The GiveWell Blog

September 2019 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view our June 2019 open thread here.


  • Bill Goodykoontz on September 13, 2019 at 10:20 am said:

    I have recently read Melinda Gates’ book “The Moment of Lift” and have been reflecting on her belief that “contraceptives are the greatest life-saving, poverty-ending, woman-empowering innovation ever created”, among many other issues she raises. I wonder if GiveWell has reviewed some of the NGO’s she recommends such as BRAC, Tostan, or the Community Empowerment Lab, among others. I’m also curious about your feelings about donating to the Gates Philanthropy Partners “Empowerment & Opportunity Fund”. Thank you so much for all of your dedicated and life-saving work.

  • Erin Wolff on September 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm said:

    Hi Bill, thanks for your message! We have not reviewed the organizations you’ve mentioned for their work in contraceptives and/or family planning. (We had initially researched BRAC for all their programs; the review page can be found here, but please note it is likely to be out-of-date). We have worked on an investigation of family planning groups, though we haven’t yet published it. Here are some related links on our website:

    • David Roodman’s investigation into the connection between mortality rates and fertility rates: here. There is some discussion of our view on family planning programs in the comments.
    • Our review of Sayana® Press, an injectable contraceptive: here.
    • Notes from our conversation with the Hewlett Foundation on family planning: here.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t researched the Gates Philanthropy Partners’ “Empowerment & Opportunity Fund,” so we don’t have a sense of how cost-effective the programs it funds are or what its funding needs look like.

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