Jon Servello

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The Global TB Dictionary has been released ahead of World TB Day 2024: https://tbdictionary.org/

The search function could be a little more sensitive, but otherwise it's a good resource. I also wish I knew the reasoning behind using all these acronyms. Maybe it's just by virtue of its age, being isolated in 1882 -- 142 years is a lot of time to accrue terminology...

Thanks Nicholas. I'm still advocating for this and submitted a more specific project proposal to several EA-affiliated organisations in late 2022. I understand at least two of these organisations are exploring TB as a potential cause area. 

I would love to join the Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Programme with this idea, and have also considered founding a charity independently. Perhaps one day I can direct you to an organisation I'm directly involved in.

Until then, a good first reference might be the grantees of the TB REACH programme, listed (alongside the results of their grants) in this PDF: https://stoptb.org/assets/documents/resources/publications/technical/TB_Case_Studies.pdf. Another idea would be to donate directly to the Stop TB Partnership, part of UNOPS.

These are mostly larger organisations that have directed some of their resources to case detection, rather than dedicated charities. As far as I know, no such single-focus charity exists (yet).

To echo this, I'm grateful to Skye for raising the topic here and providing an opening for the discussion between harfe, Lauren, and Linch.  I hope that Skye wasn't dissuaded by the criticism, because I think there is a strong case that certain aspects of children's advocacy are (currently) more tractable in developed countries. We have lots of examples of changes to the law in favour of children happening via established institutions.

Differences between regional legal systems need to be taken into account, but to provide an interesting example from the UK: section 58 of the Children Act 2004 specifies that hitting a child can be justified by a parent or guardian as long as it is "reasonable punishment" and doesn't amount to "actual bodily harm" (long-term injury). This was revoked by the Children Act 2019 in Scotland and in 2020 in Wales,  with each taking a couple of years to come into effect. Now children effectively have the same legal protection from assault and battery as adults in these countries, including from their parents. Any EAs based in the UK with any inclination towards national-scale advocacy  would be well placed to push for similar changes in England and Northern Ireland.

How these acts came about might also make an interesting case study for possible replication in other places -- and to determine if these problems are "neglected" enough for EAs. I haven't read the history, but I suspect national charities like Barnado's and the NSPCC along with  international organisations like UNICEF were involved to varying degrees. 

I also agree with the broader thrust of Skye's post that children almost universally lack the legal and political framework to represent their own interests, so it is up to adults to advocate for them. Even if we can show that conditions are worse for children along most metrics in developing countries (as Lauren puts forward well), I still think  children would be worth advocating for in developed countries for the right EAs.

Mainly that forum karma was highly predictive of winners when you include honourable mentions, even moreso than Manifold Markets. It could be for several reasons; forum votes were taken into consideration, there was a high degree of alignment between forum voters and the Open Philanthropy panel on the known call criteria (slightly more than MM, another related community), karma acted as a proxy for something else that factored into selection like timing of the submission, general community interest, familiarity with the topic, or true quality of the submissions, or it could be chance.

As an entrant, I am very interested to know whether any of the above played a role. Also, Open Philanthropy have mentioned this was an experiment, so it would be great to know whether anything unexpected came up during their decision-making.

This makes me interested to know whether EA Forum engagement and the (real or perceived) popularity of these topics among the community contributed to Open Philanthropy's decision-making process. 

I am hugely grateful for the opportunity and participation award, but I'm sure like many other contest entrants, I  submitted my entry in the belief that my cause area (TB) met and even exceeded the neglectedness, tractability, and cost-effectiveness criteria. The above post suggests to me that maybe other criteria were used. Can entrants expect anything in the way of feedback or some general comments on how entries were selected?

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to Open Philanthropy for taking this initiative. I would welcome another like it in the future.

Thanks for your comment. Just a sidenote to your point: I think it's a curious element of TB history that we've known about the dangers of drug-resistant strains since at least the 1950s, not just as a potential future threat but right away in real world practice; the reason streptomycin is combined with other powerful antibiotics (e.g. isoniazid and others) as part of standard TB treatment is because that's the only way to completely clear all bacilli. I wrote a bit about this in my piece for Metaculus: https://www.metaculus.com/notebooks/12130/from-reduction-to-elimination-replicating-the-successes-of-historical-tuberculosis-control/

I haven't looked into projections of MDR-TB specifically, but this would definitely be a worthwhile line of inquiry. Interestingly, a quick search shows some advocacy for combined TB and AMR control efforts in LMICs: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5840628/

I agree, I would also choose other interventions over manufacture of rifapentine in Europe, though I am not sure it's likely to happen without incentives for Sanofi. As helpful as it might be in countries like Moldova, Estonia, etc., I think the preceding cause areas would have a far greater impact (they're listed in order of my best guess at their value). 

I added this mainly because I wanted to include a variety of options. Open Philanthropy may opt for a less effective but more tractable option, for example. It also shows just how many possible avenues there are to contribute to TB efforts.

I would suggest that the EA definition of "impact" has been developed to address a certain set of problems with measurable outcomes, making it useful but incredibly narrow.

My personal belief is that there is a lot of scope for other forms of impact that are mostly or entirely distinct from Effective Altruism. I know it's been written that effective altruists love systemic change, and indeed many people affiliated with EA pursue such change, but it's not the only (or, in my opinion, even the primary) mechanism by which systemic change can/will occur.

Gandhi and Mandela were political actors who achieved far-reaching impact by dint of their positioning within a particular institution or system, and then radically opposing it on principle. Many of their actions fall very far outside the framework of most EA organisations for reasons I don't think I need to go into very much. A brief overview of either of their biographies with the question "would an EA philosophy have advised this decision?" illustrates this point. 

Coming at it from the other direction, I see EA as a philosophy dedicated to applying certain rationalist ideas and approaches to specific moral and ethical problems. As an institution, though, what is the structure of CEA and its offshoots? How does this affect the questions it attempts to address, and what are the assumptions of these questions? 

80k provides the easiest example of what I mean; it's very clearly aimed at university graduates, overwhelmingly from wealthy countries, with enough material, cultural, and intellectual resources to achieve some measure of change through an impactful career. This is excellent, but a rather specific way of achieving impact, and it operates with a number of prerequisites. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with EA's existence, and I fully support the basic idea of rationally figuring out to do the most good if you are coming from a particular starting position. I also think that EA currently cannot begin to address the kind of questions that motivate actors to become extraordinarily impactful in other ways, like the standout non-EAs on your list. 

To be clear: one form of impact doesn't preclude pursuing another. If I were to give advice it would be to pursue impact on multiple levels, 'EA' and not, quantifiable and not.

This is one of my long term goals. I know JPAL utilises volunteers locally, but I don't think there are any programmes to send volunteers from other countries to sites. Field researchers are employed by the organisation.

Thanks for sharing this. As a previous volunteer I understand where you're coming from completely. Unfortunately the scene you described in the woman's house is one that occurs even in the United Kingdom. The conversation you had with the site visitor is quite moving, if you remember anything more specific about her answers I'd be interested to read them.

I have been doing some research on volunteer programmes, especially those that take volunteers abroad and the 'voluntourism' industry. Like Liam, I'm wondering if there is scope for EA to compile a list of the more effective volunteer organisations.

From what I can tell, the key difference seems to be in whether the charity is searching specifically for volunteers with skills that are not locally available.

I am considering taking a voluntary placement with VSO in 2018, one that I have selected for its emphasis on skills and anti-poverty goals. Any other recommendations or comments would be very welcome.

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