Just give money to the poor is an interesting idea. It is like "don't give fish to people, but give money, so they can buy fish and other things they need." Many people disagree with this idea. I had a tough discussion with my classmate on unconditional cash transfer project. The concern of the opponents is very classic, dependency and sustainability. In fact, many development projects also create dependency and not sustainable, even though they label its as sustainable and promoting self-relience projects. Both unconditional cash transfer and other approach have risk of creating dependency and unsustainable project. The other thing is why we should be jealous when poor people get free little money? while at the same time development labors enjoy high salary from development projects by sitting in fancy offices in DC or other capital cities. So, instead of wasting money for complicated projects, why not to try this approach. Having money in your hand increase your capabilities to obtain more functionings. This approach will reduce the power of donor to control the project, since decision will be made in the hands of the people, not the project manager. I am not saying that this project is flawless, however this is worth to try.
The simplest of ideas can still hold much value. The collaborative work of Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos, and David Hulme, "Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South" discusses this revolutionary concept and how some developing countries are simply granting the poor money and watching how they use that money wisely, for education and for businesses to sustain the money they are given. Debating the problems and values of such a simple plan, "Just Give Money to the Poor" is a scholarly and thoughtful read that shouldn't be missed.
This book was useful in compiling recent thinking about development models for the world's poor. Not too technical, this is good for the understanding of policy makers that are interested in the strategic level of engagement in the field. It raises serious questions about decades of international development projects and the usefulness of the West's typical "missionary" approach to exporting solutions to problems of the world's poorest communities.