Randy Mayeux sent an interesting essay from Slate.com my way recently. In it Matthew Yglesias argues that the best way to really assist the world's poor is to provide direct cash transfers to them.
I find Yglesias' analysis fascinating and, in may ways, counter intuitive to much thinking in the nation today.
In much the same way that "housing first" provides a super-charged solution to homelessness, the idea of "cash first" offers up life, incentive and initiative for recipients. Take a look at the article here.