CE 2023 Top Ideas

Charity Entrepreneurship would like YOUR help: which Mass Media and Preventive Animal Welfare charity ideas should we choose? Predict well and win part of a $2,000 prize pool: https://manifold.markets/group/ce-2023-top-ideas

About Charity Entrepreneurship

Our mission is to enable more effective charities to exist in the world. We strive to achieve this goal through our extensive research process and Incubation Program. Each year, Charity Entrepreneurship dedicates hundreds of research hours to identifying the most effective charity ideas. Then we recruit aspiring entrepreneurs and, through our two-month Incubation Program, provide them with the training and funding to turn these ideas into high-impact organizations. Our research has identified highly effective charity ideas in five cause areas so far: Animal Welfare, Health and Development Policy, Mental Health and Happiness, Family Planning, and Capacity Building (EA Meta). In four years, we’ve helped launch 23 new charities, reaching 5 million animals and over 8 million people (as of Dec. 2022).

Our research process

Our primary goal is to identify the most high-impact intervention opportunities. We prioritize cost-effectiveness, impartial evidence, and exceptional levels of expected impact. We conduct multiple rounds of thorough inquiry. As we progress through each stage, we delve deeper into the ideas, and those that withstand scrutiny move forward for further interrogation. We begin by collecting hundreds of the most promising ideas worldwide per cause area, drawing on inputs from NGOs and academics. Each idea then goes through a multiple-stage process, which enables us to sort them from the most to the least promising.

In the final stage, an in-depth research report will be produced based on 80 hours of research that includes cost-effectiveness analyses, expert interviews, geographical assessments, secondary reviews of the evidence from literature, and paths-to-failure analyses.

At the end of this process, the research team and senior management compare all the reports and decide on 2-3 ideas with extremely high expected impact to recommend to the entrepreneurs who enter the incubation program. You can get a sense of how we make decisions by looking at these decision-making spreadsheets on animal welfare policy and large-scale global health research rounds. We set a cost-effectiveness bar comparable to the top GiveWell charities, and aim even higher depending on the expected scale of the charity. We have a track record of recommending effective charities, and you can find examples on our website.

You can find more details of our research process for the 2023-2024 on our website here.

How can you help?

This year we are researching the cause areas of mass media and preventive animal advocacy. Below we present our top ideas that have advanced to the penultimate stage of our research process. Our team will allocate up to 100 hours to research each idea, carefully examining crucial considerations that could either make or break the idea. We will also conduct an interview with a broad expert to obtain their valuable insights and opinions.

We are running an experiment to see if 1. prediction markets can accurately predict which ideas we recommend, and 2. if forecasters can provide insights to the ideas that we would’ve otherwise missed.

Tournament details

(Note: This prediction market prize format was developed by Manifold Markets and ClearerThinking.org for the Clearer Thinking regrants program)

$1,000: Comment prizes

If you have an argument (e.g., about why you think a project is promising or not promising) or public information you want to share about any project, you can share it as a comment directly on the Manifold market for that project.

We will give $100 to each person who gives one of the top 10 arguments or pieces of information that most changes our minds regarding our selection decisions, based on our own subjective judgment of how much the provided information changed our minds. You can feel free to submit as many arguments/pieces of information as you like.

$1,000: Forecasting prizes

The other goal of this tournament is to reward individuals who do the best at predicting which of the ideas we end up selecting

Here are the rules for the prediction component of the tournament:

  1. USD prizes will be awarded to the top 10 traders based on total profit in this group of markets:

    • 1st place: $250

    • 2nd: $200

    • 3rd: $150

    • 4th: $100

    • 5th-10th: $50

  2. Only one account per person can trade in this market.

  3. Don't collude with other people to inflate your or their profits.

    • For example, don't transfer money to your friend's account via betting a market artificially high/low and having them correct it.

  4. All forms of trading are allowed (including API and limit orders).

  5. Manifold and Clearer Thinking reserve the right to: modify rules, exclude participants, or make any other changes necessary to abide by the spirit of this tournament.

Summary of ideas under consideration

Mass Media

By ‘mass media’ intervention we refer to social and behavior change communication campaigns delivered through mass media, aiming to improve human well-being. 

  1. Using mobile technologies (mHealth) to encourage women to attend antenatal clinics and/or give birth at a health care facility

Across much of sub-Saharan Africa, only about 55% of women make the recommended 4+ antenatal care visits, and only 60% give birth at a health care facility.  This organization would encourage greater health care utilization and achieve lower maternal and neonatal mortality by scaling up evidence-based mHealth interventions, such as one-way text messages or two-way SMS/WhatsApp communications. These messages would aim to address common concerns about professional health care, as well as reminding women not to miss their appointments.

  1.  Using mass media to tackle violence against women

Violence against women – especially intimate partner violence (IPV) – is highly prevalent across the world. Recent studies have shown promising results in using radio or TV edutainment shows that aim to shift viewers’ attitudes, perceived norms, and behaviors related to IPV. This organization would focus on producing and streaming such shows in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).

  1.  Encouraging internal (rural-urban) migration

Workers in cities across LMICs have much higher incomes than people living in rural areas. In many cities, people are also healthier, report higher life satisfaction, and their children have better educational opportunities. Despite this, rates of internal migration are relatively low in many countries. This organization would produce edutainment shows that realistically portray the pros and cons of moving to cities, with the aim of overcoming people’s informational and motivational barriers to migration.

  1.  Discouraging female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still highly prevalent in LMICs, especially in Saharan and northern sub-Saharan Africa. It involves partially or fully cutting a girl's external genitalia, which can cause (among other issues) serious bleeding, infection, infertility, and even death. This organization would produce edutainment shows aimed to stimulate reflection and debate around this topic, with the aim of changing people’s attitudes, perceived norms, and ultimately their decision on whether or not to do FGM.

  1.  Informing audiences about their eligibility for welfare programs

It appears that in many LMICs, only a minority of the poorest households  are actually receiving social assistance (such as social safety nets or widow pensions), even in countries that have relevant programs that these households could be accessing. Lack of awareness and limited knowledge about the availability of  these programs and how to overcome hurdles to access them, have been identified as some of the key barriers. The idea is to provide information about the existence of relevant welfare programs, as well as how to access them.

  1.  An organization focuses on early childhood stimulation

By the age of four, it is estimated that over 40% of children in sub-Saharan Africa fail to meet the cognitive or socio-emotional milestones expected for their age. Many are likely to do poorly in school and subsequently have low incomes as adults. Intervening in the first three years of life is a highly effective way to help children develop their cognitive skills. This organization would focus either on encouraging and supporting parents to spend more time doing stimulating activities with their children, or produce stimulating (audio or audiovisual) content that children could engage with.

  1.  Encouraging higher vaccination rates through mobile interventions

Vaccinations are among the most cost-effective ways to prevent mortality and morbidity from transmissible diseases. Yet, many children don’t receive all the vaccines they should, which results in over a million children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases every year. This organization would focus on scaling evidence-based strategies for increasing childhood vaccination rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

  1.  Informing voters about political candidates’ criminal pasts

Many LMICs suffer from having a high proportion of politicians with corrupt and/or criminal histories. These candidates often get elected because voters may not be fully informed, or because they don’t put enough weight on criminality when casting their vote. However, evidence suggests that electing such candidates leads to detrimental impacts down the line, including more corruption, less investment, and lower GDP growth. This organization would aim to reduce the vote shares for criminal politicians by sending text messages to voters in priority districts, informing them about which politicians are “criminal” vs “clean” (based on public records).

  1.  Promoting brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste

Oral health has been largely neglected by global health interventions in recent decades, yet there is growing evidence linking poor oral health with high levels of pain and suffering, as well as poor health outcomes such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Yet there is a simple and highly effective way of preventing oral diseases: daily tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste. This organization would use mass-media communications to encourage the audience to consistently adopt behaviors that promote oral health, including more frequent tooth brushing, and using toothpaste with sufficient fluoride content.

  1.  Preventing deaths and disability from snakebites

Snakebites are estimated to cause over 100,000 deaths every year, and many more cases of disability, such as paralysis or amputations. While effective antivenoms are available in many hospitals in LMICs, medical care is often sought too late for them to be effective. This organization would use mass media to help people in rural areas understand the risk of snakebites and how to prevent them, as well as the importance of seeking professional help if they do get bitten by a snake.

Preventive Animal Welfare

This year our focus is on interventions and policies that prevent future harms done to animals, as opposed to solving current problems. We will be looking for interventions that, as well as having some short run evidence of impact, will prevent future problems, i.e., have the biggest impact on farmed animals in the future, say 35 years from now. 

  1. Limiting the intensification of factory farms in LMICs

This charity idea focuses on curbing the expansion of factory farming and intensification in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Potential strategies include advocating for more robust animal welfare laws, protecting small-scale farmers, targeting corporate campaigns at multinational companies planning to intensify farming, and raising awareness about the consequences of farm intensification. The charity could build its case on various grounds, such as environmental concerns, animal rights, and human health implications. The exact approach is to be determined through further research.

  1. Animal advocacy organization at the EU-wide level

This charity idea aims to promote stricter animal welfare policies throughout the European Union. With indications that the EU is considering significant updates to its animal welfare legislation, the charity could work to counteract the influence of the meat lobby, and ensure that proposed laws remain strong. The charity may advocate for specific high-priority policy changes, such as banning all mutilations, or implementing stricter stocking density regulations. The precise policy ask is to be determined. Alternatively, the charity could conduct investigations to hold policymakers accountable for their previous commitments, ensuring promises made are followed through.

  1. Ballot initiatives/policy advocacy to end factory farming or de-escalate stocking densities by 2050

This charity idea focuses on utilizing direct democracy channels, such as ballot initiatives and referendums. The aim would be to phase out factory farming and the import of factory-farmed products in regions where such channels exist, drawing inspiration from the Swiss Factory Farm ballot initiative. In areas without direct democracy options, the organization will advocate for government policies to scale down factory farms and reduce stocking densities. The charity is likely to operate in high-income countries with a strong emphasis on animal welfare, aiming for a complete phase out of factory farms by 2050.

  1. Preventing the takeoff of insect farming

The primary objective of this charity is to thwart the rapid rise of insect farming, which is anticipated to become a major source of animal feed in agriculture. To achieve this, the charity may advocate for policies or launch corporate campaigns targeting animal farmers, discouraging them from using insects as feed. Additionally, the organization could run negative campaigns against insect usage, raising awareness about the potential consequences and promoting alternative solutions.

  1. Banning octopus (or general cephalopod) farming

This policy advocacy charity aims to introduce a ban on farming octopuses and/or other cephalopods. Although not targeting the consumption of these creatures, the charity addresses the heightened suffering experienced by farmed octopuses compared to their wild counterparts. By targeting the conditions in which they are kept, and their high consumption of other animals as feed, the charity would seek to mitigate the overall suffering caused by the system of farming these complex creatures.

  1. Vegan outreach or Veganuary campaigns in LMICs

This charity idea focuses on promoting veganism and Veganuary campaigns in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). By raising awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet, the charity would seek to encourage more people to adopt veganism, reducing the demand for animal products and mitigating the associated environmental, health, and animal welfare issues. Through tailored outreach and localized Veganuary initiatives, the charity’s aim would be to create a lasting impact on dietary habits and drive positive change in LMICs.

  1. Corporate campaigns to stop the use and sale of silk

This charity idea targets the silk industry by launching corporate campaigns aimed at stopping the sale and use of silk in clothing and bedding. Focusing on the ethical concerns surrounding silk production, which involves the boiling of silkworms, the charity would advocate for more humane alternatives. By engaging with companies and consumers, the organization would seek to raise awareness about the ethical implications of silk production. Its goal would be to  drive the adoption of cruelty-free, sustainable alternatives within the fashion and home goods industries.

  1. Fish welfare policy advocacy

The goal of this charity idea is to establish a fish welfare policy advocacy organization dedicated to improving the living conditions and treatment of (mostly farmed) fish. A lot of countries still lack, or have very basic, animal protection laws for fish. By promoting evidence-based policies and regulations, the charity would address the often-overlooked suffering experienced by fish, which massive numbers are subjected to in intensive farming systems.

  1. Innovation prizes to spur breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies for farmed animal welfare

This charity idea revolves around offering innovation prizes to encourage breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies aimed at improving farmed animal welfare. By incentivizing the development of high-welfare farming technologies, such as egg-sexing, or more humane slaughter equipment, the charity would seek to address critical gaps in the industry and promote more compassionate farming practices.

  1. Meta-fundraising organization for animals

This charity idea focuses on creating a meta-fundraising organization that conducts targeted outreach to high-net-worth individuals, encouraging them to support effective animal charities. By leveraging the financial resources of affluent donors, the charity would seek to amplify the impact of animal welfare organizations that demonstrate evidence-based effectiveness and high potential for positive change. Through personalized engagement and education, the meta-fundraising organization would aim to foster long-term partnerships between philanthropists and animal charities, maximizing the resources available to tackle pressing animal welfare issues.