Who’s Doing Good

01 September 2020 - 14 September 2020

THE GIVERS

Charitable bequests on the rise in Japan. Data disclosed by the National Tax Agency show that charitable bequests are on the rise in Japan with US$440 million donated in 2018, compared to US$58 million in 2010. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 highlights how Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines stand out as the few economies in Asia that offer tax incentives for giving upon death in the form of charitable bequests. According to a survey by the Japan Succession Donation Association, 22.9% of respondents, ages 50-70, said they have considered making a charitable bequest upon death. However, challenges remain as only 1.2% of respondents said they have taken steps to make a bequest by writing a will or through other means.

Asian families shift priorities to community Covid relief. This article highlights how some family offices in Asia are switching their priorities for their impact investments towards supporting local communities impacted by the pandemic. Covid-19 has compelled some family offices to ‘double down’ on their funding efforts, as well as spurred greater collaboration between like-minded family offices. This includes new efforts to support social enterprises, such as the Community Resilience Fund in Hong Kong that provides liquidity support for social enterprises and helps them adapt and continue to support their local community. The Fund was initiated in March 2020 under the auspices of Hong Kong family office RS Group and Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVHK), and it is jointly operated by the Sustainable Finance Initiative.

THE BUSINESSES

This year’s “99 Giving Day” breaks record for China internet charity platform by Tencent. Since its establishment in 2015, “99 Giving Day” is considered the most popular annual charity festival in China, jointly initiated by Tencent Charity Foundation and thousands of other charity organizations, enterprises, celebrities, and media. With the theme of “Together We Can,” this year’s event raised a total donation of ¥3.044 billion (nearly US$500 million). More than 5,780 donors, 500 institutions, and 10,000 enterprises participated in the campaign, which broke the record for online giving in China. This year’s event also featured new tools to address transparency and challenges amidst Covid-19, such as charity consumption coupons and blockchain technology, amongst other new initiatives. Also, Tencent Charity Foundation announced that this year it would invest ¥399.9 million (nearly US$60 million) in matching donations.

Alibaba Group launches fourth annual Philanthropy Week with a series of initiatives designed to make giving easier and more transparent. The event featured close to 100 online and offline philanthropic activities, from ensuring nutritious meals reach impoverished children in China to promoting environmental awareness through recycling programs. To increase transparency and encourage donors to give confidently, all contributions are fully trackable with Alibaba’s “Charities on the Chain” solution, which was developed with Ant Group’s blockchain team so that users can see exactly where their donations are going and how they are being used. 

Ayala chief: Malls should provide more services to tenants. CEO of Ayala Corp Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said that mall operators need to adapt during Covid-19 and provide more services to help their tenants whose businesses have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Ayala notes that these added services could come in the form of logistics support or more storage space for their tenants’ stocks as online shopping grows in popularity. For example, last month Ayala Malls launched its online Neighborhood Assistant service, which allows customers to shop via the website of their nearest Ayala Mall. SM Prime Holdings, the country’s biggest mall operator, also stated that it was investing PHP 100 million (approximately US$2 million) on expanding its e-commerce presence.

UOB’s private equity arm achieves impact milestone. UOB Venture Management has issued its disclosure statement on the Operating Principles for Impact Management, making it the first Southeast Asian signatory of the Impact Principles (initiated by the World Bank Group), according to the bank. The firm has also recently obtained verification from Ernst & Young for its Asia Impact Investment Fund’s alignment with the principles. Launched in 2015 together with Credit Suisse, the US$55 million fund invests in high-growth companies from the education, healthcare, and agriculture sectors in Southeast Asia and China, which help to improve financial inclusion, affordable housing, sanitation, clean energy, and water for the region’s low-income communities.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Red Cross, and local social enterprise team up to create clean and green care kits for migrant workers and low-income families. More than 300 Marina Bay Sands staff from over 40 departments packed 10,000 care kits in partnership with social enterprise Clean the World Asia and the Singapore Red Cross. Each kit contains essential items such as soap bars and soap bags, hand sanitizer, shampoo, hair conditioner, and surgical face masks. The soap bars are made from discarded soap from Marina Bay Sands’ premises and processed with the help of Clean the World Asia’s soap recycling facilities. The kits will be distributed to beneficiaries of the Singapore Red Cross, including the migrant worker community and low-income families.

THE INNOVATORS

MaGIC and Lazada Malaysia team up to promote social enterprise products. The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has partnered with e-commerce platform Lazada Malaysia to onboard and promote the products and services of social enterprises registered with MaGIC. As part of the #buyforimapct campaign, Lazada will subsidize the online startup costs for social enterprises selected by MaGIC and promote their products and services. Since early August 2020, Malaysians have been able to purchase products made by social enterprises on Lazada via its #buyforimpact page. Throughout September, the campaign will run weekly features of social enterprises championing various causes. Additionally, the campaign will run Demo Days for aspiring social enterprises to showcase their budding businesses to funding agencies and potential investors.

Japan and India team up to help emerging nations go digital. Japan and India will work with technology companies to build platforms that help emerging nations put government services online. The initiative will take inspiration from New Delhi’s online system, which allowed for quick distribution of Covid-19 assistance. Japan’s trade ministry will enlist domestic businesses for the project, and Indian engineers will grant licenses that permit Japanese companies to land contracts for digital platforms from other countries. Japan’s government, which lags in digitizing its systems, also plans to use the knowledge gained from the partnership to advance its own digitization efforts.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Webinar: Asia Society Hong Kong Center Program Charting the Path Forward

Catching the world unaware, Covid-19 has sent the global economy and the lives of billions into a tailspin. In the wake of this pandemic, the public, private, and social sectors must come together to work towards a stronger and more equitable Asia as we build our way out of this crisis. At a time when foreign funding is declining across the region, “Asia for Asia” philanthropy must fill the gap—and the Doing Good Index shows how.

CAPS’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro and Director of Research Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed present the key findings of the index and showcase how governments, philanthropists, companies and the social sector can work together for mutual benefit. This discussion was moderated by Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Founder and Chairman of CAPS and Chairman of Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

Who’s Doing Good

03 August 2020 - 17 August 2020

THE GIVERS

Charitable funds boost donation in a tough year for giving. Straits Times highlights how more wealthy people in Singapore are setting up charitable funds that give at least six-figure sums to charities. According to this article, there were 143 donor-advised funds set up with the Community Foundation of Singapore during the financial year ending in March 2020. Despite many donors tightening their belts during Covid-19, these charitable funds disbursed SG$20.2 million (approximately US$15 million) during that year.

THE NONPROFITS

Hong Kong organizations hoping charity begins at home as economic crunch sees donations dry up. The impact of last year’s civil unrest and Covid-19 has left many Hong Kong charities on the brink of collapse. South China Morning Post spotlights Hong Kong foundations that are stepping in to meet the demand for funding. One example includes Jennifer Chen, CEO of Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, who is leading a campaign called “Bridge the Gap”. The initiative calls on residents to donate all or part of their HK$10,000 (approximately US$1,300) government relief payout to NGOs in need. The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, Fu Tak Iam Foundation, and The Hong Kong Club Foundation will match these public donations up to specified amounts for at least 25 local organizations in need.

A call to digitize Bangladesh’s NGO Affairs Bureau. In this op-ed, associates of The Legal Circle in Bangladesh argue that the government should take immediate measures to digitize the registration process for NGOs. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 found that Bangladesh has one of the longest and most complex registration procedures in Asia. According to this article, there is a severe backlog of registrations, in part due to the influx of NGOs responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. This backlog is expected to get worse with the Covid-19 pandemic. Digitizing the registration process, they argue, is not only aligned with the government’s vision of a ‘Digital Bangladesh’, but it will also allow NGOs to set up more efficiently and help the country re-build after the crisis.

THE BUSINESSES

Capital markets lawyers sharpen impact investing skills. Financial Times highlights how pro bono work in Asia is evolving to embrace new areas of legal expertise, even as Covid-19 restrictions limit traditional pro bono work. This article argues that a longer-term shift towards impact investing—as well as an urgent need for funding in the NGO sector—provides lawyers with an opportunity to contribute their legal expertise in capital markets. The article cites the example of lawyers working pro bono on Impact Investment Exchange’s Women’s Livelihood Bond deal. Since deals in the impact investing space tend to raise smaller sums, legal services priced at market rates would mean very high fees relative to the deal size. Pro bono legal services offer an opportunity to help get this new market off the ground.

Huawei begins ‘Seeds for the Future 2020’ in Bangladesh. Huawei’s flagship CSR program ‘Seeds for the Future’ aims to develop global ICT (information and communication technology) talent by bridging the gap between academic and industry knowledge. The program is part of the company’s long-term CSR activity dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and ICT students worldwide. Seeds for the Future has benefitted over 30,000 students around the world, and has recently expanded to Bangladesh. The program aims to help the country achieve its ‘Vision of Digital Bangladesh 2021’ plan by equipping youth with ICT skills that will help them innovate local solutions for local needs.

Mi India pledges 2,500 smartphones worth Rs 2 crores (approximately US$300,000) towards digital inclusion. In addition to recent initiatives to help over 200,000 families affected by Covid-19 and 10,000 families impacted by Cyclone Amphan, Mi India announced a new donation of 2,500 smartphones to students in need. Mi India has partnered with Teach For India, which has shifted to blended learning during India’s lockdown, to distribute phones to children from under-resourced communities and help them access online classes.

THE INNOVATORS

Four lessons for launching a social enterprise. In Stanford Social Innovation Review, the founder and team members of Mauqa Online share their lessons from launching and expanding their social enterprise in Pakistan. By sharing what they wish they had done differently at certain points of growth, they hope to help the next wave of social entrepreneurs. Ultimately, they encourage social entrepreneurs to use the enterprise’s social mission to help guide decision making along the way.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Who’s Doing Good

20 July 2020 - 02 August 2020

THE GIVERS

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing to donate another HK$101 million (US$13 million) to medical and welfare sectors amid pandemic. A fifth of the donation will go to encouraging graduates of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong to stay back and serve the city, by providing each graduate with a HK$50,000 (approximately US$6,500) cash gift. The rest of the donation will benefit Hospital Authority’s hospitals, 12 local NGOs, and individuals who fall outside of the city’s social security safety net as Hong Kong battles its third wave of Covid-19 cases. This fresh bequest follows earlier donations of HK$100 million (approximately US$13 million) and HK$80 million (approximately US$11 million) to Wuhan and Hong Kong, respectively, to help contain their Covid-19 outbreaks.

Forbes China releases 2020 China Philanthropy List. In its 14th edition, the list includes 100 business owners and their firms, representing ¥17.91 billion (approximately US$2.57 billion) in cash donations. Xu Jiayin, president of real estate giant Evergrande Group, tops the list with charitable cash donations of ¥3.01 billion (approximately US$430 million) in 2019. Yang Guoqiang, founder and chairman of Country Garden, and his family ranked second with ¥1.52 billion (approximately US$218 million) in cash donations.

Korea’s top research university receives record donation from entrepreneur Lee Se-young. Lee, head of real estate company Gwangwon Industry, announced a donation of real estate worth ₩67.6 billion (US$56.4 million) to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)—the biggest donation received by the school since its founding in 1971. Lee has previously donated real estate worth ₩8 billion (approximately US$6.7 million) in 2012 and ₩1 billion (approximately US$900,000) in 2016, making her cumulative donation to KAIST around ₩76.6 billion (approximately US$65 million). Lee hopes that her donation will help Korea produce its first Nobel Prize winner in science.

THE THINKERS

Taiwan among the leading group of “Doing Well” in the Doing Good Index 2020. Read more (in Chinese) about Taiwan’s leading performance in the latest article by CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro. In CommonWealth Magazine (天下雜誌), Shapiro discusses Taiwan’s laws and policies that promote an accountable and transparent social sector and engagement with it. 

THE NONPROFITS

Singapore-based NGO to invest up to SG$100 million (approximately US$73 million) in environmental projects in India. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a Singapore-based NGO working in the environmental sector, plans to invest in India over the next five years to help reduce the country’s plastic waste. Projects so far include an initiative to reduce plastic waste in the river Ganga and a partnership with UN-Habitat to implement solutions towards a circular economy. The Alliance also has a budget of SG$400 million (approximately US$290 million) for environmental projects in Southeast Asia and China.

THE BUSINESSES

Hitachi to donate ¥100 million (approximately US$1 million) to support research on the novel coronavirus. The funds are earmarked for “The Hitachi Global Foundation Fund for Research Support of Infectious Diseases,” which will support researchers in Japan and the ASEAN region. This follows earlier Covid-19 relief efforts from Hitachi Group, including donating PPE and providing US$1 million in loans to businesses in need through Kiva.

Wix helps bring first-of-its-kind remote learning initiative to Philippines Department of Education. Wix, a leading website creation platform, announced that over 43,000 e-learning websites were built and launched in two days through its project with the Philippines Department of Education. Under the government’s “Digital Rise Program,” this initiative enabled teachers with no coding experience to digitize their curriculum via Wix, helping schools transition to e-learning during this time.

Yoma Bank donates 6,000 masks and school supplies to under-resourced students. In Myanmar, Yoma Bank donated design-your-own masks, intended to improve the motivation of students to follow safety practices by allowing them to personally design their masks. In collaboration with Step-in Step-up, a vocational training academy, Yoma Bank also provided mask-wearing training to ensure students wear, remove, and handle masks in a safe manner when they return to school.

THE VOLUNTEERS

China sees increase in number of registered volunteers. The number of registered volunteers reached 169 million in China by the end of 2019, a 13.9% increase year-on-year, according to the Blue Book of Philanthropy—a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Social Sciences Academic Press, and the China Lingshan Council for the Promotion of Philanthropy. These volunteers together offered over 2.2 billion hours of service last year. The monetary value of this work is estimated to be ¥90.3 billion (US$12.8 billion).

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Who’s Doing Good

06 July 2020 - 19 July 2020

THE GIVERS

Renowned filmmakers Wong Kar-Wai, Peter Chan Ho-sun, and Derek Yee pledge US$33.5 million to help revive the Hong Kong Film Industry. The donation will go to Hong Kong’s new Directors’ Succession Scheme, a government-funded initiative to boost the local film industry after Covid-19. The directors have pledged to pass on their skills and experience to the next generation, and they will be pairing up with promising local filmmakers to co-produce films during this uncertain time.

THE THINKERS

Read more about CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 in the Myanmar Times, “Myanmar moves up in Doing Good Index 2020,” and in Arthikpati (Nepali), “डुइङ गुड इन्डेक्स २०२० सार्वजनिक, च्यारिटी∕डोनेशनका लागि राम्रो वातावरण हुनेमा सिगापुर र ताइवान.” Listen to Money FM’s interview with CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro, where she discusses the index and a rising trend of cross-sector collaboration across Asia.

New report: Gender Lens Investing Landscape – East and Southeast Asia. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, in partnership with Catalyst at Large and Sagana, launched the region’s first landscape of gender lends investing (GLI) investment vehicles in both public and private markets. The report aims to track the size and state of the gender lends investing market in Asia over time.

New report: Sustainable Investing Review 2020. According to Standard Chartered’s latest report, Sustainable Investing Review 2020, sustainable investment is on the rise in Asia. 90% of investors in the region said they are interested in sustainable investment and plan to invest 5-10% of their funds in this area. Yet, the report also highlights the need for more awareness and information regarding ESG solutions, as many affluent and high-net-worth investors in the region are still apprehensive about sustainable investing.

THE BUSINESSES

H&M Foundation to support female garment workers in Bangladesh. The Foundation will donate US$1.3 million to provide emergency relief to an estimated 76,000 young women and their families in the greater Dhaka area amidst Covid-19. The funds will be distributed to WaterAid, CARE, and Save the Children. In response to the devastation of the textile industry caused by Covid-19, H&M foundation has also pledged long-term upskilling, re-skilling, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship initiatives to help enhance the employability of female textile workers.

Wadhwani Foundation commits Rs 200 crore (approximately US$27 million) for social development programs amidst Covid-19. The Foundation announced the Sahayata Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises affected by Covid-19 as well as to help public health workers improve their Covid-19 knowledge and skills. The initiative consists of three programs: the Sahayata Business Stability program, the Sahayata Covid-19 Skilling program, and the Sahayata Public Health Innovation program.

Shangri-La partners with Diversey to upcycle 12,500 kg of hotel linen into face masks for the vulnerable. 21 participating Shangri-La hotels in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka joined the initiative Linens for Life Face Masks, together with Diversey, a global hygiene solutions provider. The hotel linens have been upcycled into half a million reusable face masks by local nonprofits in the region. The masks will be distributed to local communities in need, such as refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand and orphanages in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

A joint CSR program in Malaysia to benefit 500 schools nationwide. This program by Green Packet’s subsidiary KiplePay and the Malaysia Xiang Lian Youth Association Charity and Education Fund will create an end-to-end digital experience for 500 schools. This initiative comes in response to Covid-19 which was “a wake-up call for schools to seriously consider putting in place technologically advanced protection systems that can continue to protect school children, even after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Johnson Controls–Hitachi Air Conditioning India to train rural youth across the country. Recently, India’s Prime Minister cited air conditioning as a priority sector in the government’s push to generate jobs. As part of its ‘Unlocking Skills’ CSR initiative, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India will expand skill development for the air conditioner and refrigeration industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The company will leverage its trainers, specially designed curriculum, and its six skill development centers in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to train rural youth via a virtual platform.

Companies continue to give to Covid-19 relief efforts. In Malaysia, Tropicana and Top Glove have jointly announced a donation of RM1.8 million (approximately US$500,000) worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Ministry of Health Malaysia. In India, Hyundai Mobis donated Rs3.5 crore (approximately US$500,000), with Rs 0.5 crore going to the PM CARES Fund and Rs3 crore to distributing masks and sanitizers through a local nonprofit.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Interview: Ruth Shapiro on the Doing Good Index 2020

CAPS’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro shares insights from the second edition of the biennial Doing Good Index, launched in June 2020.

 

Insights with Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed: Doing Good Index 2020

CAPS’ Director of Research Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed shares insights from the second edition of the biennial Doing Good Index, launched in June 2020.

Webinar: Doing Good Index 2020

Profiling Asia's Social Sector: The Path Forward

The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) introduces its second edition of the Doing Good Index (DGI). Hear from Dr. Ruth Shapiro, Co-Founder and Chief Executive, and Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed, Director of Research at CAPS, as they present key findings from the DGI2020 and showcase how governments, philanthropists, companies and the social sector can work together for mutual benefit. During the webinar, learn which factors enable or hinder private social investment across 18 countries and territories in Asia.

Doing Good Index 2020

Profiling Asia's Social Sectors: The Path Forward

The Doing Good Index 2020 lays bare the vital role of the social sector and how the right policies and practices can unleash an enormous US$587 billion per year towards it.

In the wake of Covid-19, the public, private, and social sectors must come together to work towards a stronger and more equitable Asia as we build our way out of this crisis. At a time when foreign funding is declining across the region, “Asia for Asia” philanthropy must fill the gap—and the Doing Good Index shows how. It provides a roadmap of the policies and practices that can unleash this capital by aligning incentives around doing good; mitigating the trust deficit; and maximizing private social investment flowing to the social sector.

The Index has increased its coverage from 15 Asian economies in 2018 index to a total of 18: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. It is based on original data gathered through surveying 2,189 social delivery organizations and interviewing 145 country experts across all 18 economies.

The Doing Good Index 2020 offers a way forward for governments, as well as private and corporate donors to meet the imperatives of building a vibrant social sector for a brighter Asian future. It is with great excitement that we bring you this second edition to help plot the way forward in a post-Covid-19 world. The next edition of the Index, planned for 2022, will reveal how these economies have fared following the Covid-19 pandemic.

View our press release here.

Watch the video presentation from our public webinar here.

Interested in interacting with the Doing Good Index 2020 data and graphics? Stay tuned for the microsite–coming soon!

Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?

25 May 2020 - 8 June 2020

THE GIVERS

The Majurity Trust, a philanthropic organization in Singapore, started the Singapore Strong Fund (SSF) to aid ordinary Singaporeans addressing challenges related to Covid-19. Backed by 10 main donors, it has already helped more than 52,800 people as well as rallied together over 3,700 volunteers. The SG$550,000 (approximately US$400,000) fund, finances up to 80% of a project’s cost or gives SG$5,000 (approximately US$3,600), whichever is lower.

THE NONPROFITS

Give2Asia is featuring local nonprofits across Asia, and how they’re addressing local needs during Covid-19. This includes examples from India, the Philippines, Korea, Cambodia, and Indonesia, among others.

THE BUSINESSES

In Bangladesh, Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis, through its Bangladesh arm, has donated 28,000 PPEs to Swiss Red Cross and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, worth BDT2.27 crore (nearly US$300,000).

In China, SC Johnson is donating ¥1 million (approximately US$140,000) to the Red Cross. It is also launching its 2020 SC Johnson’s Youth for a Green Life partnership with Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation to help children deal with the pandemic. These efforts are part of a series of financial and in-kind donations—valued at over US$1 million—aimed at helping the Asia-Pacific region battle Covid-19.

In Hong Kong, Citi Foundation has donated US$150,000 to Feeding Hong Kong, which employs B2B logistics to channel surplus food stock to charities feeding those in need. The donation will benefit 5,600 households helping provide up to 14 days’ worth of food supply. The gift is accompanied by a donation of 110,000 face masks, which Feeding Hong Kong will distribute to vulnerable families. 

In India, LEGO Group, in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Save the Children, has introduced targeted initiatives in India to promote ‘Learning Through Play’ and support home-based learning during and after Covid-19. This is part of the LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation’s overall commitment of US$50 million globally to help children and their families during Covid-19. Yamaha Motor India donated Rs61.5 lakh (approximately US$90,000) to aid the fight against Covid-19. Rs11.5 lakh of this was earmarked for the PM Cares Fund.

In the Philippines, global shoemaker Bata will donate 2,000 pairs of shoes through SM Foundation to those battling the pandemic including healthcare workers, volunteers, and their families. The effort is part of a global commitment to donate one million pairs of shoes. In an interview with CNBC, Ayala Group Chairman and CEO, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, underscores the role of companies in helping fight Covid-19, noting, “The Covid crisis has created a new sense of public-private partnerships and unity.”

In Singapore, Citi announced three key initiatives in supporting Covid-19 relief efforts: providing food for marginalized communities, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and supporting migrant workers. In addition to a global employee donation-matching initiative, Citi has also raised US$1 million in the Asia Pacific in an effort to further support the United Nations Development Programme’s initiatives for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

In Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Education and Microsoft have partnered to advance remote learning during and after Covid-19. Microsoft will support the Ministry by providing students, teachers, ministry officials, and others stakeholders free access to Microsoft Office 365 tools.

In Taiwan, Taiwan Mobile, part of the Fubon Group, is offering tailor-made industry tech solutions to help enterprise customers (such as major hospitals) in the fight against Covid-19. Its enterprise communication system, M+ Messenger, is helping to ensure business continuity and data security, as well as provide support for hospitals to enhance efficient communication amidst the crisis. Taiwan Mobile also provided 15-day free internet access to over 20,000 students who need to learn from home during the pandemic, along with its other ongoing CSR initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide. The Group also joined other companies in donating masks and hand sanitizer to help combat Covid-19.

In Thailand, the PepsiCo Foundation has partnered with Raks Thai Foundation to initiate three programs valued at THB18 million (approximately US$573,000) to help communities facing hardships due to the pandemic. The programs include “Give Meals Give Hope,” “Give Care to Farmers,” and “Give Care to Healthcare.” Across the programs, PepsiCo Foundation will donate 1 million meals, offer Covid-19 insurance and epidemic prevention gear to more than 3,900 farmers and their families, and donate critical medical equipment to hospitals.

THE INNOVATORS

UNESCAP and Good Return team up to provide a financial injection for women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the time of Covid-19. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Good Return will support women-led SMEs in accessing the capital needed to support their businesses. The partnership will create a multi-country credit guarantee scheme across Cambodia, Nepal, Fiji, and Samoa. This comes at a time in which Covid-19 has exacerbated common challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, such as lack of assets to use as collateral and lower levels of digital literacy.

World Oceans Day prompts a push towards a ‘Blue Economy’ and new financing initiatives. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Cambodia’s “Ocean Economy” is valued at US$2.4 billion (representing around 10% of its GDP) and directly and indirectly employs around 3.2 million workers. In order to protect this, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has outlined four key financial initiatives to assist the country’s transition towards a more sustainable Ocean Economy. These include blue bonds, results-based lending, ocean risk insurance, and payments for ecosystem services. ADB has already committed US$5 billion to expanding its investments and technical assistance in ocean health and the blue economy over a five year period.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Volunteer army in Indonesia helps fight coronavirus with data, web. The Kawal Covid-19 (Guard against Covid-19) group constructs data models to guide the provincial governor in enacting stronger measures to mitigate the outbreak and to counter misinformation. Kawal’s 800 volunteers have emerged as an increasingly important source of information and guidance, particularly amidst patchy data and conflicting advice from Indonesia’s central government. Kawal emerged from volunteer groups that were set up to monitor 2014 and 2019 elections.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org