In 2011, four American graduate students set up ‘GiveDirectly’, which collects public donations online and makes direct cash transfers of $1000 over ten months to some of the poorest households in Western Kenya, no-strings-attached. The initiative targets homes made from non-durable material; mud or thatch, rather than cement or iron – the average recipient family lives on 65 cents per person per day, and two-fifths have had a child go without food for at least a full day in the previous month. ‘GiveDirectly’ is an alternative to traditional aid projects distributing non-financial gifts or offering conditional cash transfers (requiring families to, say, enrol children into school or get them vaccinated), understanding that the most impoverished places on earth may well lack basic infrastructure like schools and hospitals. Having transferred purchasing power onto recipients, families can decide what to buy themselves, rather than having arms-length donors guessing on their behalf. Findings show that the money is mainly spent on food and home improvements (such as installing weather-proof tin roofs) but is also used to pay off historic debts, invest in local businesses (from agriculture to clothing), or put into savings.