Give Cash, Proverb Contest

Give Directly is looking for a proverb to promote the idea of giving directly:

The most common critique of giving cash without conditions is a fear of dependency, which comes in the form of: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

We’ve tried to disabuse folks of this paternalistic idea by showing that often people in poverty know how to fish but cannot afford the boat. Or they don’t want to fish; they want to sell cassava. Also, we’re not giving fish; we’re giving money, and years after getting it, people are better able to feed themselves. Oh, and even if you do teach them skills, it’s less effective than giving cash. Phew!

Yet, despite our efforts, the myth remains.

The one thing we haven’t tried: fighting proverb with (better) proverb. That’s where you come in. We’re crowdsourcing ideas that capture the dignity and logic of giving directly.

Submit your direct giving proverb.

The best suggestions are not a slogan, but a saying — simple, concrete, evocative (e.g.). Submit your ideas by next Friday, March 3, and then we’ll post the top 3 ideas on Twitter for people to vote on the winner.


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