Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Life You Can Save

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The Life You Can Save

Acting Now to End World Poverty

by Peter Singer

The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer X
The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2010, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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Charities That Save Lives

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 27,000 children die every day from preventable, poverty-related causes.

The Life You Can Save website has links to relief organizations that Singer has examined for effectiveness and transparency:

  • GiveWell leads the campaign for evaluating the effectiveness of aid organizations – and your donation can go, via GiveWell, to the organization they judge to be most effective.
  • The Fistula Foundation treats the obstetric injury that ruins the lives of young Ethiopian women but can easily be repaired by modern surgical techniques.
  • The Worldwide Fistula Fund provides for the treatment of fistula in poor African countries.
  • A $50 donation to the Fred Hollows Foundation can restore the sight of a person who could not otherwise afford the surgery.
  • Interplast is highly recommended by GiveWell for its life-changing surgery for those with deformities.
  • Partners in Health was founded by Paul Farmer (profiled in Mountains Beyond Mountains) to assist his clinic treating the rural poor in Haiti.
  • For those who believe that there is no solution to poverty without direct efforts to reduce population growth, a donation to the International Planned Parenthood Federation is a good investment.
  • Millennium Promise supports the Millennium Villages Project, led by Jeffrey Sachs, and designed to show that the UN's Millennium Development Goals can be met in rural areas at a modest cost.
  • Namlo International helps people  in remote rural areas of Nepal and Nicaragua to build and run schools for children who would otherwise have no opportunity to get an education.
  • The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF ) undertakes anti-poverty projects aimed at children in many developing countries.
  • Vegfam provides funds for self-supporting sustainable food projects and safe drinking water, in ways that do not exploit animals or the environment.
  • Oxfam International is one of the leading organizations combating poverty in developing countries. 
  • Population Services International (PSI) distributes bednets and condoms in developing countries where malaria and HIV/AIDS are major risks to life. 
  • Opportunity International is a microcredit organization rated highly by GiveWell.
  • Global Giving connects donors with community-based projects in all regions of the world.
  • Transparency International campaigns against corruption - a key cause of poverty in many developing countries.

Learn more about Peter Singer and his other books, notably Animal Liberation.

Article by Jo Perry

This article was originally published in April 2009, and has been updated for the September 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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