When I created Vida Plena, it was clear that one of our key principles needed to be the thoughtful use of the resources entrusted to us. I’ve been part of too many organizations in the past that – while based on good intentions – really had no way of knowing how much our work was helping people. I think very likely we were doing some good, but we weren’t making too of an effort to figure out if it was actually worth all the energy and money we were spending….

While we’re now just starting to test if Vida Plena can achieve all the good we hope to, we still wanted to put together our best guesses of our future impacts through a calculation called a cost-effective analysis. These types of reports are especially useful to potential donors who want to be able to compare programs – sort of like an investor looking at a company’s prospectus.  

In our analysis, we decided to focus on a type of public health metric called a WELLBY (wellbeing-adjusted life year) which is used to compare people’s own ratings impact of different illnesses and disabilities on their lives.  

Using this metric, we estimate it will cost $17 to improve a person’s life by one WELLBY. As this number doesn’t mean much by itself, a commonly used point comparison is the impact that can be achieved by simply just giving someone a cash transfer, which is what the organization GiveDirectly does.  Many people consider this approach to be the baseline for cost-effectiveness comparisons.   In this evaluation, we expect that Vida Plena is 8 times more cost-effective than GiveDirectly– which we are proud to say is something considered to be quite a good value for people who carefully study these metrics.   

While of course I hope you read our full report for a more detailed explanation of the logic behind WELLBY’s and how these calculations are made, the main takeaway I would like for you end with is that we are carefully considering not just is this program working, but also are we using donor money as effectively as possible.

On that topic – we’ve received the exciting news that, thanks to a donor in the Mental Health Funding CircleVida Plena is eligible for up to $44,000 in matching funds- meaning that every dollar we raise between now and June 1st will be doubled. This is a really great moment to use this opportunity to access this funding, so please let me know if you know anyone who might be interested in helping make this happen!

Ok, the fact that you have made it this far says you really care about the mission of Vida Plena.  Thank you for being here.


Saludos from Quito,