly promising in India, where the average person, compared to other countries, generally has a greater concern and care for animals, and the potential audience size is significant given India is one of the top three countries by number of billionaires. Moreover, it is becoming more difficult to get foreign funds into India, so fundraising within India could be promising for the future of animal advocacy. Alternatively or additionally, we think that a focus on HNWIs in the US could be similarly promising. The scale of HNWIs is high, as the US is the top country by the number of billionaires and millionaires, and the public generally has a high awareness of factory farming and animal welfare as an issue and concern.

We hope to do additional research between now and the next Incubation Program to assess in more detail what we think the most promising approach and theory of change would be for this work.

Challenges

While we believe that there is low-hanging fruit in the space, the co-founders of this new charity would need to ensure that they are bringing in new, counterfactual funding rather than just redirecting existing money. This would require strong prioritization of target populations/individuals and solid monitoring and evaluation.

A new charity should also collaborate with existing actors in the space and consider what populations they are targeting to ensure no overlap.

Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. However, more so than our other animal advocacy recommendations, we believe this idea should have a particularly high bar for founding, given it is a somewhat high-risk area. A wrong move in this space could cause more harm than good by directing funding to less effective interventions or turning off funders from animal advocacy.

We’re optimistic we can find a strong co-founder pair to succeed. Ideally, we’re looking for socially skilled, strong communicators who are well-connected and knowledgeable about the animal and nonprofit landscapes. For the pledge approach, co-founders would benefit from experience with marketing campaigns. For the HNWI fundraising approach, co-founders would benefit from prior fundraising experience, experience engaging HNWI or other high-power/status stakeholders, existing connections, and at least one co-founder from the target country.



Structured pedagogy

The quality of education in many Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) is poor. Over the past decade, progress has been made to improve access to schooling in LMICs. While enrollment rates (especially of girls) and years of schooling received have improved, the quality of education is still very low. According to the World Bank, “In 20 of 29 low-income countries with available data, more than 90 percent of children can’t read or understand a basic text by the end of primary school.”.


Structured pedagogy is an evidenced-based package of interventions designed to improve learning and teaching quality. It typically comprises four areas: student resources, teacher lesson plans, teacher training, and ongoing coaching for teachers. According to the World Bank and the Copenhagen Consensus, it is seen as one of the best buys in education.


Within structured pedagogy, we are most excited by the idea of a new charity focused on three of the four sub-areas: introducing structured teacher guides and training and coaching for teachers on how to use those guides to improve their teaching. We are relatively less excited about the cost-effectiveness of providing student resources.


Teacher guides improve test scores. There is relatively strong evidence that teacher guides improve test scores. Taking the results of two meta-analyses and two other experimental studies into account, we estimate that teacher guides, even the bad ones, can improve test scores by an average of 0.3 standard deviations.


There is also evidence that education improves income later in life. There is strong evidence that receiving an education improves the recipient’s income (although how much income improves is somewhat context-dependent). There is somewhat weaker evidence that education improves economic growth and is not just a zero-sum game (improving the recipient's income at the cost of others’). There is disagreement as to exactly what the returns of education are. Our analysis of the evidence suggests that one standard deviation improvement in test scores can lead to a 10-45% increase in earnings, though we think the lower end of this range is most likely.


There is a lack of precedent for work in this space. Although teacher guides are used by other organizations, they are often one tool or program amongst many. There is a lack of focus on using teacher guides as a primary intervention.


We expect the introduction of teacher guides into schools to be achievable and very cheap; this intervention looks quite cost-effective. Our cost-effectiveness analysis yielded an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 30:1 (a cost-effectiveness equivalent to $50/DALY using GiveWell’s moral weights).



Challenges

One challenge founders might face is finding areas to work in that are not covered by USAID’s structured pedagogy programs. There are also operational challenges to designing good teacher guides and putting training and accountability mechanisms in place to ensure they are being used.



Particularly helpful co-founder backgrounds

No particular previous experience is necessary to apply for this idea. Introducing teacher guides into schools is not a prohibitively complex area. It should be possible for a talented generalist to work on this issue. Founders would have access to numerous available resources on developing effective teacher guides. Many of the most promising countries are Francophone African countries, so it would be beneficial but by no means necessary for a co-founder to speak French.

Our cause areas for the August- September 2024 Incubation Program

You can now also apply (using the same form) to the August-September 2024 Incubation Program that will focus on: 1) The most cost-effective Sustainable Development Goals 2) Organophosphate pesticides and other neurotoxicants

Information about our top ideas will be announced in Spring 2024.

How to apply


To apply, fill out the [APPLICATION FORM], which should only take around 30 minutes. We have designed the application process also to give you a better sense of whether you are excited by this career path.

Application deadline: September 30, 2023 Would you like to explore whether this could be a good career fit for you? [TAKE OUR NEW IMPROVED QUIZ] More information about the application process and a resource list that can help you prepare: https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/apply More information about how the program is run: https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/how-it-works Any questions about the program: ula@charityentrepreneurship.com



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