Top-rated charity

Iodine Global Network

Iodine Global Network

The Iodine Global Network (IGN) is a nonprofit organisation working to ensure all people attain optimal iodine nutrition and children can reach their full cognitive potential.


What problem is the Iodine Global Network working on?

According to the World Health Organization, “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.

What does the Iodine Global Network do?

The IGN supports global and national iodine programmes by working with key public, private, scientific, and civic stakeholders to promote universal salt iodisation — which it sees as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for prevention of iodine deficiency disorders.

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.

Specifically, the IGN works to:

  • Support the harmonisation of national and international iodine programme delivery by aligning approaches, partnerships, and resources.
  • Advocate for political will and increased attention and resources for iodine programmes in the context of the broader global nutrition landscape.
  • Identify and help address challenges to iodine programmes.
  • Strengthen national programmes and fortification coalitions through consistent programmatic guidance and enhanced communication to, from, and among national programmes.
  • Identify and address scientific questions and influence the research agenda to increase the effectiveness of iodine programmes.

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

IGN meets our criteria to be a top-rated charity because one of our trusted evaluators, Founders Pledge, has conducted an extensive evaluation highlighting its 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.)

In addition:

However, 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.”

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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