A NEW survey found that Indonesia, Singapore and Burma (Myanmar) are placed among the top 10 most generous countries in the world based on their likeliness to donate money or volunteer for a humane cause.
Washington-based management consulting company Gallup, which recently released it World’s Most Generous Countries Report 2018 found that Indonesia topped the list alongside the more affluent Australia with both having the Highest Civic Engagement Index Score of 59.
The Southeast Asian country was even placed higher than “better positioned” New Zealand and the United States which both scored 58 on the index with Ireland and the United Kingdom trailing behind with a score of 56 and 55 respectively.
Singapore is placed seventh in the top 10 while Burma is at ninth spot after Kenya.
Civic engagement worldwide in 2017
The survey involves the collection of “positive” responses to three questions into a Civic Engagement Index score for each country with the highest score being 100.
Last year, the company asked adults in 146 countries whether they had donated money to a charity, volunteered time to an organisation or helped a stranger in need within the past month.
Gallup found that on average, 43 percent worldwide said they had helped a stranger or someone they didn’t know who was in need, while far fewer said they had donated money (27 percent) or had volunteered their time (18 percent).
“Indonesia and Australia have consistently appeared in the top 10 countries with the highest civic engagement scores in the past several years, and their scores in 2017 were not much different from 2016,” the report said.
A majority in Indonesia (53 percent) said they had volunteered their time to an organization in the past month, which contributed immensely to the country’s overall score.
Billions worldwide pitch in to help
Gallup said the figures have been stable for the past decade. Last year, nearly 1.4 billion had donated money to a charity, almost 1 billion had volunteered their time to an organization and 2.2 billion had helped a stranger in need in the past month.
While there is a strong link between Civic Engagement Index and per capita GDP, Gallup said the most civically engaged populations in the world are not always the wealthiest as in the case of Indonesia, Kenya and Burma.
Gallup pointed out that Burma has been at the top of this list for years.
“The country’s strong Buddhist traditions, which stress donating to and volunteering at temples, are usually reflected in the majorities who typically respond positively to each question.”
It added that 88 percent of Burmese residents said that they had donated money to a charity, the highest percentage in the world last year but the numbers who helped strangers and volunteering their time, dropped to new lows in 2017, amid the Rohingya refugee crisis.
According to Gallup, Some of the countries such as Yemen, the Palestinian Territories and Greece which continue to suffer from economic and political upheaval were among territories where populations were the least civically engaged.
Despite its economic prowess, civic engagement levels continued to be among the lowest in the world in China which had a score of 17 for 2017.
However, the mainland’s score improved from 11 in 2015 to 17 in 2017 after new laws eased restrictions on charitable organisations in 2016.
The 14 percent of Chinese who donated money to charity in 2017 is nearly double the 8 percent who said they did the previous year, Gallup said.