Finding Effective Charities in Southeast Asia

EffectiveGiving.Asia is a project that seeks to find effective charities in Southeast Asia.  

We want to identify some of the best giving opportunities that targets cost-effective and pressing poverty-related issues in the region. 

We hope that this pilot research project can lead to more opportunities for effective giving – helping donors be informed about how they can stretch their per-dollar impact, to help more people. 


"Imagine what it’s like to be a man, a woman, or child; living on less than USD1.50 per day, who doesn’t have enough to eat, and has no access to clean water.
This is the situation faced by more than a billion people in the world right now."

Our focus is on the poor living in low-income countries in Southeast Asia.

There are many pressing issues in this region which need attention. We are starting with international health and development as our main areas of focus.

We've found that child malnutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are the most cost-effective target areas for saving lives in the region. More than 30% of children are stunted in Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar.1 Many more die due to inadequate nutrition, clean water and hygienic conditions.2

It is well-established that many basic interventions have been shown to be effective in prevention and treatment.3 Giving to effective charities working in these areas would mean saving many children's lives.

Photo by  Larm Rmah  on  Unsplash

Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash


From the end of the neonatal period and through the first 5 years of life, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.

Malnutrition is the underlying contributing factor, making children more vulnerable to severe diseases.

Malnourished children, particularly those with severe acute malnutrition (SAM), have a higher risk of death from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malaria. Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45% of deaths in children under 5 years of age.4

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), focused efforts are needed in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia to prevent 80 per cent of these deaths.5

Photo by  Abigail Keenan  on  Unsplash

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Childhood diarrhoea is one of the major causes of preventable deaths in children. Risk factors include unsafe drinking water and food, and poor hygiene practices.

Diarrhoea is a leading killer of children, accounting for approximately 8 per cent of all deaths among children under age 5 worldwide in 2016. Most deaths from diarrhoea occur among children less than 2 years of age living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. 6

Prevention measures include having safe water and food, adequate sanitation and hygiene, adequate nutrition and vaccination.7


1: World Bank Data. 2017. "Prevalence of stunting, height for age (% of children under 5)." Accessed 23 May 2018.

2: World Health Organization. 31 Oct 2017. "Children: reducing mortality - World Health Organization." Accessed 17 May 2018.

3: Black, Robert E., Cesar G. Victora, Susan P. Walker, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Parul Christian, Mercedes De Onis, Majid Ezzati et al. "Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries." The lancet 382, no. 9890 (2013): 427-451.

4: Rice, Amy L., Lisa Sacco, Adnan Hyder, and Robert E. Black. "Malnutrition as an underlying cause of childhood deaths associated with infectious diseases in developing countries." Bulletin of the World Health Organization 78, no. 10 (2000): 1207-1221.

5: World Health Organization. 31 Oct 2017. "Children: reducing mortality - World Health Organization." Accessed 17 May 2018.

6: Ibid.

7: UNICEF. Mar 2018. "Diarrhoeal Disease: Current Status + Progress". Accessed 17 May 2018.


Share with us

If you are interested in this project, have tips and resources for us on where we should look, or want to be kept up to date with our findings, drop us a note.
We hope to inspire more effective giving and support endeavors that can make a greater impact in others lives.

Are you an NGO that targets these causes?

If you are and would like to share with us your work, we will be interested to hear more from you.