October 24, 2020

Effective Giving – Bang Or Glitter For Your Buck?

Myanmar people are recognized as being generous in giving money and other support to others. The Charities Aid Foundation (UK) 2019 report on giving lists Myanmar as the second most generous country following the United States. The giving of food as alms to Buddhist monks and nuns each morning is just one element of this generosity.

During the CIVID-19 pandemic, Sa Ba Street Food Tours started delivering 100 cooked meals three times a week to the homeless in downtown Yangon.  For around 60,000 kyat (US$45) Sa Ba can feed 100 people a simple but nutritious dinner and pay the out-of-work street food vendors to cook it and rickshaw drivers to deliver  it to people out-of-work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buddhist monks in Yangon

The generosity of Myanmar people can be understood as being a reflection of Myanmar’s Theravada Buddhist traditions, and is especially significant given that Myanmar is acknowledged as being one of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LCD). As of consequence of the LCD status, there are many Charities and NGO’s operating in Myanmar that provide products need by people who cannot otherwise afford them (such as, artificial limbs), or services to ethnic nationalities, or people with disabilities, or to help community development projects, or for the protection of wildlife and other ecological causes.

Effective Giving to Charities in Myanmar

In 2011 philosopher Peter Singer caused a storm when he questioned why you’d donate to charities like Make-A-Wish.  What is “effective altruism” asked Singer?

How do we know our donations will have a high impact? What is the biggest impact per dollar donated?

25% of people live below the poverty line in Myanmar and COVID-19 has increased hardship.

So, throw your hands in the air and cry, how can I help?

Peter Singer’s Pick Of “Effective Altruism” Charities/NGO’s: The Life You Can Save, assesses charities that appear to have maximum impact.

GiveWell  researches and highlights organization that have a demonstrated impact and cost-effectiveness programs.

Global Giving works with NGOs providing training and tools to be more effective and ensures transparency and accountability.

Here is a list of some of the NGOs that operate in Myanmar, to which donations can be made to assist them in their work:

Actionaid works with people displaced by ethnic tensions or fighting with a focus on developing women’s business, and supporting victims of domestic violence.

Association for Aid and Relief Japan, (AAR Japan) supports of victims of landmine to improve their lives and vocational training school for children with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA). BirdLife Myanmar works with 18 Local Conservation Groups.

Daw Khin Kyi Foundation  was founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to improve education, health and living standards of the poor. It operates 3 vocational training schools.

Days For Girls talks to girls in villages, monasteries and orphanages who have recently turned 9 about their periods. It provides women’s hygiene education and a pretty bag with a small soap, hand towel, underpants, menstruation chart and pads.

Food Not Bombs Myanmar (FnB) is dedicated to nonviolent direct action, providing food and supplies to the victims of natural disasters and poverty.

Girl Determined runs leadership and personal empowerment programs for adolescent girls in 70+ communities throughout Myanmar providing access to education, health knowledge and personal development.

Japan Heart operates a hospital providing low-cost health care that is free for children and works with visually impaired people.

Mary Chapman School for the Deaf operates a day and residential school in Yangon for students who are deaf. The school was founded in 1919. There are about 50 teachers, such as Phyu Phyu Win, who teach through sign language.

Muslim Free Hospital provides free medical services to anyone who is considered unable to pay for health care.

Plan Bee trains 2,000 men and women as beekeepers in South Shan State by providing equipment, ongoing training and business support.

Sa Ba Street Food Tours employs street food vendors to cook for the homeless in downtown Yangon.

The Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) was established by the actor U Kyaw Thu and the film director U Thu Kha.  It pays for the funerals of the homeless regardless of religion or ethnicity.  Services include free ambulances and medical clinics in Yangon and disaster relief to communities affected by floods and cyclones.

The Tekkatho Foundation  creates eLearning materials that are available at universities and community libraries.

Charities and NGO need donations to help implement community development projects, or recover from conflict and natural disasters, or empower people to improve their lives.

In Myanmar, the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) provides social welfare services for people who are blind, deaf or disabled. DSW accepts donations to assist in the operation of 7 schools for the blind, deaf or disabled in Yangon, Sagaing, Kyimyindine and Mandalay.

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