The GiveWell Blog

A conversation with a donor interested in obstetric fistula

Jeremy, a teacher, recently emailed us because he was interested in supporting charities that work on the problem of obstetric fistula. Fistula is a cause that I’ve written about before and is one that, emotionally, is extremely compelling.

I thought the email exchange with Jeremy was informative, so (with his permission) we’ve posted it here.

In brief, I think it provides:

  1. A reasonable template for a donor thinking about supporting an organization that provides surgical care
  2. An example of how a donor can care deeply about a specific cause and have an initial feeling about the best organization to give to but then benefit from thinking critically about his or her giving decision.


  • Italien Ferienhäuser on June 22, 2009 at 12:47 am said:

    It is very heart warming to know of people coming forward to share for a cause. You are correct, the email exchange is very informative indeed.

  • Seth Cochran on June 29, 2009 at 8:23 am said:

    This is an excellent conversation and brings up many interesting and important questions. I am the founder of OperationOF and would love to get involved in this discussion, especially given my progression into the space. I wanted to help women with fistula and approached from outside looking at the various organizations. What I realized is that there are many gaps in service to these women, there are no organizations with an international focus, and most of the donor money into the space has landed in one country. For these reasons, I started OperationOF and we are working with local organizations in several countries to ensure that women get complete and holistic treatment and they return to their villages empowered. I am in Uganda now with pretty limited bandwidth, but will be back to Europe next week and would love to continue the conversations!


  • Jeremy on June 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm said:


    Thanks for the comments. I just read the content of your website and liked very much your holistic approach. I would certainly like to hear more about your research and I’d also love to learn more about what you are doing.


  • Nick on June 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm said:

    I read through the messages, and I have to admit, I wasn’t aware of what obstetric fistula actually was. After I googled it… I became really concerned. I had no idea that there was even such a thing. The websites and answers you provided in those messages were very helpful. I want to be involved in aiding women affected by obstetric fistula.

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