Publication: 2013-10-03


GiveDirectly provides a wealth transfer service to the extreme poor in Kenya. We operate an end-to-end model and do not outsource or subcontract work to other organizations.


Name:Owen Ambur




a 501(c)3 non-profit


  • GiveDirectly TeamGiveDirectly began in Cambridge, MA in 2008 when its founders were completing advanced degrees in economic development at Harvard and MIT. Through their work the founders learned of the explosion of mobile banking in developing countries and realized that this would make it possible to send donations securely and very cheaply to the poor. Because existing non-profits were not taking advantage of the opportunity, they created GiveDirectly as a vehicle for transfering their own money. As a non-profit created by donors, GiveDirectly is focused exclusively on giving to the poorest possible households at the lowest possible cost. Its leaders have no personal financial stake in the success of the organization, as their time is all volunteered.

  • GiveDirectly Board

  • Michael FayeDirector -- Michael completed a Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University, specializing in Development and Finance. He has worked with one of India's largest banks in designing consumer finance products and has extensive experience conducting field research in India. Prior to returning to school, Michael worked as a Research Analyst for the United Nations Millennium Project (UNMP), a group headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, tasked with preparing a plan for low-income countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He currently works as a management consultant.

  • Raphael GitauDirector -- Raphael is an Agricultural Economist. He holds an M.Sc. in International Development from the National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies Tokyo, Japan and is widely experienced in socio-economic surveys and data analysis. He has over eight years experience working in the East Africa Region in agricultural policy research, analysis, and advocacy.

  • Chris HughesDirector -- Chris is currently publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic. He previously co-founded and served as spokesperson for the social networking site Facebook, and served as Director of Online Organizing for the Obama 2008 campaign where he oversaw the development of along with the campaign's overall online presence. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard University.

  • Paul NiehausDirector -- Paul is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego; a Junior Affiliate at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); an Affiliate of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); and an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). His research examines the design of welfare programs in developing countries, and in particular how to control corruption. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.

  • Rohit WanchooDirector -- Rohit is a Principal at a private equity firm in New York. He previously worked as a Research Analyst for the United Nations Millennium Project (UNMP), a group headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, tasked with preparing a plan for low-income countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Prior to his work at the UN, Rohit worked in finance as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers in New York. Rohit holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and an MPA in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School.

  • GiveDirectly Staff

  • Piali MukhopadhyayChief Operating Officer -- Piali holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor's degree from MIT. She has extensive field experience working with non-governmental organizations in India, Nepal, Thailand, Zambia, and South Africa. Most recently, she worked for the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) managing a large-scale randomized control trial on anti-corruption measures in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

  • Erick Ndong'aSenior Field Officer -- Erick is a social worker with experience researching and implementing programs for youth groups, women's groups and children's homes. He holds a diploma in social work and community development from the Technical University of Kenya, as well as a certificate in counseling psychology. He is currently completing a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Nairobi.

  • Michael OtienoSenior Field Officer -- Michael holds a diploma in community health and development from the Institute of Tropical Medicine. He has experience in community services and has done field work with several organizations related to children's issues, safe water and gender-based violence. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Public Health and Sanitation from Bondo University.

  • Joy SunDirector of Strategic Initiatives -- Joy joined GiveDirectly from McKinsey & Company where she was an engagement manager in the Silicon Valley office. She previously served as Director of Operations at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (formerly Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative), where she launched several field operations across Africa and helped lead the organization's growth from a start-up into a global institution with 500 staff and volunteers. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.

  • Lydia TalaSenior Field Officer -- Lydia holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Egerton University. Lydia is GiveDirectly's longest-standing staff member in Kenya and has made important contributions to the growth of its field operations since 2011. She previously worked with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as Voter Registration Assistant and Support Elections Trainer. She has also done field work for ChildFund International and CARE Kenya.

  • Carolina TothKenya Field Director -- Carolina holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University, with a focus on African Development. Her multiple award-winning thesis focused on children's homes in Nairobi and UNICEF's cash transfer program for orphans and vulnerable children. She previously worked as a Business Analyst for McKinsey & Company. As Kenya Field Director, Carolina manages teams of up to thirty field officers who help implement GiveDirectly's operational model.