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Jakarta Post

Welcome to the ‘most generous country’ in the world: Indonesia

  • Devina Heriyanto
    Devina Heriyanto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, November 3, 2018   /   08:23 am
Welcome to the ‘most generous country’ in the world: Indonesia Muslims pay zakat fitrah (special alms) at Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Jakarta on Friday. During Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to pay the special alms, which are distributed to those in need. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The generalization that Indonesians are friendly and helpful might be true after all.

The 2018 World Giving Index by British organization Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has placed Indonesia on top of the list.

Three behaviors are used to measure a country’s generosity: donating money, helping a stranger and volunteering in the past month when the survey was conducted. Indonesians' participation in volunteering stands as the highest in the world at 53 percent, while its people’s participation in donating money and helping a stranger are at 78 and 46 percent, respectively. The country's overall score is 59 percent.

The index, released this week, is based on surveys in 2017 by management consultancy Gallup involving more than 150,000 people worldwide -- before the devastating earthquakes in Lombok and Central Sulawesi that prompted people to donate and volunteer.

Indonesia made it to the top from its second position last year, after Myanmar dropped to ninth place after four years of enjoying the status of  “world’s most generous country”. It is the first time has Indonesia topped the list in the history of the index, the ninth this year.

CAF notes in its report that the 2017 Rohingya crisis might “have contributed to Myanmar’s people being less willing or less able to give in these ways”.

Myanmar people still are the most generous when it comes to donations, with 88 percent participation -- 3 percent short of last year’s rate. The country’s adherence to Theravada Buddhism, which encourages its followers to donate money to those living a monastery life, might explain the high rate, according to the report.

Indonesia is in second position in terms of donating money. Similar to Myanmar, the country’s adherence to Islam might explain the high rate as the religion also encourages followers to donate, a concept known as infaq.

Indonesia has the highest rate of women volunteering compared to other countries at 48 percent, even though the number is less than the rate of Indonesian men who volunteer at 59 percent.

The survey found that globally, those from developing countries are more likely to help a stranger while those in developed countries are more likely to donate money. CAF found that the rate of people donating money globally was at its lowest since 2013, with more people reported to help a stranger or volunteer instead.

The world’s most generous countries are:

  1. Indonesia (59 percent)
  2. Australia (59 percent)
  3. New Zealand (58 percent)
  4. US (58 percent)
  5. Ireland (56 percent)
  6. UK (55 percent)
  7. Singapore (54 percent)
  8. Kenya (54 percent)
  9. Myanmar (54 percent)
  10. Bahrain (53 percent)