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Ebay founder to give Kenyans free money in universal basic income study

A charity organisation in planning to give poor people in selected Kenyan rural villages free money with no strings attached so that they can supplement their incomes and improve their living conditions.

Pierre Omidyar the co-founder of eBay, a giant online shopping website, is set to donate a daily income to some 26, 000 poor people living in 200 rural villages in Kenya for a period of twelve years.

According tothe Business Insider websiteMr Omdiyar will be doing this under the charity GiveDirectly which is part of the Omdiyar Network, as an experiment to see if giving people free money can help alleviate poverty, improve the economic standing of poor people and generally lead a better life.

The programme has already kicked off in one village.

It is intending to give those selected Sh75 a day for a period of 12 years in what is aimed to test on whether giving people free money can help improve their livelihoods.

The payments will however not be uniform as 40 villages will receive the money for a long term period of 12 years, 80 villages will receive it in a short term period of two years while the third group of 80 villages will receive a lump some payoff.

The GiveDirectly programme is based on the idea of a of universal basic income and seeks to ensure a regular, long term, reasonable amount that is available to everyone.

“Even though we know that cash transfers in developing countries help reduce poverty and improve outcomes for families, these have not been tested on a long-term basis or with a universal beneficiary pool.” Mr Omdiyar’s handlers wrote in a Medium Post of why the programme is important.

“Cash transfer programs can potentially help to address bigger issues facing our society, such as rising income volatility, lack of secure benefits, social instability, and the changing nature of work,” they added.

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