Good Ventures provided $1.5 million to Deworm the World Initiative at Evidence Action, based on GiveWell’s recommendation of Deworm the World as a top charity for 2013. These funds were donated by Good Ventures to “cover around 75% of the minimum level of funding that GiveWell would like to see its recommended charities raise during the 2013 giving season.”

In conversations with GiveWell leading up to the recommendation, we indicated a funding gap of $2-3 million for the Deworm the World Initiative in 2014, to be used as

a) restricted funds to expand provision of TA to additional states in India, and

b) unrestricted funds to better respond to situational needs and also to allow for building a working capital/reserve fund.

In the spirit of openness and transparency that GiveWell practices, the purpose of this blog post is to share how we are deploying the Good Ventures grant resources.  Although we are not required to officially report on the use of the Good Ventures funds, we will provide regular updates to GiveWell over the course of the year, and upon full expenditure.  Internally we track actuals against budgets for these activities as well. 

Breakdown of Funding 

First, a high level breakdown of funding between programmatic goals and building up our reserves:  We propose to use as a rule of thumb that our reserves should equal about 10% of our annual programming budget and set aside a portion of the Good Ventures grant to help achieve that goal. We also charged an overhead rate on the grant to reflect our costs of supporting programming, as we would with any other grant. This leaves some $1.2 million to be spent on programming in 2014.

  • Total Amount Received:  $1,500,000
  • Evidence Action Indirect Costs @ 15%= $225,000
  • Reserve funding @ 10% of annual budgeted expenditure (est. $760k already set aside as reserve funding): $75,000
  • Amount to spend/commit in 2014:  $1,200,000

In determining how to effectively and efficiently spend the majority of the funds provided to Deworm the World by Good Ventures, the following set of criteria were adopted to evaluate current and potential opportunities. These criteria provide a framework to determine the initial plan and scope for use of these funds, and whether to pursue additional or alternative opportunities that arise in 2014, potentially resulting in deprioritization of elements of the initial plan. The five evaluation criteria are:

  • Fit with Deworm the World's strategic plan/goals.
  • Timeliness: The Ability to spend (or commit) funds within 2014.
  • Application to larger Deworm the World program; Would the opportunity promote learnings that would apply to other programs?
  • Geographic relevance: Is the location high need/value add?
  • Anticipated value for money and fit within total funding envelope.

Areas for investment and next steps

The proposed areas for investment are grouped into two categories, activities that fall under the “light touch consulting” banner, and those that are classified as “continuing and strengthening existing programs”. Here is some detail about the items we anticipate in each of the categories:

Light touch consulting ($300,000-$400,000):

  • New Associate Director Jessica Harrison will develop and scope consulting business model, including planning and testing timeline
  • Jessica and other colleagues based in India and Kenya will also pilot the model in one Indian state, via a program exchange in Ethiopia and service provision in  Nigeria
  • Jessica, or other consultants will perform a landscape analysis of the potential for Evidence Action to support mass school-based deworming in Indonesia and/or Philippines
  • Evidence Action will support our partner East Meets West Foundation to begin support for school-based deworming in Vietnam and will fund prevalence surveys there
  • Prevalence surveys in several Indian states will be supported

Strengthening existing programs ($700,000-$800,000):

  • Evidence Action will host a post-doctoral fellow, Karim Naguib, to support our economic analysis of deworming in India and Kenya
  • We will strengthen our data collection strategies in India and improve the quality of our training materials there
  • We will fund treatment for preschool age children in Bihar and a prevalence survey in that state to measure the impact of three rounds of deworming treatment

We have reserved some flexibility in this budgeting to allow us to be responsive to partnership requests.