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EIGHT and without conditions: a development project out of the norm


Giving money to people in extreme poverty with no strings attached seems to be a rather unusual way to help people in need but has proven positive impact through EIGHT.

The first pilot project ran in Busibi, Uganda, between 2017 – 2018, where each inhabitant received monthly cash transfers: €16 per adult and €8 per child. A basic cell phone was the only means needed to enable mobile money transfers. Such an initiative drove the population to build confidence and undertake their own decisions in starting something for themselves. A chicken farm or shops in the village are some of the promising results which in consequence have made more people willing to send their children to school.

Therefore, in 2021, a second pilot project kicked-off in Lutala, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), focusing on people living in Artisanal Scale Mining (ASM) communities to find out if with unconditional cash transfers inhabitants can be given other choices and a meaningful change. Even though the DRC is one of the richest countries in terms of mineral wealth, it does not contribute to local development and is particularly affected by poverty. ASM extraction in the DRC is often related as a matter of survival and these activities too often entail child labor and unacceptable practices in terms of health and safety. Umicore as part of its sustainable and ethical sourcing commitment also supports EIGHT through its own donations joining forces with Proximus on the Don’t Miss the Call urban mining campaign.

“With this help, we have succeeded in undertaking business, a small commercial activity, but also this assistance, has helped us to buy the materials for our fishpond, which we hope to create after one year.”

“With the intervention of the unconditional aid project, we bought a screen, finalized the finishing work on our house, but also bought a mattress.”

Recently, Eight has announced the scale-up of the project in the same region, in the Kalima, Maniema province, to provide the entire region with a basic income boost for two years. In this case adults will receive USD 20 and young people under 18 will receive USD 10 a month. Monitoring the effects will be extremely important, such as reducing child labor, increasing happiness levels and its influence on freedom of choice and in consequence the impact on education, health, entrepreneurship, and collective action.

EIGHT is one of the many different initiatives that hopes to contribute to the well-being of mining communities in the DRC. Together, we aim to take the children out of the mines.  

Read more on EIGHT

  • Press release

    Universal basic income project expands to more regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo