U.S. Should Consider Cash Transfers As Potential Approach To Foreign Aid

Washington Post: Foreign aid as a cash-only transaction? It’s worth a try.
Christine Emba, opinion columnist and editor at the Washington Post

“…This month, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the results of a landmark study on the best strategies for poverty reduction. … [T]he new study compared the traditional approach to foreign aid against just giving the beneficiaries cash — and the results should make us think. … [R]esearchers found, neither the standard intervention nor the equivalent cash transfer had moved the needle much on USAID’s primary goals of improving children’s health and family nutrition. … But things were different with the larger cash transfer: Those villages saw substantial improvements across the board. … Maybe it is time to rethink the idea that we know better what other people need. Maybe the best way to help is to let the people decide how to help themselves. … [In Donald Trump’s] U.N. speech on Tuesday, the president said he would be taking a ‘hard look’ at U.S. foreign assistance. ‘We will examine what is working, what is not working…’ If he really means it, cold hard cash may be the place to start” (9/26).

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