Odd jobs are scarce in south-east Liberia. In a good month, 59-year-old casual laborer Peter might make $20 (£16.70). But an innovative donation scheme now gives him $40 (£33.40) per month in cash, for at least three years, which will help him build a new home for his family. GiveDirectly’s approach to development assistance could turn the $188 billion (£156bn) international aid industry on its head if taken to scale, says its head, former UK foreign secretary Rory Stewart. “It’s a rather radical, simple idea to help people out of extreme poverty. We deliver the cash directly ….” Participants can spend their money as they choose but most goes towards food, medical and education expenses, durables, home improvement and social events. Happiness Kadzmila from Malawi, who signed up last summer, says: “I did not know that an organization like GiveDirectly would come to help me this way. All I can say to those who are giving us this money is ‘thank you’.”

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