Philosophers Against Malaria: Fundraising Competition Across Departments


What good can philosophers do? Let’s see.

As in years past, Malte Hendrickx, a philosophy graduate student at the University of Michigan, has set up a charity “competition” for philosophy departments to raise money for the Against Malaria Foundation.

Here’s what he says about it:

Mirror, mirror on the wall—who’s the most virtuous department of them all?

As in previous years, there’s an end of year interdepartmental competitive fundraiser for the Against Malaria Foundation. This year’s fundraiser runs until December 24th. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of donations go to the purchase of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets.  

Roughly 250,000,000 people fall sick from Malaria each year, roughly 625,000 of which are killed. More than three quarters of these deaths are children under the age of 5, who are especially vulnerable to infection. These deaths are as tragic as they are preventable: long-lasting insecticidal nets cost around $2 and provide effective protection to the households that receive them.

The Against Malaria Foundation has an excellent track record in distributing such bed nets. In the last 19 years, the 250 million nets they funded and distributed protected 450 million people. It is estimated that this translates to roughly 185,000 deaths prevented, and 100 to 185 million cases of malaria averted. It is also estimated to have led to an improvement of US$6.5 billion in local economies since malaria is a crucial factor in reducing the productivity of those it affects. AMF has been rated as a top charity by GiveWell, a charity evaluator, each year since 2009.

You can take part in the fundraiser and see the current tally here. If you want to add your department to the list, you can email [email protected] with the name of the department you want to add or do it yourself by using this link. Sharing the fundraiser via social media, mailing lists, or other means is highly encouraged!

At the end of the competition, I’ll post about the results.

 

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naive skeptic
naive skeptic
7 months ago

So… Re-creating the Effective Altruist movement?
Could be interesting. Malaria is certainly a worthwhile cause.

Brian Weatherson
Reply to  naive skeptic
7 months ago

Not re-creating – Malte has been doing this for a while, and it’s excellent work.

It’s more accurate to think of it as being (one manifestation of) the still existing part of the pre-longtermist Effective Altruist movement. I think Barry Lam had a podcast episode where he called this EA 1.0. It’s a much easier movement to be sympathetic to than EA 2.0, which is all about x-risks.

Malte Hendrickx
Malte Hendrickx
Reply to  naive skeptic
7 months ago

You may be happy to hear that Global Health and Development remains the cause that receives the most funding in Effective Altruism, even as longtermist causes gain prominence in media (and funding).
Regardless of EA, I consider it a worthwhile and uncontroversial means of reducing easily preventable suffering and death, so I’m very happy philosophers are pitching in every year.

David Thorstad
David Thorstad
Reply to  naive skeptic
7 months ago

Can we make this less about effective altruism and more about malaria? I’m not terribly fond of effective altruism, but I’m also not terribly fond of malaria. Malaria is a preventable disease that affects some of the most disadvantaged groups on earth. We know how to prevent the majority of infections, it’s quite cheap to do so, and AMF is the world leader in this area.

Ian
Ian
7 months ago

I’m waiting for the Journal of Controversial Ideas paper on “Philosophers For Malaria”

Richard Y Chappell
Reply to  Ian
7 months ago

Already done! (Though iirc the author didn’t make the implication entirely explicit.)
https://journalofcontroversialideas.org/article/2/2/206