Effective Altruism

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Awhile back I was talking to my oldest son about the most cost effective way to help people. He told me about the philosophy of effective altruism. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is pretty much what it sounds like: it is a movement that uses reason to determine the most effective way to make a difference in the world. He also told me that he had heard that mosquito nets were one of the most cost effective ways to help people. Our conversation led me to do some research of my own. I think I just googled “mosquito net cost” and I found this:

The most effective means of preventing malaria is sleeping under a mosquito net, specifically a long-lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN).

Malaria is transmitted by certain mosquitoes when they bite. These mosquitoes bite people to get a blood meal. The malaria parasite then passes from the infected mosquito to the person being bitten. They typically bite between 10 o’clock at night and two in the morning – and that’s one of the most important things we have on our side: if we can protect people in affected areas when they sleep at night we have a very good chance of preventing them contracting malaria. more

Each net costs about $2.50, lasts for 3-4 years, and protects, on average, two people.

The statistics are well known given the scale of the problem. Every 100-1,000 nets we put over heads and beds, one child doesn’t die.

Every single net matters.

(From the website https://www.againstmalaria.com, emphasis added)

$2.50! For about the cost of a gallon of milk you can buy a mosquito net that “lasts for 3-4 years, and protects on average, two people.”

It’s easy to make a donation on the Against Malaria Foundation website. They even accept bitcoin! How great is that? I liked how this site was set up. They have a section for transparency so you can see exactly where the different donations are going and 100% of public donations goes to buy nets. Phenomenal work. It doesn’t get much better than that. So, I made a donation.


What do you think? Want to take the mosquito net challenge (I just made that up) and buy a net? I’d love to hear if you do.

P.S. Turns out effective altruism has a logo–a light bulb with a heart inside. Perfect.

Shine on.


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