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Charitable Giving Climbs Across Globe, With Myanmar Topping List

  • Reuters

FILE - People receive food aid in Slovyansk, Ukraine, in 2014. The proportion of people donating money in Ukraine quadrupled in 2014 compared to the previous year.

FILE - People receive food aid in Slovyansk, Ukraine, in 2014. The proportion of people donating money in Ukraine quadrupled in 2014 compared to the previous year.

Myanmar is the most generous country in the world with nine out of 10 adults donating money to charity and half volunteering their time, while Burundi is the least, followed by China, Yemen and Lithuania, researchers said Tuesday.

The study by the London-based Charitable Aid Foundation (CAF) found that more people around the world are giving to charity with around 1.4 billion people donating money in 2014, or 31.5 percent of adults, up from 28.3 percent in 2013.

"It is heartening to see that even during these times of economic uncertainty across the world, people are increasingly likely to donate money to causes that help others," CAF chief executive John Low said in a statement.

Rounding out the top 5

The United States, New Zealand, Canada and Australia followed Myanmar for overall generosity, according to CAF's World Giving Index, which measures the charitable behavior of nations by polling people on how often they donate to charity, how often they volunteer and how often they help strangers.

In Myanmar, 92 percent of respondents said they gave money to charity in the past month.

High levels of giving in Myanmar and neighboring Thailand, where 87 percent gave cash recently, are driven by high levels of Theradava Buddhism and the tradition of Sangha Dana or "charity to the community of monks," said the study.

Volunteering, and helping others

Myanmar also came out on top for volunteering, with half the population doing so, followed by Sri Lanka, Liberia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Globally, the proportion of people who said they volunteered time fell slightly, to 21 percent from 21.3 percent.

Tuesday's report highlighted the contrast between Myanmar's achievement and "recent reports about the suffering and contested rights of the Rohingya people," the persecuted Muslim minority group.

Almost half of the world's adult population said they helped a stranger in 2014, according to the poll – a slight increase on the previous year – with Iraq topping the list followed by Liberia, the United States, Namibia and Jamaica.

The proportion of people donating money in conflict-hit Ukraine quadrupled in 2014 compared to the previous year, while notable increases were also seen in the Balkan countries, hit by serious flooding in May 2014.

"One factor which holds true is that, in almost any place in the world, people will rally around in a crisis," Low said.

The survey data was provided by the polling firm Gallup, which interviewed over 150,000 people in 2014 on charitable giving and other topics.

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