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Home / World Giving Index 2016: indicators and trends

World Giving Index 2016: indicators and trends

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The CAF World Giving Index is a leading authority on global generosity. They meausure three different kinds of giving, and by doing that, they show us a picture of charitable behaviour across the world.


The CAF World Giving Index is the average percentage of people in each country who donated money, volunteered or helped a stranger in the previous month. 140 countries were surveyed for this year’s report, that give us a data about charitable behaviour of about billion people. The overall index score for the world as a whole has risen by a percentage point, largely on the back of increase in the proportion of people who have helped a stranger. Imore than half of the world’s population has been engaged in this informal kind of generosity (54%).


This year Myanmar has riched the top spot of the World Giving Index again . By improving on the record high of 66% it achieved last year, Myanmar’s 2016 overall score is 70%. Its improvement is largely caused by high levels of participation by donating money (91%) and volunteering (55%), also the proportion of people helping a stranger has increased this year (63%).


But what explains this outstanding culture of generosity? A commitment to Sangha Dana in the Theravada school of Buddhism - giving to support the monastic lifestyle - likely does it. However, there are a lot of other nations with similar demographic situation in the region (such as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia), but there’s something special about the culture of giving in Myanmar. Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet, Economic Advisor to the President of Myanmar and member of the President’s National Economic and Social Advisory Council says that these results demonstrate how a “poor” country can be a “rich” one through its generosity, by focussing on giving rather than getting.


The Top 10 countries remain the same as last year, the exception is Indonesia which has risen from 22nd to 7th. The reason to this might be an increasing generosity during Ramadan, during which the survey was conducted. But that’s still a good result. But there were some countries that lost their positions, for example the Netherlands which fell from 7th to 13th despite gaining a higher overall score. This demonstrates how bieing at the top of the index, countries develop the cultures of giving.


Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have made it to the top twenty ranking 11th and 15th respectively, having been ranked 27th and 71st last year. This great change in Turkmenistan is caused by its volunteering score which jumped from 21% to 60% – it now leads the world on this measure. This may be a result of the government calling for a Saturday volunteering day, known as a Subbotnik.


There have been notable rises in charitable activities in spite of and in response to adversity. In Iraq people are most likely to have helped a stranger for the second year running (81%). The ongoing Iraqi civil war does not serve as a reason of worsening of the charitable behavior. Similarly, Libya, which was last surveyed in 2012, has also increased its score despite of ongoing civil war.An improvement on the of helping a stranger in these contries seems strange, taking into account their situation, but maybe coupled civil societies and a great need amongst the population is encouraging more people to be generous and kind out of necessity.

It’s not the first time when the crisis makes an uplift in generosity. For example last year the great increases in donating money were noted in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina following extensive flooding throughout Southern Europe in May 2014 and Malaysia changed its position from 71st to 7th in the year before because of an uplift of generosity towards victims of Typhoon Haiyan in neighbouring Philippines. Such disasters tend to awake a humanitarian response.


However, such a response requires a lot of different resources(economic, physical and emotional), that not always can be found, taking away from people the capacity to help each another. For example, Kenya’s helping a stranger score has fallen for the first time this year. The survey was conducted just five months after a big terror attack in the Garissa University College in April 2015, when 147 people were murdered There were a lot of terror attacks in that area, and this may be a reason of the decline in score.


The rise in the proportion of people giving money to charity in transitional economies is now a trend. Countries with transitional economies are those which cannot be considered as economically developing, because they are too wealthy, and cannot be considered as advanced economies as well, because they are not affluent enough. Indeed, the index score in these countries has risen by 11.5 percentage points comparing to the last year’s. It means we should do more to create an enabling environment for giving in those countries where people have a discretionary income.


The highest ranked nation Myanmar shows, that wealth is not the decisive factor when it comes to generosity. Only five members of the Group of Twenty (G20), which represents 85% of Gross World Product (GWP), have mase it to the Top 20 . These are Australia, Canada, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The steady rise of transitional economies is possibly the most striking long term trend in the World Giving Index. People living in countries with transitioning economies will be less likely to donate money (20%) than those living in the developing countries (26%). Such a trend shows that as people become financially able, they are likely to be more willing to give money to charity. This signals the huge potential – one which CAF has highlighted as part of its Future World Giving project – for the emerging middle classes in transitional economies to support philanthropic activity in the world’s fast growing economies.Through this programme, CAF has developed more detailed recommendations that, should future prove the growth of generosity and provide an enabling environment for improved civil society.

Using materials Charities Aid Foundation