Myanmar ranks #2 in world giving index

Myanmar ranks #2 in giving

You can read the original report here. Myanmar was last surveyed in 2006 before this report.

More than four out of every five people asked in Myanmar responded that they had given to a good cause within a month of the interview. If you look at donating purely money, Myanmar ranks #1. But if you look at volunteering time and labor, the top three countries are Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and the US.

Two thoughts from reading the report:

1. Prejudice and Bias

The report does not specify this but I am very curious to find out how much of Myanmar’s giving is faith-based. Religion motivates people in a powerful way to give more and be more compassionate most of the time. But in today’s context of Myanmar with ethnic and religious violence, an absence of state social services coupled with selective giving towards 600,000 monks and several young novices also may mean that the country’s education, health, environmental and cultural preservation, and infrastructure are most likely not being benefited by what goes on in Myanmar’s #2 rank in giving.

2. Giving Amount

There is so much social pressure to give in Myanmar and what is counted as “giving” also differs.

At my office, the administration will come around asking for Waso donation (lent), end of lent donation and Thidingyut donation, and I look at the faces of my colleagues that belong to a different faith. When your work is asking you to contribute to causes you may not necessarily agree with, you still give, but what amount? Giving in that context is neither special nor particularly motivating.

In Myanmar, higher net worth individuals tend to give frequently but what percentage of their annual income is actually going back to the society, no one can be sure. In New York City, you get a signed thank-you letter for a $10,000 gift. In Myanmar, when a tycoon gives $5,000, he ends up in a local newspaper. That shows the difference in perception of what “major gift” means and how giving expectations are still low in this country.

Giving in Myanmar is very much part of the culture. And it’s very complex and intriguing.

2 thoughts on “Myanmar ranks #2 in world giving index

    • Oh many thanks for your comment! Just checked Future World Giving site too. Faith-based giving is all fine and cute as long as that doesn’t create too much tension and social division, in my opinion at least.


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