The case for teaching women to fish

Or how livelihood programming through coaching, training, and savings is the most efficient way to encourage lasting change for those in extreme poverty.
Women meet as a savings group in India as part of Trickle Up's programs.

This column was first published on Devex on June 30, 2022.

The “effective altruism” movement believes that charitable giving should be optimized through rigorous vetting and hard data. This, the effective altruist attests, will ensure that every charitable dollar delivers a high impact.

But questions remain about what is being measured and over which time frame. Could the dominant use of simple short-term measures curtail investment in long-term sustainable solutions? To be sure, teaching a person to fish is more expensive, takes longer, and is tougher to measure than giving them a fish. But few would argue that giving away fish is the better option.

The pandemic has exacted an enormous toll over the last two-plus years, but economic policies in high-income countries have largely kept livelihoods intact. For those in low- and middle-income countries, however, COVID-19’s economic impact has compounded the human toll. An estimated 97 million more people fell into extreme poverty due to the pandemic.

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, Trickle Up's President
Nathalie Laidler-Kylander joined Trickle Up in 2021 as President. She brings over 30 years of experience across sectors, including 18 years of experience in the international development field. She is passionate about the social and economic inclusion of women. Prior to Trickle Up, Nathalie was a Managing Director at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. There […]
Benjamin Segal joined Trickle Up as a board member in 2007. Benjamin is currently a Math Teacher at Mott Hall Bronx High School. Prior to that, he spent 20+ years as a Portfolio Manager at Neuberger Berman LLC, a $300 billion investment management firm based in New York, managing over $8 billion in non-US and […]
Mariana B. Vanin joined Trickle Up in 2021 as Director of Communications. She was responsible for leading the organization’s global communications strategy and telling our story with impact. Before Trickle Up, Mariana worked at the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, where she rose through the ranks to become Communications Director. She gained experience in global […]

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