Charity Reports

Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP)

Published on
Written by
Tom Barnes

The Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) is a Charity Entrepreneurship-incubated charity advocating for the elimination of lead in paint in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Removing lead from paint reduces neurological damage in children, improving health and future earnings. LEEP’s advocacy has already seen success in Malawi, suggesting paint regulation advocacy is an effective means to reducing lead exposure.

What is this funding opportunity?

LEEP is rapidly expanding its operations, with the aim of working in 17 countries (predominantly in Africa) by August 2023.

In each country, LEEP:

  1. Engages with key stakeholders;
  2. Conducts market studies on lead levels in paint;
  3. Shares the study results with government, seeking commitments from them to introduce/enforce regulations;
  4. Assists manufacturers in switching to lead-free paint;
  5. Conducts a follow-up study to ensure lead paint has been removed.

Why does Founders Pledge recommend funding this work?

Lead exposure is a major problem, relative to the philanthropic attention it gets. 1 in 3 children in LMICs are poisoned with lead. It costs $1 trillion in economic damage, yet less than $10 million is spent on fixing the problem.

LEEP’s advocacy has been very successful. Thanks to LEEP’s action, the Malawian government is now testing paint for lead, where previously the government was conducting no monitoring at all.

LEEP is extremely cost-effective. We estimate that it costs $1 to prevent one child’s lead exposure (in expectation). As of August 2022, that makes LEEP one of our most cost-effective charities.

LEEP has a stand-out team. Its directors and advisors have broad skills and experience in policy advocacy, research, medicine, consulting, operations and non-profit startups.

What would they do with more funding?

  1. Ensure compliance in existing countries (e.g. Malawi);
  2. Begin advocacy in new countries (with a target of 17 by August 2023);
  3. Explore other sources of lead (e.g. spices, used batteries and cookware).

Tom Barnes

Tom joined Founders Pledge in September 2021 as a Junior Researcher. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Warwick, getting involved with the Effective Altruism university group. After graduating in July 2021, he interned with Rethink Priorities, researching various longtermist causes.

Outside of EA, he enjoys philosophy chats, maps and cats.