ASEAS 10(2) Philanthropy, Giving, and Development

ASEAS 10(2) on Philanthropy, Giving, and Development was published in December 2017. Find all article downloads below!


  • Philanthropy, Giving, and Development in Southeast Asia – Rosalia Sciortino
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-1
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Aktuelle Südostasienforschung / Current Research on Southeast Asia

  • Philanthropy in Southeast Asia: Between Charitable Values, Corporate Interests, and Development AspirationsRosalia Sciortino
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-2
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    This article presents an overview of the evolving state of philanthropy in Southeast Asia, driven by global and local stimuli and shaped by often conflicting notions of charity, development, and business. Despite the lack of a strong enabling environment, new, ‘homegrown’ foundations and local forms of institutionalized giving continue to emerge. At the same time, changes in the donor landscape and shifts in philanthropic paradigms towards business-like and technocratic approaches affect how development causes are funded. In the process, gaps have begun to appear in how work by civil society organizations on human rights and social justice is funded; this may jeopardize more equitable and inclusive development.
    Keywords: Charity; Development; Development Financing; Philanthropy; Southeast Asia
  • Legacies of Cultural Philanthropy in AsiaMary Zurbuchen
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-3
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    During the second half of the 20th century the Ford Foundation – at the time the world’s largest private philanthropy – made a significant commitment to issues of cultural heritage as part of its international work in Asia. Across countries in South and Southeast Asia, in particular, foundation grants were made to governments, private institutions, and individuals engaged in a wide range of fields in the arts, humanities, and applied sciences such as archaeology. The Foundation’s culture programs embraced tangible heritage as well as a range of living traditions and cultural expression. Such rubrics served as important labels locating culture within the broad portfolio of the Foundation’s grant-making, as well as touchstones employed to justify philanthropy’s attention to culture in contrast to the dominant emphasis of international aid on economic development and modernization. This paper will look at how one of the world’s most important international philanthropies built a rationale for activism in cultural fields in Asia, how a decentralized format for local decision-making enabled sustained support for building capacity and knowledge in the arts and humanities, and, ultimately, how the ‘culture lens’ has gradually been displaced– or perhaps redefined – in the Foundation’s current international work. Keywords: Art; Asia; Culture; Ford Foundation; Philanthropy
  • Moving Beyond Charity to Philanthropy? The Case of Charitable Giving in ThailandNatalie Phaholyothin
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-4
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    This paper outlines the characteristics of the philanthropic sector in Thailand today. It first describes the local concept of giving, which is intricately linked to Theravada Buddhism. Then, the paper provides examples of traditional forms of philanthropic institutions that are more closely associated with charity than philanthropy, followed by examples of innovative forms of philanthropic efforts. Given the trajectory of economic development in Thailand, opportunities to engage broader public interest in philanthropy exist and in order to do so, there is need for the sector in general to build stronger evidence of how public giving is translated into social impact. The main challenge to the Thai philanthropic sector is the limited attention to accountability and transparency, as philanthropic entities generally have not developed robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks that target outcomes. This can be turned into an opportunity to address the general lack of focus on strategy development, weak monitoring systems, and a limited reporting of outcomes.
    Keywords: Charity; Giving; Philanthropic Organizations; Thai Philanthropy; Thailand
  • Giving Trends in Myanmar: More Than Merit Making Cavelle Dove
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-5
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    Myanmar, with a human development index ranking of 145 out of 188 countries (UNDP,2016), has been given the prestigious title as the number one giving nation in the world for three years running (2014-2016) by Charities Aid Foundation, challenging the notion that giving is tied to wealth. Explanations for why this is the case tend to focus on the religious practices of Theravada Buddhism and merit-making. This explanation is only part of the picture, however, and does not account for the similarly high rates of giving by other religious groups in Myanmar or for the failing of other Buddhist nations to equal Myanmar’s generosity. I will argue that the low levels of state investment in basic human welfare and the widespread deprivation in the country due to the long years of military rule, coupled with the lack of effective institutions to provide basic social welfare services, are equally strong motivators for charity. At the same time, I will demonstrate that giving trends in Myanmar – even those motivated by compassion or religious duty – area response to immediate needs that are unmet by government or institutional support. For the vast majority of people, reliance on your neighbor is the only available insurance. Such charitable giving rarely extends to philanthropic giving, which addresses systemic and root causes of poverty rather than targeting symptoms. I provide explanations for the high level of charitable giving in Myanmar, looking at everyday examples of giving in Myanmar from both individuals and local businesses and considering the humanitarian disaster of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 as a case example.
    Keywords: Charity; Cyclone Nargis; Giving Trends; Merit-Making; Myanmar
  • Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia: Modernization, Islamization, and Social Justice Amelia Fauzia
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-6
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    This article discusses the potentials and constraints of social justice philanthropy in Indonesia in the context of two trends – of growing Islamization and modernization. It employs interviews and recent observations together with survey data. Although the challenges facing social justice philanthropy remain immense, the pathways to development have been created; pathways through which the gap that exists between faith-based philanthropy and its secular counterparts may become smaller. Looking at growing philanthropization in the last 15 years and the pre-existing popularity of the concept of social justice among the population, could social justice and developmentalism may become the future of Islamic philanthropy in the country? The author argues that modernization and Islamization encourage the practice of philanthropy, but that they do not necessarily contribute to the development of a philanthropy that focuses on social justice. The modernization of the philanthropy sector has shown scattered pictures of development into a form of social justice philanthropy, which remains small but nevertheless encouraging.
    Keywords: Development; Indonesia; Islamic Philanthropy; Islamization; Social Justice
  • Addressing Unfortunate Wayfarer: Islamic Philanthropy and Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong – Hilman Latief
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-7
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    This article analyses how Islamic philanthropy is translated and reiterated in contemporary Indonesia and contextualized in the international arena. It examines the experience of an Islamic philanthropic organization, Dompet Dhuafa (DD), in defining and addressing types of zakat beneficiaries by, among other things, addressing unfortunate Indonesian migrant workers residing in Hong Kong. The effort of DD to expand the types of zakat recipients reflects a new development of Islamic philanthropy activism in Indonesia. There is a substantial change in how zakat is formulated and practiced among Indonesian Muslims in general, and in particular Indonesian migrant workers overseas. Islamic philanthropic organizations, such as DD, have functioned not only as intermediaries between benefactors in Indonesia and Indonesian migrant workers overseas but also as energizers to encourage the zakat practice among fortunate migrant workers to help their unfortunate fellows overseas.
    Keywords: Dompet Dhuafa; Indonesia; Islamic Philanthropy; Migrant Workers; Relief

Forschungswerkstatt / Research Workshop

  • Analyzing International Migrant Responses to Crisis Situations in the Context of Floods in ThailandTeeranong Sakulsri, Reena Tadee, Alexander Trupp
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-8
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    The 2011 floods in Thailand were one of the most devastating disasters in the history of the country and affected migrants in several regions. The purpose of this paper is to analyze migrant responses in crisis situations and to assess the impact of the 2011 floods on migrants from Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The authors argue that such migrant groups have a weaker social, economic, and political position when compared with local (non-migrant) groups and are thus facing particular vulnerabilities in crisis situations. This paper is based on desk research and empirical data collection consisting of 55 semi-structured interviews.
    Keywords: Crisis; Floods; Migrants; Thailand; Vulnerability

Im Dialog / In Dialogue

  • Qatari Philanthropy and Out-of-School Children in Southeast Asia: An Interview With the Director of Educate A ChildMichael Morrissey
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-9
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    In September 2015, the UN agreed on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, 2017). Embedded in this broad goal, Educate A Child (EAC) is the only global support program that focuses solely on out-of-school children1 (OOSC) across the world, including Southeast Asia.EAC is an initiative of the Education Above All Foundation of Qatar. It works through co-funding interventions of trusted partners to bring OOSC into quality primary education programs. It pairs with organizations to support innovative programs and methods of education for the most vulnerable children, especially those affected by poverty, conflict, natural disaster, and cultural barriers. EAC’s partners range from international educational, development, and humanitarian organizations to locally-based groups. It currently has around fifty partners, also in Southeast Asia, among others, Aide et Action and its 25-NGO consortium in Cambodia, the Monastic Education Development Group (MEDG), Save the Children, UNESCO, UNHCR, and United World Schools. Dr. Mary Joy Pigozzi is Executive Director of EAC and member of the WISE Prize Committee.
    Keywords: Out-of-School Children; Primary Education; Qatari Philanthropy; SDG4; Southeast Asia

Network Southeast Asia

  • SEA Junction: Our Venue to Connect on Southeast Asia – Patrick McCormick
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-10
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  • Reflection on the Special Gender Stream: 2017 Timor-Leste Studies Association Conference – Sara Niner
    DOI 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.2-11
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