For the last 14 months, a group of 95 people in a Kenyan village have received about $22 a month from the charity GiveDirectly.
The money, which villagers are free to use however they want, is part of an experiment in universal basic income, or UBI. The idea is a radical solution to poverty that involves people getting regular paychecks, in exchange for nothing, to help them cover basic costs.
In November 2017, GiveDirectly expanded the 95-person trial to a much larger study of 16,000 people, many of whom will receive money for the next 12 years.
Villagers in the original trial have reported life-changing improvements from the money. Here’s what a handful of people had to say.
Margaret Abagi, 70, has used the money for home repairs and medication.
Abagi has long had difficulty tending to her farm and finding relief from her stomach aches, which she suspects are signs of ulcers.
Basic income has given her the ability to stop asking her son, a professor, for money. With help from her caregiver, she can travel into town to visit the hospital or pay for materials if parts of her mud house begin to crumble.
“I know I will get better because there is money that I’m going to use for the hospital bill,” Abagi said.
Peres Riako Onywero Obambo, 75, no longer has to beg her daughter for money.
Obambo watches after two orphaned girls and helps care for her adult son, who has an undiagnosed mental disorder. She said working for money in her old age isn’t always an option.
The basic income money has allowed her to stop asking her daughter, who works in Nairobi, for money. Read More Here