by Sandro Calvani, Strategic Adviser and President of the Scientific Committee of the Social Change School
Every year, the famous Guinness Book of Records, registers all the conceivable world records, many of which are collective, so that many towns are organised in order to break the world record for the city with the smaller amount of traffic, with the highest amount of green areas, cycle paths and clean air. Morevoer, at the national level, after the decline in the ranking of the GDP, other factors acquired importance, such as the international peace index, the happiness index and the wellbeing index. In a world where everything is getting more interdependent, the world giving index appeared as well. Therefore, the new GDP stands for Gross Domestic Philantrophy. However, who breaks the generosity world record?
In 2016, for the third year in a row, Myanmar (ex Burma) won the world ranking as the most generous country with direct help to those who are more in need, according to the report by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) “World Giving Index”. In line with the previous years, more than 9 people out of 10 in Myanmar had donated money during the month before the investigation. Moreover, Myanmar has improved compared to 2015, the number of volunteers that donate their time and the number of those who donate anonymously to strangers.
The excellent result could have been achieved because of the strong influence that Theravada Buddhism has in the country, or it could have been the effect of the great optimism amongst the Burmese following the reforms promoted by Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s government, after years of military government.
Globally, helping strangers remains the most common way of helping others, and for the first time since the CAF report has been published, over a half of the interviewed donated or helped a stranger, showing therefore a tendency to reinforce generosity will and practices. The phenomenon seems to grow mostly everywhere, including rich and poor countries, economies in transition and totalitarian regimes.
Generosity also grows in periods of adversity, when it is extraordinary needed because of disasters, conflicts and situations of refugees and homeless people, above all amongst the victims. For example, the report, underlines the strong growth of generosity between Iraqi, Libyan and Nepalese people, following serious situations of necessity. Among the top 10 countries in the generosity ranking of the report by CAF, 6 of them are in Asia and Pacific: Myanmar, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates. Only four countries out of the first ten are in all the other countries put together: United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. However, the last three ranked are from Asia as well, that is to say the least generous countries in the world: Japan, Cambodia and China. Italy is 82nd in the general ranking, 101st for what concerns help to strangers and 95th in volunteering, only 15 people out of 100 regularly volunteer, according to CAF’s report.
The country with the strongest improvement since the previous year is Nepal, and the generosity in African countries has improved as well.
CAF report proposes to some regions also some recommendations for improving the human generosity. Amongst the proposals, we find the one of regulating the donations in an equal, coherent and completely transparent way, and to facilitate as much as possible, the generosity that always is a first step towards the participation and active responsibility of the citizens, included their capacity to orientate the political choices of the governors. Finally, CAF’s report invites all the generous people of the world to unite and fight for a world more orientate towards the reciprocal help (look at the project Future World Giving) and to a happy life through fair and more compassionate economies, as proposed by the Charter of Compassion.
Read other articles by Sandro Calvani for the Social Change School.
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Photo source: “Word Giving Index 2016″ CAF Report