Top-rated charity

Iodine Global Network

Iodine Global Network

The Iodine Global Network (IGN) is working to eliminate iodine deficiency worldwide. The organisation reports that iodine deficiency, particularly in utero, can lead to permanent brain damage, growth retardation, goiter, increased risk of childhood death, and “widespread adverse effects in a population.” It meets our criteria for inclusion as a top charity.

What does the Iodine Global Network do?

IGN’s mission is to “be the authoritative voice for iodine nutrition.” The organisation "believe[s] in a world where every child can achieve [their] maximum intellectual and social potential."

To that end, IGN:

  • “Support[s] and catalyze[s] global and national iodine programs, working with key public, private, scientific and civic stakeholders.”
  • “Focus[ses] on universal salt iodization as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for prevention of iodine deficiency disorders.”

Fast facts

  • GiveWell consistently listed IGN as one of its “standout charities” before discontinuing this category in 2021 in favour of listing only “top charities.” Open Philanthropy has also awarded several grants to IGN, including two $100,000 USD grants in December and January of 2019.
  • According to the WHO, “iodine deficiency is the main cause of brain damage in childhood,” and “iodine-deficient people may forfeit 15 IQ points, and nearly 50 million people suffer from some degree of iodine deficiency-related brain damage.”
  • According to GiveWell’s 2014 research, there is “a reasonably strong case” that salt iodisation reduces iodine deficiency. Randomised controlled trials have shown cognitive improvements in iodine-deficient children after iodine supplementation.
  • There is some uncertainty about the cost-effectiveness of salt iodisation. In March 2021, GiveWell estimated it to be “slightly below” their very high cost-effectiveness bar, but also stated that “additional information may change our view.”
  • According to IGN, $100 can help 10,000 people “sustain existing protection against iodine deficiency via salt iodization programs for 1 year” and iodised salt is responsible for decreasing the number of countries deficient in iodine from 110 (in 1993) to 19 (in 2017).
  • To prevent iodine deficiency in a community, iodine can be added to salt, oil, water, and other products. According to IGN, salt is the best vehicle for iodine supplementation, in part because most people consume salt daily.
  • IGN was formerly known as The International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD).

Why is Iodine Global Network one of our top-rated charities?

While we believe IGN is doing great work to improve human wellbeing and is one of our top-rated charities based on the recommendation of one of our trusted evaluators, Founders Pledge, who has conducted an extensive analysis of IGN’s cost-effectiveness. Some of that research is available on Founders Pledge’s public report.

Where can I learn more about Iodine Global Network?

To learn more about the Iodine Global Network, we recommend reading Founders Pledge’s investigation into education and GiveWell’s report on salt iodization. You can also check our page on improving human wellbeing.

Giving What We Can does not take any fees from donors using our platform or from charities listed on our platform. We are independently funded to promote our mission of making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm. Read more on our transparency page.
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