Boonin & Singer Raising Funds to Reduce COVID-19’s Impact in Poorer Countries


David Boonin, professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and organizer of the Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy for undergraduates, was hoping to get Peter Singer (Princeton) to participate in one of the seminar’s sessions. But he knew that Singer, who is a very well-known philosopher and in-demand speaker, and who spends a lot of his time working to promote efforts to help the needy, would be hard to get.

So Boonin made Singer the following offer:

He would name a charitable organization of his choosing, pick a dollar amount that he challenged me to raise for that organization, and if I succeeded, he would Zoom in and do a session with our summer seminar students. 

Singer agreed. Here is his response:

OK, David, you’re on. But I’m going to make it challenging for you. You need to raise $10,000 to donate to Development Media International, a top charity recommended by The Life You Can Save and one of GiveWell’s Standout Charities. 

Why DMI, in particular, on this occasion? Because it is uniquely placed to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in some of the world’s poorest countries. DMI is an organization specializing in the use of the media to promote healthy practices in developing countries. It works in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and has experienced teams providing health advice through local radio stations and other media. It has strong relations not only with the media in those countries, but also with the government health departments. In the current crisis, we all know how important it is to provide everyone with information about how to stay safe and reduce the chances of getting the novel coronavirus. In affluent countries, we are bombarded with media providing us with this information. In the countries in which DMI operates, however, and especially in rural areas, information sources are scarce. Moreover, when people in these regions do become seriously ill with Covid-19, most are unable to get hospital care. Hence prevention is by far the most cost-effective means of saving lives and DMI is, in my opinion, the organization best placed to do this. 

This effort combines two good causes—philosophical education and public health in developing countries. To take part in it, you can make a donation through this link. It’s important that you use that link (or click on the image below) so that the Summer Seminar in Philosophy gets credit for the contributions, and forward a copy of your receipt to Professor Boonin at [email protected]. Thanks.

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