Mark Muriithi Laichena

Country Director, Give Directly, Kenya

Mark Muriithi Laichena is GiveDirectly’s Kenya Country Director. GiveDirectly is a non-profit that aims to reshape international giving by allowing donors who value transparency, rigorous evaluation, and respect for the poor, to provide cash grants directly to the world’s poorest.

Since launching in 2011, GiveDirectly has raised over $140M and has been celebrated as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company. The Guardian writes “GiveDirectly…has sent shockwaves through the charity sector, while the New York Times Magazine adds “the beautiful thing about GiveDirectly’s approach is that it lets people devise their own path out of poverty.” The growing movement toward cash transfers and GiveDirectly’s leading role in the movement have also been featured by the BBC, The Economist, and other global media.

Mark’s leads the work in Kenya, where GiveDirectly has reached over 50,000 households with unconditional $1,000 grants. A rigorous impact evaluation on the grants in Kenya found resulted in a $270 annual increase in earnings, $430 increase in total assets, $300 increase in nutrition spending, and a significant reduction in stress, with no increase in expenditure on alcohol, tobacco or gambling. In Kenya, GiveDirectly is also beginning enrollment for the world’s largest Universal Basic Income pilot, which will reach 17,000 Kenyans and involves a team of leading scholars.

Prior to GiveDirectly, Mark was a management consultant, working for McKinsey & Company, as an advisor in Kenya’s Ministry of Health, and as a operations transformation coach in New York’s public hospital system. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain scholar.