Aid Optimization

post by emmaq · 2019-05-06T23:05:43.999Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW · 1 comments

Hi everyone! I'm new here and was recommended by someone to share my message on this forum - if this is not the right place to post this, please feel free to delete it!

Is anyone here involved in humanitarian organizations or know people who are?

Our team recently did a project on optimizing aid distribution to reduce sanitation-related illnesses and malaria and became the first undergraduate team to win the largest student data science competition in the world. We would love to support humanitarian efforts in any way we can and would be happy to discuss our current approach as well as continue modifying/refining our analysis to tailor to specific efforts. We have a complete end-to-end analysis and uncovered some interesting insights on optimal aid distribution that we’d like to share with relevant organizations; however, our current report is done within the competition time constraint, so there are many improvements we intend on making as well.

From the very beginning we wanted to target a problem with high impact instead of one that is easiest to derive insights from (we can pursue any problem statement related to the given topic), and we hope to provide a general framework for policy makers, therefore paying special attention to conducting rigorous causal analysis and using interpretable machine learning. Due to scope of our analysis we ran into many problems ranging from lack of data to high dimensionality, so we came up with some creative modeling and optimization approaches that ultimately won us the grand prize.

If anyone is interested in contacting us or have contacts we should talk to about this, please message me! There are definitely many improvements that we still need to make, but we’d be happy to share our analyses/findings so far and discuss future directions. Thank you for your time :)


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comment by aarongertler · 2019-05-07T02:01:48.667Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · EA · GW

As far as I know, there aren't many people on the EA Forum who work directly on sanitation-related illnesses and malaria.

However, in my experience, EA-recommended charities working in these areas tend to be pretty responsive. To find charities that do unusually good work, see lists from GiveWell and The Life You Can Save. Then just reach out through their websites and see if they're interested.

I'd recommend presenting your work very neutrally, including both its strengths and flaws, so that the charities can make informed decisions. You should also strongly consider putting it online so that you don't need to send the same materials to many different people, and so that you can get feedback from the EA community if you want it.