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Pakistanis among the most charitable people in the world

Lahore: The Stanford Social Innovation Review report shows that Pakistanis are among the most charitable people in the world.

The nation contributes more than one percent of its GDP to charity, according to the report. Such a high percentage of philanthropic activities place Pakistan among some of the far wealthier countries like the United Kingdom (1.3 per cent GDP to charity) and Canada (1.2 per cent of GDP).

In the region, charity as a percentage of GDP of Pakistan is twice as much as India’s.

The study conducted by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy shows that Pakistanis give around Rs240 billion (more than $2 billion) annually to charity.

The report based on that study indicates that about 98 per cent of people in the country give charity in one form or another – if not with cash, then with in-kind donations or by volunteering for relevant causes.

The authors of the report say fuelling this culture of generosity is the Islamic emphasis on giving – in the form of Zakat, Sadaqa, and Fitrana – as well as other moral and social factors and a deeply rooted sense of compassion toward community members.

But despite this tradition of giving, most donations go directly to individuals, thus bypassing charitable organisations.

While supporting needy individuals plays an integral role in Pakistan’s social safety net, to realize the full impact of philanthropy for more sustained development efforts, Pakistan must do more, the authors of the study say.

For Pakistan to become a more integral player in the sustainable development agenda, it needs to make efforts to institutionalise the individual tendency of giving and redirect it toward more-structured efforts, the study recommends.

In trying to understand why Pakistanis prefer giving to individuals instead of organisations, the research was conducted via household surveys and focus group discussions.

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