This report examines the philanthropic contributions toward social development by the corporate sector in Pakistan. It is the fifteenth edition in the series. The report describes the relationship between business and society, and how it impacts corporate giving. How the government’s Ehsaas Program for poverty reduction aligns with corporate giving is also discussed. The report makes several policy recommendations on ways to facilitate corporate giving and improve their effectiveness. Read it here.
Corporate Philanthropy in Pakistan 2018: Mapping Corporate Sector Contribution Towards Government EHSAAS Program
Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2019: Ambitions beyond growth
This report assesses the investment needed for the Asia Pacific region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. It argues that stable economic growth in recent years has come at the cost of heightened inequality and environmental degradation. Prioritizing GDP growth at all costs is no longer feasible nor desirable. An estimated US$1.5 trillion is needed per year for the region to meet the SDG 2030 target. The report charts the course to achieving this, highlighting the economic policies that can support structural transformations, necessary investments into human capital and the environment, and the regional and cross-sector collaborations that should be maximized. Read it here.
CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good
BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, rethinks its future. As Covid-19 continues to restrict its ability to work outside of Bangladesh, BRAC is aiming to expand its partnerships and engage more in advocacy work to scale its impact. The NGO’s shift to focus on capacity building and policy shines light on what the future of development work may look like after Covid-19. Others in the space, such as Oxfam, also foresee a shift to a partnership model rather than a direct delivery model. Continue reading in Devex →
Companies ranging from global brands to small businesses are offering pandemic aid to Thailand’s migrant workers. After the country’s recent spike in coronavirus cases, companies have stepped up to provide immediate supplies for migrant workers, who are mostly from Myanmar. CP Foods, Thai Union Group, and Osotspa have donated food and drink supplies, alongside global brands like PepsiCo and Mars. True Corp also joined the effort by donating mobile phone SIM cards to provide internet access for the migrant worker community. Continue reading in Reuters →
For Indian companies, spending on vaccine campaigns will count as CSR. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs declared that expenditure by Indian companies on awareness campaigns around the Covid-19 vaccination rollout could be counted towards their mandated CSR. Corporate spending on vaccine research and development as well as medical devices will also qualify. With these new changes, corporates are now lobbying for the vaccination of employees to also be included under the umbrella of CSR spending. Continue reading in India CSR →
Chinese philanthropy takes new shape amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. During the first half of 2020, Chinese philanthropists contributed more than US$2.82 billion to fight Covid-19. According to the report, Pandemic Philanthropy: Exploring Chinese Donors’ Embrace of Covid-19 R&D Funding, the pandemic spurred a shift in philanthropic giving from providing physical goods to focusing on research and development. This report discusses this welcome trend of investing in longer-terms needs, as well as other notable shifts in Chinese philanthropy during the pandemic. Continue reading in The Nonprofit Times →
The Philippines’ PLDT is bridging the digital divide in education’s new normal. In 2016, Smart Communications, a subsidiary of PLDT, launched “School-in-a-Bag”, a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate learning in remote areas using mobile technology. Each kit contains a laptop for the teacher, 20 tablets for students that can access interactive apps offline, and a Smart LTE pocket WiFi for teachers to download additional content. As kids rely even more on digital technology to continue learning in the pandemic, PLDT has donated an additional 86 digital classroom kits to the Department of Education this school year. Since its launch, the “School-in-a-Bag” kits have reached 80,000 students and 2,000 teachers across the Philippines. Continue reading in the Manila Standard →
The Jennifer Yu Cheng Girls Impact Foundation was recently launched to educate and empower schoolgirls in Greater China to become leaders in a digitalized economy. The new charity was launched by Jennifer Yu Cheng, executive director of Chow Tai Fook and wife of Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman and chief executive of New World Development. The foundation will partner with NGOs and other institutions to extend scholarships to teenage girls in underprivileged communities, starting with China’s Guizhou province. The foundation will also work to empower girls in Hong Kong with improved tech skills and wider exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post →
Azim Premji sells shares worth Rs 9,000 crore in buyback, benefitting his two philanthropic trusts. The Azim Premji Trust and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives will earn Rs 7,807 crore (over US$1 billion) from this, making them one of the largest charitable trusts in the region. Both organizations focus on education, nutrition, and issues related to vulnerable groups including street children, people with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence. Continue reading in the Times of India →
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Who’s Doing Good
National Legacy Giving initiative to inspire philanthropic culture in Singapore. According to a Social Pulse Survey, there is a disconnect between awareness and action when it comes to legacy giving in Singapore. While the majority of respondents (83%) are aware of legacy giving, only 33% are considering it, and only 3% would follow through in planning such a bequest. In an effort to make legacy giving more common, The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has launched a three-year national legacy giving initiative, titled, “A Greater Gift”. The initiative will work in partnership with wealth advisors and ambassadors—individuals who share why they chose to pursue legacy giving—to facilitate more awareness and planning. CFS will also support charities, especially smaller ones, which may not be equipped to engage legacy donors.
How a Bengaluru NGO raised Rs220 crore for fight against coronavirus. The India COVID Response Fund, a collective crowdfunding campaign by nonprofit GiveIndia has raised over Rs220 crore (approximately US$30 million) since its launch in March this year. The fund received early support from well-known foundations, high-net-worth individuals, and businesses, which helped spur further giving from individuals around the world. So far the fund has disbursed Rs190 crore (approximately US$26 million) in cash relief, humanitarian aid, and healthcare support to frontline workers through its network of verified nonprofits.
Businesses continue providing relief aid in the wake of Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses. The Philippines’ leading companies, including Ayala Group, SM Malls, and MVP Group, have ramped up relief efforts to help communities affected by recent super typhoons. To encourage more cash aid from abroad, the remittance service unit of the Philippines’ BDO Unibank is waving charges on typhoon donations from overseas Filipinos until December 31. The bank’s philanthropic arm, the BDO Foundation, has also distributed relief packs containing food, rice, and drinking water to more than 260,000 families in affected cities and municipalities. Foreign companies are also stepping up: fashion giant H&M donated US$200,000 to the Red Cross to meet the needs of 260,000 people affected in Vietnam and the Philippines. Japanese retailer Uniqlo donated US$1 million in aid through the SM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Philippines’ SM Group.
DBS steps up support for social enterprises with a record SG$9 million (approximately US$6.8 million) in grants and loans this year. DBS Bank has increased its financial support to help social enterprises cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic through two new initiatives this year: the DBS Foundation Business Transformation and Improvement Grant and the DBS Foundation Social Impact Prize. The DBS Foundation has also continued its flagship DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Program. Last week the foundation announced that SG$1.4 million (approximately US$1 million) has been awarded to 13 social enterprises in its 2020 cohort.
PwC India to upskill 300 million young people in India over the next 10 years. PwC India announced the launch of its new collaborative initiative aimed at bridging the digital gap and upskilling 300 million young people in India over the next 10 years. This is part of PwC’s global collaboration with UNICEF and Generational Unlimited, a multi-sector partnership aimed at helping 1.8 billion young people transition from school to work by 2030. The program will act as a catalyst by working with a range of public and private stakeholders to create equitable opportunities for young people through enhanced employability and earnings potential. PwC India will provide broad support across three areas: Economic Opportunities and Employability, 21st Century Skilling and Learning, and Youth Engagement.
BillionBricks: the Singapore social enterprise tackling homelessness by building solar homes in the Philippines. Social enterprise BillionBricks is known for its pioneering invention, the WeatherHYDE emergency tent, which has been distributed around the world. However, in recognizing that this tent model was only an interim housing solution, the founders developed the BillionBricks Home: the world’s first self-financing, carbon-negative solar home solution. Each BillionBricks Home is equipped with solar panels that produce four times more energy than what is consumed, allowing families to sell unused energy to the grid and generate additional income. Prototypes for the BillionBricks Home have already been built in India and the Philippines, and in 2022 the first community of 500 solar homes will be built in the Philippines. If this model succeeds, BillionBricks plans to scale its solar-powered community globally by sharing its self-sustaining model as a playbook for organizations around the world to replicate.
Indonesians take local approach to massive problem of food waste. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Food Sustainability Index, Indonesia ranked 53rd out of 67 countries on food loss and waste. This Nikkei Asia article highlights Indonesian social sector organizations working to bridge the gap between food wastage and food insecurity. For instance, Garda Pangan redistributed discarded food from restaurants, local farmers, and business partners to provide 144,000 meals. Volunteer-led Foodbank of Indonesia has collected 1,200 tons of food this year alone that would have otherwise been wasted. While there is still a lack of awareness around food loss and waste in Indonesia, this article highlights the importance of social sector organizations in bringing attention to the issue and meeting immediate nutritional needs.
HealthServe’s Goh Wei-Leong shares how his nonprofit pivoted during Covid-19. As a medical doctor, Goh Wei-Leong co-founded the nonprofit HealthServe to provide marginalized migrant workers in Singapore with healthcare, counseling and social assistance. When Singapore’s Covid-19 outbreak led to the overnight loss of 95% of its medical volunteers, HealthServe had to pivot. The nonprofit rapidly launched teleconsultation services to make up for the shortfall and escalated the roll-out of mental wellness initiatives such as a virtual tele-counseling clinic and group intervention sessions. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, volunteers still remained engaged digitally and Goh credits the organization’s success to its volunteers: “The pandemic brought out the best among our volunteers and it shows that in the midst of struggling, there is a ray of hope.”
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Who’s Doing Good
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Who’s Doing Good
Raymond Roy Wong, Hong Kong’s ‘godfather of journalism’, donates HK$50 million (US$6.45 million) to Baptist University school of communication. The donation will be used to establish the Dorothy Shen Wong Memorial Fund, in honor of Wong’s late wife. The fund will support the teaching of media ethics, help advance practicing journalists, and provide scholarships for outstanding journalism students. The donation will also go towards setting up the first-ever Endowed Professorship in Media Ethics and Professional Journalism Fellowship at the university, alongside scholarships for students to acquire global exposure in the journalism field. Wong’s donation is the biggest single donation the school has received to date.
In the Philippines, tax perks await donors of computers and supplies to public schools. With schools having to transition to blended learning and online classes during Covid-19, donations of needed technology to public schools will now be rewarded with tax deductions. These new tax perks under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act will be applied to donations of personal computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, printers, and other similar equipment. During the implementation period of the Bayanihan 2 Law (September 15 to December 19, 2020), corporate and individual donors will qualify for deductions from their gross income equivalent to the amount of donation. Further, the Bureau of Internal Revenue said that foreign donations will be exempt from value-added tax (VAT) as well as the requirement for ‘authority to release imported goods’ (ATRIG) to speed up the distribution of donations.
Companies in the Philippines are stepping up to support distance learning during Covid-19. Coca-Cola Philippines donated 200 desktop computers to its employees to support distance learning for their children during the pandemic. Gokongwei Brothers Foundation and Robinson’s Land Corporation donated 50 desktop computers and 10 laptops to Pasig City to support the local government unit’s fight against Covid-19. PLDT, its subsidiary Smart Communications, and PLDT Enterprise have teamed up with over a hundred schools, colleges, and universities nationwide, as well as Microsoft and Google, to make connectivity and digital solutions more accessible to the education sector. This includes discounted PLDT Home Wifi and Smart Bro Pocket Wifi units, pre-loaded 5G-ready SIM cards, and software licenses, among other digital solutions.
Philippine conglomerate Ayala closes new VC fund at US$180 million. Ayala Corporation’s new global venture capital fund is now the largest VC fund to emerge out of the Philippines. The Active Fund—short for Ayala Corporation Technology Innovation Venture—plans to inject between US$2 million to US$10 million into global startups in their series A to series D stages. The Fund will focus on fintech, ecommerce, construction tech, and proptech ventures, as well as companies aiming to solve urban city issues in Asia. The fund will be managed by Kickstart Ventures, a subsidiary of Globe Telecom.
Sony doubles down on ESG goals amid coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Sony adopted an official mandate to increase its focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and be an active stakeholder in the global community. During Covid-19, Sony has accelerated its ESG initiatives, including the launch of its own US$100 million fund for Covid-19 relief efforts in March. In addition to donating to education—such as supplying free programming learning kits in Japan, China, and the United States—the company has also deployed funds to aid those in the music industry. As part of its environmental initiatives, Sony has set up a separate fund to support startups developing environmental technologies, with plans to invest US$9.46 million over the course of the next three to five years. Alongside these and other ESG efforts, the company also aims to achieve a “zero environmental footprint” by 2050.
NagaWorld Kind Hearts donates US$2 million to Water Wells Foundation. NagaWorld Kind Hearts, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of NagaWorld, Cambodia’s largest hotel and gaming resort, announced a US$2 million donation to the Water Wells Foundation. This donation is NagaWorld’s answer to the Royal Government’s call for assistance in the sustainable rural development of Cambodia. Since 2014, NagaWorld Kind Hearts has conducted a range of CSR activities in Cambodia focused on education enhancement, community engagement, sports development, and environmental care, as well as aiding the government’s Covid-19 relief efforts over the past year.
Indonesia may have quietly beaten dengue fever. Indonesian researchers have quietly achieved a major breakthrough that could lead to the elimination of dengue fever—a mosquito-borne disease that affects around 8 million Indonesians per year. Working with the Tahija Foundation and Jogjakarta’s Gadja Mahda University, the World Mosquito Program has made stunning strides in efforts to reduce incidences of dengue in parts of Indonesia. This article details how trials in Jogjakarta have successfully increased the percentage of mosquitos with Wolbachia, which can help block the transmission of dengue and other viruses like zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. This development is timely as Indonesia’s Health Ministry reported in June 2020 that 400 cities and districts across the country have recorded cases of double infection, where dengue and Covid-19 have occurred together in one patient.
Bridging the food waste and food insecurity gap: how Singaporeans are doing their part. Singapore’s food waste has risen by one fifth in the last decade, yet many remain without access to nutritious meals. This article highlights some recent innovations—from virtual food banking apps to social enterprise cloud kitchens—and how government, businesses, and nonprofits are coming together to ensure quality food donations and efficient distribution. These innovations and collaborations are also giving a boost to struggling sectors of the economy, such as the F&B industry. New sources of funding are also emerging in this area: DBS Foundation introduced a new Zero Food Waste category to its grant program this year and the government’s National Environment Agency announced a SG$1.76 million (approximately US$1.3 million) Food Waste Fund to cover the cost of implementing food waste treatment solutions for local organizations.
IN OTHER NEWS…
Tencent’s 9/9 Charity Day breaks fundraising records once again, but gains are unequally distributed. The year’s 9/9 Charity Day raised a record-breaking total of nearly US$450 million in donations. However, a recent report by the Charity Forum found that one-third of the total donations went to four big organizations—the Chongqing Charity Federation, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, and Henan and Shaanxi provincial charity federations—all of which are organized and backed by the state. This leaves hundreds of smaller nonprofits and grassroots organizations competing for the remaining donations. Another report by Sixth Tone also raises the concern that after years of competing with these charity giants, some smaller nonprofits have ceased to participate at all.
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Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?
Individuals are funding initiatives that support nonprofits and hard-hit communities.
Kenji Kasahara, founder of Mixi, established the ¥1 billion (approximately US$10 million) “Mitene Fund” to support organizations focused on aiding children and their families affected by Covid-19 in Japan. ETIC, a social sector intermediary and CAPS’ partner for our social enterprise study, is providing administrative support for the fund.
More than 150 investors and startup founders in India pool US$13 million for the “Act Grants” initiative to fund projects that fight Covid-19. The group includes prominent industry figures such as Nandan Nilekani, Vijay Shekhar Sham, and Kalyan Krishnamurthy, as well as investors from dozens of venture capital and private equity firms.
Thai billionaires answer Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s invitation to the Kingdom’s 20 richest individuals to set aside funding for the country’s fight against Covid-19. In addition to CP Group’s Chearavanont Family and B.Grimm’s Harald Link, the Osathanugrah Family, which owns Osotspa, is the latest to announce a THB100 million (approximately US$3 million) donation to fund Covid-19 relief efforts. Muangthai Capital’s Chuchat Petaumpai also announced THB110 million (approximately US$3.4 million) in aid, 200,000 relief kits for the jobless, and THB50 million (approximately US$1.6 million) for hospital equipment. Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, owner of Bangkok Airways and Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, promised THB100 million (approximately US$3 million) for digging ponds and artesian wells in Sukhothai province to help people fight droughts after the pandemic.
Britain’s Prince Charles launched a new Covid-19 emergency appeal fund for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Prince Charles announced the initiative in his role as the Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust—a development organization fighting poverty across South Asia.
Creative public-private collaborations in Taiwan and South Korea bolster the fight against coronavirus. In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Yuen Wai Hung, Marina Cortes, and Mara Hansen Staples give insight into how cooperation between public and private actors in these two Asian economies enabled a prompt response to the challenge of distributing urgently needed health products during Covid-19.
Charities are stepping up their operations and joining forces to serve communities affected by Covid-19.
Just Cause has highlighted key trends on how nonprofits are responding to Covid-19 from conversations with nonprofit leaders in Singapore. These include focusing on vital efforts to keep communities safe, finding news ways of working with communities, seeking flexible support from government and private funders, and investing in building resilience for the future.
Companies are contributing to Covid-19 relief efforts and donating medical supplies, food and beverages, and other staples to affected communities.
Sony established the US$100 million Sony Global Relief Fund for Covid-19 to support affected communities around the world. Through the fund Sony will provide support by assisting front-line healthcare workers and first responders, supporting children and educators, and supporting members of the creative community in the entertainment industry. US$10 million from the fund will go to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.
Rakuten Viber and WHO have joined forces to fight misinformation around Covid-19 through an interactive multi-language chatbot available globally. The bot also features a “Donate Now” button which prompts users to support WHO by donating to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Japan-based Terumo Corporation is donating US$2.4 million in cash and products to support Covid-19 relief efforts worldwide. This includes a US$1 million donation to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.
Fosun RZ Capital and Alpine Capital, two investors that have been investing in the Indian startup ecosystem, announced a donation of 20,000 Covid-19 testing kits to the country. The donation also saw participation from Fosun Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Shanghai-based conglomerate Fosun International.
Hodo Group, the Chinese clothes manufacturer, announced that it will donate 1 million face masks to Cambodia to support the country’s fight against Covid-19. Since the outbreak, Hodo Group has refitted some of its assembly lines to produce anti-epidemic supplies, with a daily output exceeding 300,000 masks.
HP announced education partnerships around the world to support students and schools impacted by Covid-19. This includes partnering with Rise in China to build a home education ecosystem and launch an education printer package for students. Aside from these initiatives, HP has contributed US$3 million in grants and US$5 million in product donations to the fight against Covid-19 worldwide.
Unilever Bangladesh pledged BDT200 million (approximately US$2.5 million) to help the country fight Covid-19. The commitment includes donating products, improving public health infrastructure, and protecting the livelihoods of those who work across its value chain. Since the outbreak, Unilever Bangladesh has also donated BDT10 million (approximately US$150,000) worth of hygiene and household products.
Shinhan Financial Group and Korean bio company Seegene donated 10,000 Covid-19 diagnostic kits and 300 protective suits to the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Physical Education.
Indorama Ventures, a Thai conglomerate, has expanded its Covid-19 relief efforts, including donations of medical equipment, food, and other needed resources to seven more countries: the United States, France, India, Brazil, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic. This comes after a THB2 million (approximately US$650,000) donation, through the IVL Foundation, to support the Covid-19 response in Thailand.
PepsiCo commits THB18 million (approximately US$600,000) to support Covid-19 relief efforts in Thailand. PepsiCo Thailand, Suntory PepsiCo Beverages Thailand, and the PepsiCo Foundation have partnered with the Raks Thai Foundation to reach the most vulnerable communities through the “Give for Hope” project. The initiative will operate for 3 months to distribute over 1 million meals to communities adversely impacted by Covid-19. It will also provide Covid-19 insurance and health protective items to more than 3,900 farmers and their families, as well as donate medical equipment to hospitals.
Coca-Cola India pledged over ₹100 crore (approximately US$13 million) for the Covid-19 fight. The donation aims to impact 1 million lives across India and includes support for healthcare workers.
Islamic Finance takes on Covid-19. UNDP outlines how zakat can play an important role by providing short-term emergency support to national and NGO support programs, and how sukuk and waqf can be important sources of capital for long-term recovery and resilience.
Indonesia sees rise in donations, volunteers, and social innovation. The country has seen a number of crowdfunding campaigns launched on local platforms, and by late March, 15,000 medical students from 158 universities had signed up to volunteer. Social innovation is also soaring with tech companies and universities contributing to the country’s fight against Covid-19 through a range of initiatives, from ultraviolet-disinfection booths and disinfectant chambers to robots for monitoring and communicating with Covid-19 patients. Home to a thriving startup and digital sector, Indonesia is also seeing new collaborations between various actors to aid the fight against Covid-19.
In this section, we usually share stories about scandals that are having negative repercussions for the social sector. With the fear and anxiety surrounding Covid-19, there are some trust-breaking stories circulating from price-gouging to faulty medical supplies. Fortunately, the stories of people being constructive during these times far outnumber them. We look forward to bringing more of these positive stories to you in the coming weeks.
The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Vietnam
This report provides an overview of the impact of Covid-19 on the social sector in Vietnam. It is based on a survey of 101 civil society organizations (CSO) conducted between 31 March and 10 April 2020. Almost all (96%) of CSOs report their operations are impacted as a result of the outbreak. Mobilizing funds and coordinating with others in the social sector has become more difficult. Some CSOs are adapting to be able to continue supporting their beneficiaries. Recommendations for how stakeholders can support CSOs during and after this outbreak are also discussed. Read it here: English, Vietnamese.