May 22, 2024
a volunteer man wearing a facemask

Kenyans hard-pressed but still most generous

Kenya has once again emerged the most generous country in Africa, and the third most generous in the world. Indonesia in 2023 topped the list of most generous nations for the sixth year, while Ukraine came second, up from 10th place in 2022.

According to the 2023 World Giving Index by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), citizens of Kenya, Ukraine and Indonesia are most likely to help a stranger who needed help, donate money to charity and volunteer their time to an organisation.

Kenyans scored high on helping a stranger while Indonesians scored high in donating. In 2021, 77 percent of Kenyans helped someone they didn’t know compared to the global average of 62 percent. You just need to look at all the good causes on social media that get sorted on M-Pesa in minutes to believe this.

Rwanda, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Myanmar and South Africa have in the recent past been among top 10 generous nations, proof that giving is not about wealth, or as we say in Kenya, kutoa ni moyo.

“The big story this year is the amazing rise in giving across Africa,” said Sir John Low, CAF’s chief executive as he released the 2022 report. “Around the world, economic development is lifting the income of millions of people and it is truly humbling to see that the natural reaction to increasing wealth is to give back.”

Traditionally rich countries like the UK ranked high in donating to charity but floundered in other metrics like helping a stranger or volunteering. Other generous nations are the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

According to the report, since religion is a key driver for giving, a possible explanation for these findings could be the large religious populations in Kenya and Indonesia. It also attributed the generosity to community-focused cultural traditions such as Indonesia’s gotong-royong and Kenya’s harambee, which unite people in times of increased need.

Interestingly, generosity increased at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 3.5 billion people globally volunteering to help someone they didn’t know, up from three billion in 2020. Similarly, more people than ever reported donating to charity in 2021, rising to more than one in three (35%) individuals around the world. There was also an increase in volunteering to almost one in four people globally (23%).

The World Giving Index has been running since 2009 and this year includes data from 142 countries.

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