The GiveWell Blog

Donating to the Somalia famine: A brief update

Since our initial post on the Somalia famine, we’ve continued our research to provide a stronger recommendation to donors. We do not yet have enough information to do so. At this point, we maintain our provisional recommendation for Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Over the past 3 weeks, we’ve contacted many aid and UN-based organizations. We’ve spoken with representatives from Action Against Hunger, CARE, Doctors without Borders (MSF), International Committee of the Red Cross, International Medical Corps, Oxfam, Save the Children, the World Food Programme, and UNICEF.

In our conversations with organizations, we’ve tried to answer the following questions:

  • What, specifically, are your activities in response to the emergency?
  • How do your expenses break down across these activities?
  • In what regions are you working? Are you primarily in the famine zone? In refugee camps? Other locations in the region?
  • Are you appealing for additional funding? If so, how much are you seeking? If you don’t raise all that you are appealing for, would you allocate unrestricted funding to your response?
  • How, specifically, would you spend additional funding?

We’ve also contacted funders such as the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK and USAID, but they have not been able to give us information about organizations or the situation on the ground that would inform our views of specific aid organizations.

We are waiting on information from several of the charities we’ve contacted to answer the questions above, and once we receive this information, we’ll be in a better position to make a stronger charity recommendation to donors.

For the time being, we maintain our provisional recommendation of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which is publicly appealing for funds for the crisis in Somalia and its consequences.