Singapore makes top 10 most generous countries list for first time

01-Nov-2018 Intellasia | Straits Times | 6:26 AM Print This Post

For the first time, Singapore has made it to the list of top 10 most generous countries in the world, according to the British charity, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which released its report yesterday.

It is ranked seventh in the foundation’s World Giving Index 2018.

A total of 146 countries in the world were ranked in three areas: giving of time, money and helping a stranger. More than 150,000 people worldwide were polled.

Topping the list is Indonesia, followed by Australia in second place and New Zealand, in third place. The United States, Ireland and Britain took fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Indonesia was the runner-up in the 2017 Index, but climbed to the top in this year’s ranking after the previous champion, Myanmar, fell to the ninth place this year.

On why fewer people in Myanmar are volunteering and helping a stranger, the report stated: “After the Rohingya crisis reached its peak during 2017, it is hard not to conclude that the country’s troubles have contributed to Myanmar’s people being less willing or less able to give in these ways.

“Proving more resilient is the country’s willingness to donate money, believed to be largely driven by the country’s huge following of Theravada Buddhism, which requires donating to support those living a monastic lifestyle.”

In Singapore, some 1,000 people were interviewed face-to-face last year and asked if they had helped a stranger, donated money to a charity or volunteered in the past month.

Two in three polled here had helped a stranger, while almost four in 10 had volunteered. Almost six in 10 had donated money.

Singapore’s move to the top 10 comes after dismal showings in the past years in the annual rankings. In 2013, it was ranked 64th, and last year, the Republic came in 30th.

A spokesman for the foundation said: “The improved score has been driven by increases in volunteering and helping a stranger, which may be a result of a number of schemes to increase volunteering over the recent years in the country.”

For example, only 25 per cent of those polled in Singapore in 2016 had volunteered, compared with 39 per cent of those interviewed last year-an increase which the spokesman described as “quite remarkable”.

The rise in volunteerism here was also noted earlier, in the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s (NVPC) Individual Giving Survey 2016, said its director of knowledge and advocacy Jeffrey Tan.

In the survey, the latest conducted by NVPC, respondents were asked if they had volunteered or donated in the past year.

Some 35 per cent indicated they had volunteered in 2016, almost double the 18 per cent in 2014.

Of those polled, 76 per cent said they donated money in 2016, down from 83 per cent in 2014.

However, the total sum given to charity was $2.2 billion in 2016, almost double the $1.2 billion in 2014.

Tan said: “This shows that Singapore can lead the pack globally when it comes to caring and sharing.”

Associate Professor Lam Swee Sum, director of the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, said there are several reasons for the rise in volunteerism here.

More groups, such as the NVPC and the National Youth Council, are encouraging people to volunteer.

There is also a greater awareness of unmet needs,and more are volunteering their time and skills to meet those needs. Besides, various online platforms have sprung up to match volunteers to causes.

Chair of the Charity Council Gerard Ee said of Singapore’s ranking: “It is a reflection of a much stronger community spirit where more people are coming forward to offer their assistance.”


Category: Singapore

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