Charity

Deworm the World Initiative

Deworm the World Initiative

Cause area: Improving human wellbeing

Deworm the World Initiative (DWI), a project of Evidence Action, collaborates with governments to run mass deworming programmes in schools located in at-risk communities.

What problem is Deworm the World Initiative working on?

Deworm the World Initiative (DWI) is a project of Evidence Action, whose mission is “to be a world leader in scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty.” According to Evidence Action, more than 835 million children are at risk of parasitic worm infections, primarily in poor communities with inadequate sanitation around the world. These infections interfere with children’s nutrient uptake, often leading to anaemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development. As a result, children who are infected are less likely to attend school.

What does Deworm the World Initiative do?

Regular treatment with a simple pill is a safe and effective solution to combat these infections. DWI:

  • Works with governments in low-income countries to deliver free mass deworming programmes in schools located in areas where at least 20% of children are infected by worms.
  • Advocates for the implementation of mass deworming programmes by educating governments and assisting with program implementation.
  • Provides a variety of technical assistance to help governments launch deworming programmes, including help with planning, budgeting, obtaining and distributing medicine, training, and promoting community acceptance of deworming programmes.
  • Conducts independent programme monitoring and helps governments design and implement effective reporting and monitoring processes.

Why evidence is there of DWI's effectiveness?

Evidence Action reports that Deworm the World has helped provide over a billion treatments since 2014, at a cost of around $0.50 per child. In 2019 alone, it helped treat 280 million children in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan (figures as of 2022).

DWI meets our criteria to be listed on our platform because it was previously one of our recommended charities due to GiveWell’s inclusion of it as a top-rated giving opportunity from 2013 to 2022. GiveWell’s decision to no longer recommend DWI was not based on any shift in thinking about Deworm the World, but rather a change in its top charity criteria. (See more about GiveWell’s decision and how that decision affects our recommended charities.)

Some research shows that deworming has positive effects on improved life outcomes like school attendance and income earnings. Evidence Action has also acknowledged and responded to some uncertainty surrounding the evidence for deworming programmes, and GiveWell has an in-depth report on the case for mass deworming.

We intend to reevaluate the status of all of the charities listed on our platform that are working on deworming programmes after one of our trusted evaluators, Founders Pledge, publishes its review of deworming’s cost-effectiveness. (Our trusted evaluators are charitable giving experts who focus on impact — their research into the best charities means your donations can do even more good. Learn more about charity evaluators we trust and why.)

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation’s work, which considers much more than just the administration costs of the organisation. Learn more about this common “overhead myth” and our approach to charity evaluation.

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