When it comes to generosity, few countries can match Myanmar.
For the third year in a row, Myanmar topped the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index which averages out the percentage of people in each country who donated money, volunteered or helped a stranger in the previous month.
The Southeast Asia nation again topped the United States, which was No. 2 for the second straight year. In 2014, the two countries shared top honors.
According to its research, 91% of Myanmar residents gave money to charity in the past year, 62% said they had helped a stranger, and 55% claimed they had volunteered.
“It’s important to remember that our Index measures countries by the proportion of the population giving — not how much they give,” CAF Media Director Simon Ward told CNN. Myanmar’s population of about 56 million is less than one-fifth that of the US.
“Disasters and adversity tend to lead to an increase in numbers of people giving,” he added. Myanmar suffered severe flooding in 2015.
The CAF team noted Myanmar’s continuous positive results in its survey and says they could be linked to its population’s cultural and religious beliefs. A large number of people in Myanmar are practicing Buddhists who follow the Theravada branch, where small, frequent acts of giving are the norm.
“The results demonstrate very sharply how a ‘poor’ country can be a ‘rich’ one through its generosity, by focusing on giving rather than getting,” said Prof Dr Aung Tun Thet, economic adviser to the president of Myanmar, in discussing the report.