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Study reveals high level of generosity of East Africa’s middle class

12 Feb 2020, 10:17 am
Financial Nigeria
Study reveals high level of generosity of East Africa’s middle class

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Compared with giving levels detailed in the CAF’s World Giving Index, the levels of generosity in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania outstrip those of developed nations around the world.

A new study by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) on charitable giving in three major countries in East Africa – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – reveals the emerging middle classes in these countries are giving away roughly a quarter of their earnings each month to help others. The growing middle classe in Kenya is giving away 22 per cent of its monthly income; the figure was 24 per cent in Tanzania and 31 per cent in Uganda.

CAF described this level of generosity as “astonishing.” Compared with giving levels detailed in the CAF’s World Giving Index, the levels of generosity in the three countries outstrip those of developed nations around the world.

According to the report, much of this grassroots philanthropy comes through informal gifts and support to family, friends and community members, with only 2 per cent of those surveyed in Kenya, 3 per cent in Tanzania, and 0 per cent in Uganda saying they had not given to any group or individuals in the last 12 months.

The study by CAF, in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, the CS Mott Foundation and the UK National Lottery Community Fund, looked at giving trends in the three countries in order to gain a stronger understanding of the extent and nature of giving in fast-growing parts of the world.

Previous research by CAF examined the potential for charitable giving that lies with the estimated 2.4 billion people set to join the world’s middle classes and found that if they were to give just over 0.5 per cent of their spending, as much as $319 billion could be raised to not only support charities, but to help countries strengthen the local organisations that speak up on behalf of society’s most vulnerable.
The research also looked at what factors may prevent people from giving to charities that deliver assistance such as health and education programmes and to organisations that fight for social justice, human rights and legal protections.

Amongst other findings, the research also found that cash payments remain the most popular way to give, but mobile payment services are also widely used. Around half of survey respondents in Uganda (54 per cent) and Kenya (48 per cent) had supported a faith-based organisation, the main type of formal charity or organisation supported in these two countries, while in Tanzania people are far more likely to have supported a community-based organisation (50 per cent). And among those who have supported a formal charity or organisation in the past 12 months, the most common cause was children and young people, with 73 per cent of those surveyed in Kenya, 60 per cent in Tanzania, and 78 per cent in Uganda supporting this – followed by helping the poor or hungry in all three countries (50 per cent in Kenya, 54 per cent in Tanzania, and 62 per cent in Uganda).

“While the cultural traditions of giving to family, friends and neighbours were well known, we are humbled by the extent of that generosity and the fact that most people do not even regard it as charitable giving – it is just a part of everyday life,” said Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF.  “This research has provided us with valuable insight into how we can work to strengthen local giving in fast-growing economies and see local organisations at both community and national levels take a bigger leadership role in order to not just increase giving, but to strengthen these democracies. Achieving this will provide a domestic alternative to foreign aid and overseas NGO funding, but can also engage more citizens in society and create a more open democracy,” said Pinkney.

CAF is an international charity registered in the United Kingdom. According to the statement it provided Financial Nigeria, CAF is a charity, a bank and a champion for better giving, who over the last 90 years have been helping donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact.

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