The Frontier of Neoliberal Aid
Cash transfers and basic income are central innovations in contemporary development interventions, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. While basic income programs have taken a variety of forms, we understand little about relationships between these contrasting models and their impacts. My study will investigate a Silicon Valley-based NGO that distributes basic income in Kenya, called GiveDirectly. I strive to understand the organization’s distinct configuration of cash transfer that involves an NGO-citizen-state alliance as a social contract. First, I will investigate how the ideas of GiveDirectly's founders were translated into a particular form of cash transfer. What sort of discussions, debates, and opinions went into this project? How did the translation-institutionalization process occur, putting theory into practice? How do these opinions continue to shape the organization and its work? Second, I will investigate the relationship between this form of cash transfer and its donor community, based largely in Silicon Valley. Third, I will explore the ways in which gender shapes the institutional structure of GiveDirectly and its relationship with donors.