Who’s Doing Good

10 November 2020 - 23 November 2020

THE GIVERS

Azim Premji tops EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2020. In addition, Premji is also recognized for being one of the world’s leading donors to Covid-19 relief efforts, with a combined donation of Rs1,125 crore (approximately US$152 million) from Wipro, Wipro Enterprises, and the Azim Premji Foundation. Shiv Nadar, founder-chairman of HCL, ranks second, followed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries. The list showcases a total of 112 people, whose combined donations increased by 175% to INR12,050 crore (approximately US$1.6 billion) in 2020.

Forbes Asia releases its 14th annual Heroes of Philanthropy list. While this year’s list is unranked and excludes donations made by companies, it shines a light on 15 individual philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region. Some of this year’s biggest donors focused on the Covid-19 pandemic: Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing gave US$32 million to various aid initiatives and Japan’s Tadashi Yanai gave US$105 million to research and vaccine development. Other philanthropists, like Vietnam’s Pham Nhat Vuong, continued to contribute to causes such as education, alongside contributing to relief efforts.

THE THINKERS

Finding the way forward in post-Covid-19 Asia. Covid-19 has made it clear that governments, donors, and the social sector all have an indispensable role in helping societies build back stronger from the pandemic. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 highlights the strengths and opportunities for 18 economies in Asia to build a more enabling environment for such philanthropy to reach the neediest. In our latest webinar series, CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro and Director of Research Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed share country-specific findings on PakistanIndiaKoreaMalaysiaNepal, and Hong Kong.

THE NONPROFITS

Educate Girls among the world’s 100 most inspiring innovations in K12 education. The nonprofit, which works for girls’ education in the remotest villages of India, has announced its selection in HundrED 2021 Global Collection—an annual list that highlights 100 of the most impactful innovations in K12 education from around the world. Educate Girls’ innovation was reviewed by 150 Academy Members consisting of academics, educators, innovators, funders, and leaders from over 50 countries. Since 2007, Educate Girls has enrolled over 750,000 girls in schools, improving learning outcomes for over 1.3 million children. The nonprofit is also well-known for spearheading the world’s first Development Impact Bond in education.

THE BUSINESSES

Interview with Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala on how businesses can be a force for good. In conversation with the McKinsey Quarterly, the chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation discusses macro trends among businesses in Asia and how they’re responding to complex challenges during Covid-19. In the interview, Ayala describes his own learnings and how the Ayala Group responded to the pandemic by prioritizing its employees, upholding its broad ecosystem, and supporting the community at large, especially those most economically vulnerable. The Group also joined forces with other companies to support the government in meeting the immediate needs of communities—underscoring the importance of partnership at a time when both the will and resources required are beyond any one sector’s capacity to provide.

Social bonds strengthen foothold in Asia credit market. Globally, issuance of social bonds shot up more than five times to approximately US$105 billion as of October 2020. Amidst Covid-19, new debt is being increasingly redirected to social and sustainability bonds targeted at supporting rising public health needs and growing economic disparity. This is true in Asia, too, where distribution of social bonds rose 29% this year through June 15 from a year earlier. This augurs well for the region, where Asian governments and institutions have been slow to issue social bonds. Yet, this redirection comes at a cost: green bond issuance in Asia-Pacific in the second quarter of 2020 fell to its lowest level in more than three years.

THE INNOVATORS

The Australian Government and Macquarie Group Foundation support Filipina entrepreneurs. Together with the Macquarie Group Foundation, Australia is committing to an investment program of over P43 million (approximately US$900,000) to aid Filipino women who own small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Responsive Interventions Supporting Entrepreneurs (RISE) Fund aims to help the Philippines build back better by supporting women-led SMEs. Australian ambassador to the Philippines stressed that Filipino women “will play a central role in the recovery from Covid-19 and should have an equal part in a more resilient, inclusive, and broad-based Philippines.”

ABAC Indonesia, Mandiri Capital join forces to invest in start-ups with social impact. APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Indonesia, the private-sector arm of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, has partnered with venture capital firm Mandiri Capital to launch a new fund that will invest in startups with social impact. The Indonesia Impact Fund (IIF) will focus on investing in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups related to five of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): poverty alleviation, sustainable cities and affordable housing, high-quality and accessible education, increased economic participation for women, and affordable health care. The firm aims to raise US$10 million in assets under management by its first close of funding in the second quarter of 2021.

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

27 October 2020 - 09 November 2020

THE GIVERS

Tanoto Foundation, Temasek Foundation International donate PCR equipment to GSI Lab. The latest World Health Organization (WHO) situation report on Indonesia highlighted the need for the country to increase its lab capacity to test suspected Covid-19 cases, as the country lags the Philippines and India in testing. Indonesia’s low testing rate has persisted as laboratories face problems ranging from limited testing equipment and delays in reported results. Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia Lab (GSI Lab), a social enterprise supporting the government’s Covid-19 testing efforts, currently has the capacity to conduct 5,000 tests daily. Thanks to this new donation of PCR equipment from the Tanoto Foundation and Temasek Foundation International, GSI Lab will be able to conduct an additional 600 tests per day.

After fight with prostate cancer, ex-banker Nazir Razak initiates awareness campaign. Former chairman of CIMB Group, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak will help lead a nationwide campaign against prostate cancer this November with the Urological Cancer Trust Fund of Universiti Malaya. A prostate cancer survivor himself, Razak is publicly sharing his experience in hopes that it will help the campaign raise awareness. The campaign is also providing knowledge enhancement programs for doctors and a dedicated website that contains health education resources for the public, patients, and healthcare professionals. According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry, more than 60% of prostate cancer cases in the country are diagnosed at the advanced stage, while the comparable statistics are much lower in Singapore (25-30%) and the United States (less than 20%). The annual campaign will work to lower this number to 40% by 2025. Nazir Razak sits on CAPS’ Advisory Board.

THE NONPROFITS

With more Hongkongers needing food assistance during Covid-19, two local NGOs step up with volunteer delivery effort. Demand for food assistance in Hong Kong is greater than ever this year as residents face financial difficulty during Covid-19. This has prompted two local nonprofits—volunteer organization HandsOn Hong Kong and local food bank Feeding Hong Kong—to launch “Care Delivered”. This service aims to ensure food donations actually reach recipients, which has been hard with social distancing measures in place. Feeding Hong Kong will source the food, while HandsOn Hong Kong will organize volunteers to provide the manpower needed to distribute the food. “Care Delivered” has been selected as one of the 19 beneficiaries of Hong Kong’s annual charity fundraising campaign Operation Santa Claus (organized by South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong), and it will begin its delivery service in March 2021.

THE BUSINESSES

Microsoft, Accenture to nurture startups by social entrepreneurs in India. Microsoft and Accenture announced they will expand their joint initiative, announced earlier this year, on supporting startups in agriculture, education, and healthcare. The program will now also include startups solving critical business challenges related to sustainability and skilling. The program entails Microsoft Research India and Accenture Labs providing mentorship and support to help startups build scalable solutions and business models. This includes testing and validating proof-of-concepts and conducting design thinking sessions. Startups also receive resources from Microsoft and support in using these technologies to scale solutions.

THE INNOVATORS

Asia’s aspiring ‘green-collar’ workers hope for jobs in Covid-19 recovery. A new Singapore-based website is tapping into the growing demand for environmentally focused careers in Asia. It is billed as the first of such initiatives in Southeast Asia—a region that often comes under threat from natural disasters. The “Green Collar” portal lists jobs from renewable energy to farming and climate change in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, with plans to gradually include job opportunities in other parts of the region. This comes as countries around the world are pledging to a “green recovery” from Covid-19. For example, Singapore said in August that it would create 55,000 green jobs over the next decade in the environment and agriculture sectors, while South Korea pledged in July to spend US$95 billion on green projects to boost the economy. The rising demand for green jobs coupled with stimulus measures aimed at concurrently revitalizing economies and fighting climate change augur well for the development of the ‘green sector’ in Asia.

THE VOLUNTEERS

CapitaLand promotes spirit of volunteerism among its employees. CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups, continues to be a leading example in how employee volunteering schemes can amplify the impact of CSR initiatives by contributing time and expertise in addition to funding. CapitaLand was among the first companies in Singapore to formalize a three-day Volunteer Service Leave system in 2006. Since then, it has expanded its leave policy to include Volunteer No-Pay Leave, Volunteer Part-Time Leave, and other initiatives. Employees can also take paid leave for volunteering as part of the company’s International Volunteer Expedition (IVE) program, in which employees volunteer at one of CapitaLand’s 29 Hope Schools across China and Vietnam. Such policies and initiatives have helped drive employee volunteerism: CapitaLand employees have volunteered over 170,000 hours between 2006 and 2019.

IN OTHER NEWS…

After government refusal, some foreign nonprofits start diverting funds from cash distribution plan. As much as US$3 million was supposed to be spent in cash distribution by international NGOs in Nepal to communities affected by Covid-19. However, the Nepalese government introduced standards on relief distribution in April, which prioritized distribution of goods instead of cash. This article in The Kathmandu Post explores why the government has clamped down on cash distribution and how foreign NGOs are responding. In the meantime, these nonprofits are facing difficulty convincing donors to allow them to divert funds meant for cash transfers to be used for other relief materials. This has translated to delays in the distribution of much-needed support to those in need.

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

2018 Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index: Asia

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360 & the International Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ICNL)

The fifth edition of this annual index analyzes the capacity of civil society organizations in nine countries across Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It assesses civil society’s capacity to serve both as a partner in the delivery of short-term solutions and in driving longer-term sustainable development outcomes. Read it here.

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.

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 and watch the video presentation from our public webinar.

Doing Good Index Microsite

Interact with the data on our newly launched Doing Good Index microsite. Featuring a data dashboard, our microsite lets you filter and explore data from our survey of 2,189 social delivery organizations (SDOs) and interviews with 145 country experts across 18 Asian economies.

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

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

12 May 2020 - 24 May 2020

THE GIVERS
Individuals continue to donate cash, services, and supplies to Covid-19 relief efforts.

Donations to the Cambodian government’s efforts to fight Covid-19 pour in. An estimated US$23 million in donations have come in from local donors and civil servants—64,000 of whom pledged to donate portions of their salaries to help fight Covid-19. Another US$40 million has come in from international partners.

Popular TV talent Shinobu Sakagami and Japanese rock star Toshiki of X Japan are going public with their donations to Covid-19 relief efforts in hope that it will nudge others toward charity. Both stars upped their charitable giving during the crisis—Sakagami pledged to donate his entire salary for the duration of Japan’s state of emergency and Yoshiki donated ¥10 million (nearly US$95,000) to Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine. They aim to fight the stigma around publicizing one’s charity and hope to tap into what Sakagami calls a “hidden reservoir of generosity” in Japan. CAPS’ upcoming Doing Good Index 2020 shows that 88% of surveyed social delivery organizations in Japan believe that individual giving remains low in their economy.

THE THINKERS

Fixing the trust deficit in our sector. Rachita Vora, co-founder and director of India Development Review (IDR), writes about how Covid-19 has irradiated the value of the nonprofit sector, offering a unique opportunity for the sector to rebrand itself. In this article, Vora outlines how the sector can “tell a different story about the work nonprofits do, why it matters, and why the sector must be a crucial part of any effort at strengthening our influence in society.”

THE NONPROFITS
Charities continue to serve communities affected by Covid-19, even as they deal with economic hardship and disrupted operations.

BRAC has allocated BDT 30 million (approximately US$355,000) for low-income families in Bangladesh who were impacted by Cyclone Amphan. Funds will focus on repairing households and water sanitation and hygiene facilities damaged to ensure people living in these areas can continue hygiene practices during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. BRAC is also providing cash assistance to 100,000 families affected by Covid-19 in Bangladesh.

ChildFund Korea is donating US$77,000 to a ChildFund Cambodia project that will help educate more than 275,000 children and their families across 334 villages in Cambodia. The project will help commune councils strengthen their relief plans as well as provide educational materials across national television and social media. Videos produced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, UNICEF, and Save the Children will be part of the campaign focusing on disease prevention amidst Covid-19, learning from home, and mental and physical well-being, among other topics. Khmer Times interviewed other NGOs in Cambodia to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on nonprofits and how they are soldiering on.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies continue to donate cash and needed supplies to communities affected by Covid-19. For organizations dependent on CSR funding, the pouring of such funds into Covid-19 relief efforts is leaving them uncertain about their future projects. 

In Bangladesh, mobile finance service provider Bkash is the latest company to add a ‘Donation’ button to the main menu of its mobile app to streamline donations to 11 humanitarian organizations aiding Covid-19 relief efforts. Dettol Harpic Porichchonno Bangladesh (DHPB) will donate hygiene products such as Dettol soaps, Harpic cleaners, and other products to 50,000 families across the country, in partnership with BRAC and Bangladesh Scouts. The company will also partner with BRAC to provide cash donations to 500 poor and needy families in rural Bangladesh. 

In China, Ant Financial Services Group released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing its efforts to leverage digital technology for social good. The report also details the variety of digital services and measures launched to help fight Covid-19 and mitigate its impacts. 

In India, ET Intelligence Group looks at how Covid-19 is likely to have a severe impact on traditional CSR expenditure and the ecosystem dependent on it, as donations to the PM Cares Fund and Covid-19 relief work qualify as CSR expenditure. The article highlights how some companies in India have already exceeded their FY19 CSR expenditure on Covid-19 related efforts. Whether companies will expand their CSR budgets given the pandemic is still a question to be answered. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 13, the PM CARES fund will allocate ₹3,100 crore (approximately US$410 million) to Covid-19 relief measures, including funds for ventilators, migrant workers, and vaccine development. The announcement comes one and a half months after the fund was established on March 27. SBI Foundation, the CSR arm of State Bank of India, has committed ₹30 crore (approximately US$4 million) to implement various Covid-19 relief programs across the country.

In Malaysia, brands joined forces to launch CSR efforts that support communities in need during Ramadan. This includes Fave Malaysia, Nestle Malaysia, UMobile, Tiffin, AirAsia, Shell Malaysia, and others. Nestle has mobilized its value chain to launch a global Covid-19 response, including in Malaysia. Nestle has pledged to support 200,000 socially vulnerable Malaysians amid the crisis, committed US$3.4 million to a fund that will supplement the livelihoods of lower-income communities and small enterprises, donated US$230,000 to the Malaysian Red Crescent, donated 10,000 Nestle family food packages, and channeled US$115,000 to the Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia. 

In Pakistan, the National Bank of Pakistan has topped up earlier contributions towards Covid-19 relief with a donation of Rs80 million (approximately US$500,000) to support over 26,000 financially vulnerable households.

In the Philippines, LT Group is donating a bio-molecular laboratory, worth P15 million (approximately US$300,000), to the Philippine Red Cross in Batangas City, capable of conducting 4,000 Covid-19 tests daily. The lab is scheduled to be completed within a month. Union Bank of the Philippines’ UShare donation platform is helping ramp-up relief operations by facilitating online donations to NGOs in the largely cash-based country. Since the quarantine began, daily transactions via the platform have increased by 87%. Hyundai Motor through H.A.R.I. Foundation, the CSR arm of Hyundai Asian Resources, donated 2,200 PPE items to the Lung Center of the Philippines. Philippines Tatler gives a round up of Filipinos leading the fight against Covid-19, from conglomerates like SM Group to local mayors. The government also launched a public-private task force T3 (Test, Trace, and Treat) to urgently expand testing for Covid-19 from approximately 4,500 tests per day to at least 30,000 tests per day. The government task force is receiving support from the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the Philippine National Red Cross, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other private sector actors.

In Singapore, Perennial Real Estate Holding and Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings have teamed up to donate five million surgical masks to the National Council of Social Service for vulnerable communities, making it the largest donation of surgical masks in Singapore for Covid-19 to date. Some Singaporean companies who do not need the Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) payouts have decided to return the payouts to government, while others are donating the money to charity. For example, German pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingelheim is donating its JSS payouts to five charities selected by its employees. Food firm TiffinLabs, co-founded by one of Singapore’s youngest billionaires Kishin R.K., has setup the Food is Love Foundation to give free meals to the needy during Covid-19. This includes 20,000 restaurant-quality meals in partnership with charity Free Food For All and 10,000 meals to healthcare workers, among other initiatives.

In Cambodia, Coca-Cola Cambodia diverted US$200,000 from its advertising budget to invest directly in a campaign to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The company also partnered with the Ministry of Health, City Hall, Union Youth Federations of Cambodia, and Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth and Doctors Association to help distribute anti-epidemic supplies, PPE, and educational materials to impoverished communities, front-line medical workers, tuk-tuk drivers, hospitals, health centers and quarantine facilities. 

THE INNOVATORS

Crowdfunding projects help virus-hit businesses in Japan. Popular crowdfunding sites Campfire, Readyfor, and MotionGallery have waived commission fees since late February. Since, these platforms have raised a total of over ¥1.7 billion (approximately US$16 million) for at least 1,000 projects up till May 8, including support for restaurants, hotel operators, and event hosts who suffered sharp falls in sales amid Covid-19.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Oxfam to close in 18 countries, including its country offices in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Oxfam International is to lay off almost 1,500 staff and close operations in 18 countries as the nonprofit’s funding has been impacted by Covid-19 and recent scandals, including the Haiti sex abuse scandal. The charity announced that it will focus on ushering in change and facilitating a deeper footprint of impact in the countries they will continue to operate in.

Covid-19 shrinks civic space in Southeast Asia. In a recent article for The Jakarta Post, the directors of Bangkok-based Asia Centre highlight examples from across Southeast Asia, where civil society organizations (CSOs) are feeling the grip of Covid-19 legislation and social distancing measures. The article looks at how restrictions have halted organizations’ work and how funding has been diverted from CSOs to Covid-19 relief efforts.

International NGOs likely to slash funds for Nepal as pandemic affects developed world, stakeholders say. According to the Development Cooperation Report 2018-19 published by the Finance Ministry, international NGOs disbursed US$215 million to various projects in Nepal in that year. Stakeholders expressed uncertainty about whether the country will see the same funding commitments in the coming year amidst Covid-19. The president of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal noted that while aid pledged to the health sector is likely to remain stable, funding to other sectors might decrease. After the Social Welfare Council allowed foreign NGOs to divert 20% of their budget to Covid-19 efforts, a growing number of foreign NGOs have followed suit.

For microfinance lenders, Covid-19 is an existential threat. The Economist argues that the financial interests of the world’s poorest are not receiving enough attention as Covid-19 impacts microfinance lenders around the world. The article includes examples from Asia, such as Dvara Trust in Chennai, India and the microfinance arm of BRAC in Bangladesh, who are unable to carry out business as usual amidst lockdown measures and economic headwinds from the crisis.

Korean NGO’s role in supporting ‘comfort women’ questioned. The Diplomat reports on recent accusations from a former victim of mishandled donations. According to the Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, if allegations are true, the NGO Korean Council for Justice Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan might have exaggerated when reporting to the tax authorities. In a press conference, the NGO’s director Yoon Mi-hyang admitted there were mistakes in the organization’s accounting practices but pointed to “the nature of a civic group without enough people to handle heavy workloads.”

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