Against Malaria Foundation
The Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) is a United Kingdom-based charity that provides long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to populations at high risk of malaria, primarily in Africa. As of July 2016, the foundation has raised $86.6 million and distributed or committed to fund 19.3 million LLINs since its founding in 2004. AMF estimates that, as of July 2016, the average cost of an LLIN is $2.50 (which does not include distribution costs; GiveWell's estimates include this cost).
LLINs are distributed through partnerships with the International Red Cross, the Malaria Consortium, and others, with partners responsible for all costs of distribution. Distributions include malaria education for the local population, and they are documented through reports, photos, and video. Post-distribution check-ups are carried out 6, 12, 18, 24, and 30 months after the initial distribution to assess net usage and conditions.:4
AMF has eight trustees and an advisory committee drawn from leading malaria experts around the world. The charity is registered in the United Kingdom and governed by the laws of England and Wales. It is also registered in the USA, Germany, Canada, Japan, and other countries.
GiveWell, an independent charity evaluator, named AMF its top-rated charity worldwide in 2011 and 2012, but removed it from its list of charities in November 2013 due to room for more funding-related issues. It was once again recommended by GiveWell in 2014. In 2015, GiveWell again listed AMF as a top charity, recommended a $22.8 million grant from Good Ventures to AMF, and identified an additional funding gap of $75.4 million for the organization, of which $27.5 million would be needed for the organization's planned activities for the coming year. They identified AMF's funding gap as the most critical of the funding gaps of all their top charities, and their recommended allocation to donors was to give all their donation to AMF. The status was reaffirmed in the mid-2016 and November 2016 top charities refresh, with updates to the estimated funding gap.
The Against Malaria Foundation was set up in August 2004 with the purpose of handling money raised through the World Swim Against Malaria, a global fundraising event scheduled for December 3, 2005. More than 250,000 people participated in the swim, which raised $1.3 million to buy mosquito nets. The money was used to buy 270,000 nets, which were distributed to protect an estimated 540,000 people from the risk of mosquito-borne malaria infection.
The World Swim Against Malaria was the brainchild of Rob Mather, a London-based strategy consultant. Mather had earlier organized a swim to raise money for a 2-year-old girl who was badly burned in a house fire. Held in December 2003, the "Swim for Terri" started as a three-person fundraiser and grew to include 10,000 swimmers in 73 countries.
In May 2016, AMF began accepting Bitcoins for donations.
One hundred percent of funds raised through AMF's website are used to purchase bednets, according to the foundation's founders. Distribution and education costs are covered by distribution partners. Administrative costs are covered by the charity's trustees and a small group of private donors. The foundation also benefits from in-kind contributions of services from lawyers, accountants, advertising agencies, professional translators, web technologists, and others. In 2010, AMF took in £1.3 million and spent £1.6 million, with £1.4 million going directly to charitable activities.
- A distribution partner submits to AMF a proposal to distribute mosquito nets in a targeted high-risk area.
- AMF's Malaria Advisory Group reviews the proposal, with requests for further information if necessary. The Group approves, amends, or rejects the proposal based on available funding and the needs of the target area.
- AMF and the distribution partner sign a contract laying out each party's obligations.
- AMF raises the funds for the nets and purchases them directly from the manufacturer, while the distribution partner covers all non-net costs. The nets constitute the majority of the distribution's costs. In some cases, the partner will raise funds through AMF's website, in which case all funds raised are ring-fenced for the partner's proposed distribution. All details of each distribution are made available to the public on dedicated "distribution pages".
- After sufficient funds have been raised, the distribution partner arranges the distribution logistics with the targeted community and pays for the nets to be shipped and stored nearby.
- The distribution partner distributes the nets in the targeted community, and offers education on proper usage of the nets as well as general malaria education. As per the agreement with AMF, the partner documents the distribution via reports, photo, and video.
- The distribution partner files a post-distribution report with AMF.
- The partner carries out post-distribution surveys 6, 18, 30, and 42 months after the distribution to monitor net usage and conditions.
- The partner collects malaria case rate data on a quarterly basis, and emails the information to AMF.
Partners and supporters
AMF is supported by more than 100 corporations. AMF's principal partners are PwC, Citigroup, Speedo, Microsoft, Allen & Overy, Attenda, Vestergaard Frandsen, and Sumitomo Chemical. Speedo also partnered with AMF's precursor organization, World Swim Against Malaria, and continues to raise money for bednets through swimming events.
AMF's principal distribution partners are Population Services International, the Malaria Consortium, Partners In Health, the Red Cross, World Vision, and Concern Universal. Sixty organizations fundraise for bednets using AMF's website or their own.
Charity evaluator GiveWell listed AMF as its top-rated charity in 2011 and 2012, removed it from the top-rated charity list in November 2013, and reinstated it as a top-rated charity in 2014.
Details of GiveWell's reviews are below.
|Review date||Estimated cost per long-lasting insecticide net distributed||Estimated cost per life saved|
|June 2016||$4.47 (for distributions being considered in the near future)||$3,500|
|November 2015||$5.31 (but possibly higher for some distributions)||$2,838 (assuming the $5.31 figure)|
|November 2014||$5.80 (averaged across different distribution types)||$3,340|
|November 2012||$5.15 (marginal), $5.54 (total)||$2,300 (using marginal cost), $2,500 (using total cost)|
|November 2011||$5.15 (marginal), $5.54 (total)||$1,600 (using marginal cost), $1,700 (using total cost)|
2016 end of year review
In November 2016, GiveWell updated its review of AMF and published an updated list of its top charities, along with grant recommendations made to Good Ventures for these top charities. AMF was in the list of top charities.
2016 mid-year review
In June 2016, GiveWell published an updated review of AMF and published an update to its top charity list based on that. AMF was in the list of top charities, and GiveWell recommended to donors to allocate all their money to AMF, whose funding gap GiveWell considered most pressing.
Using its room for more funding philosophy, GiveWell identified the following funding gaps for AMF (note that totals may not exactly match due to rounding).
|Level||Meaning||Additional funding gap||Cumulative funding gap|
|Execution Level 1||More than 50% chance of not being funding-bottlenecked over the coming year||$11.3 million||$11.3 million|
|Execution Level 2||More than 80% chance of not being funding-bottlenecked over the coming year||$7.3 million||$18.6 million|
|Execution Level 3||More than 95% chance of not being funding-bottlenecked over the coming year||$10.5 million||$29.1 million|
2015 review and continued inclusion in top charity list
In November 2015, GiveWell updated its review of AMF and published an updated list of its top charities, along with grant recommendations made to Good Ventures for these top charities. AMF was in the top charity list, and GiveWell recommended a $22.8 million grant to the organization. Moreover, GiveWell recommended that individual donors who wished to follow its recommended allocation donate all their marginal funds to AMF, since it had the largest clear funding gap after accounting for the grants being made by Good Ventures.
Using its room for more funding philosophy, GiveWell identified the following funding gaps for AMF (note that totals may not exactly match due to rounding).
|Level||Funding gap||Part of funding gap covered by Good Ventures||Cumulative funding gap||Part of cumulative funding gap covered by Good Ventures||Part of cumulative funding gap left for other donors|
|Capacity-relevant (crucial for the organization's development and success; if they don't get this their future is in jeopardy)||$6.5 million||$6.5 million (100%)||$6.5 million||$6.5 million (100%)||0|
|Execution Level 1 (the amount over and above the capacity-relevant amount that the charity would need to execute projects in the coming year)||$43.8 million||$16.3 million (37%)||$50.3 million||$22.8 million (45.3%)||$27.5 million (GiveWell considers this funding gap the most important of all its top charity funding gaps this year, and does not expect the full funding gap to be closed. Hence it recommends all donations be directed to AMF).|
|Execution Level 2 (if the organization has this amount over and above Execution Level 1, there is a ~80% chance they will not be bottlenecked for funding)||$24 million||0 (0%)||$74.2 million||$22.8 million (30.7%)||$51.4 million|
|Execution Level 3 (if the organization has this amount over and above Execution Level 2, there is a ~95% chance they will not be bottlenecked for funding)||$24 million||0 (0%)||$98.2 million||$22.8 million (23.2%)||$75.4 million|
2014 review and reinstatement to top charity status
In November 2014, GiveWell published an updated review of AMF. Based on this, in December 2014, GiveWell reinstated Against Malaria Foundation as one of four top charities, citing the fact that AMF had successfully "committed the bulk of its current funds" to distributions of long-lasting insecticidal nets, an expectation that AMF's programmes would continue to be exceptionally cost-effective, and AMF's willingness to transparently communicate its successes and failures. GiveWell also named Deworm the World Initiative, GiveDirectly, and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative as top charities, stating that "reasonable people could reach a very wide variety of conclusions regarding which charity accomplishes the most good per dollar".
Based on GiveWell's recommendation, Good Ventures donated $5 million to AMF. Taking into account the Good Ventures donation, GiveWell said that, if they were to control the allocation of marginal donations, they would allocate 67% to AMF.
2013 review update and removal from list of top charities
Rob Mather of AMF stated that GiveWell did not take into account that AMF had funds left due to concerns of theft in Sierra Leone.
2012 review and top charity status
In November 2012, GiveWell named AMF as its top-rated charity for the second year in a row, along with GiveDirectly (ranked #2) and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (ranked #3). GiveWell also published a new lengthy review of AMF.
2011 review and top charity status
2010 review and Silver Medal status
GiveWell published its first review of AMF in 2010. In the review, GiveWell estimated that, "when ITN distributions are effective, $182–$1126 prevents a death from malaria and prevents 320 less severe malaria episodes." This is a higher level of cost-effectiveness than GiveWell's current estimate, but, at the time, appeared less cost-effective than GiveWell's top-rated charity VillageReach. GiveWell gave AMF a Silver Medal status and ranked it #3 in its list of top charities, behind VillageReach and the Stop TB Partnership.
Other external reviews
Giving What We Can
In December 2013, shortly after GiveWell delisted AMF from its list of top charities, Giving What We Can published a blog post stating that they continued to stand by AMF as their top recommendation.
The Life You Can Save
The Life You Can Save, a website that advocates the charitable philosophies of Peter Singer, recommends donating to AMF on the grounds that the charity focuses on the world's poorest people and saves a human life for roughly $1,800.
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Running counter on website
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Running counter on website
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- Against Malaria Foundation
- Against Malaria Foundation's Charity Commission page
- World Swim Against Malaria
- Against Malaria Foundation GiveWell's assessment of the Against Malaria Foundation. Includes extensive details about the organization's administration, funding, transparency and effectiveness.
- The Life You Can Save Website for Peter Singer's book The Life You Can Save
- Against Malaria Foundation Ntcheu case study Giving What We Can's account of AMF's distribution in Ntcheu, Malawi, including details of AMF's guiding principles and methodology