Blog post

Deworm The World: an investment in global development

2 min read
Jul 16, 2013

Deworm the World (DtW) delivers school-based deworming treatment to over 37 million children in 27 countries worldwide. It is one of our recommended charities, and is listed under 'opportunities for leverage'. In this post we recap on DtW as they shift their geographical focus towards India.

Parasitic worms pose one of the most serious health and development problems for underdeveloped nations, as they put millions at risk of reduced health and productivity. However, through DtW the outlook for relief and development is very optimistic. Indeed, it is estimated that school absenteeism could be reduced by 25% and adult earnings can be increased by 20% by effective deworming.

In terms of their approach, DtW's targeting of schools makes them a particularly effective organisation. Teachers are given training in deworming, and pupils receive treatment in school. In this way, their work touches the lives of a far greater number of children, as there are far more schools and teachers than there are clinics and doctors.

According to a GiveWell talk with DtW's Alix Zwane, the organisation will focus increasingly on India, and reduce its work in Africa to mainly that in Kenya. At the moment, DtW operates in three areas in Bihar, Rajasthan and Delhi in India. It offered treatments to 40 million children in India last year, and is looking to offer the same to 100 million more. DtW already has the funding for around 60-70% of that number, but now needs funding to cover the rest. In Kenya, DtW already has funding for the operation through 2015-16, and the government has been supportive towards DtW's work.

DtW is recommended by Giving What We Can for several reasons. First of all, it is one of very few charities which focus on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), another donor-fundable charity Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) being a further rare example. Secondly, it has experienced staff who are responsive to evidence. Moreover, in the case of DtW, governments bear most of the cost of treatment, and so they may be able to leverage that spending for a larger impact.

In Bihar, India, the local government is hoping to undertake the next round of deworming in September this year. DtW's Karen Levy told us that DtW is pledging for a new round of funding in order to keep up the success of the deworming program in Bihar. A donation to GtW therefore offers a rare opportunity to fund effective development as well as targeted relief. Donate to GtW and your money will contribute to a programme that is genuinely able to count lives improved in the millions rather thousands.