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Singapore makes top 10 most generous countries list for first time

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Improved score driven by increased volunteerism

For the first time, Singapore has made it to the list of top 10 most generous countries in the world, according to British charity Charities Aid Foundation, which released its report yesterday.

It is ranked seventh in the foundation's World Giving Index 2018.

A total of 146 countries were ranked in three areas: giving of time, money and helping a stranger.

More than 150,000 people worldwide were polled.

Topping the list is Indonesia, followed by Australia in second place and New Zealand, in third place.

The US, Ireland and Britain took fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively.

Indonesia was the runner-up in the 2017 Index but climbed to the top in this year's ranking after the previous champion, Myanmar, fell to the ninth place this year.

In Singapore, some 1,000 people were interviewed face to face last year and asked if they had helped a stranger, donated money to a charity or volunteered in the past month.

Two in three polled here had helped a stranger, while almost four in 10 had volunteered. Almost six in 10 had donated money.

Singapore's move to the top 10 comes after dismal showings in the past years in the annual rankings. In 2013, it was ranked 64th and last year, the Republic came in 30th.

A spokesman for the foundation said: "The improved score has been driven by increases in volunteering and helping a stranger, which may be a result of a number of schemes to increase volunteering over the recent years in the country."

For example, only 25 per cent of those polled in Singapore in 2016 had volunteered, compared with 39 per cent of those interviewed last year - an increase that the spokesman described as "quite remarkable".

The rise in volunteerism here was also noted earlier, in the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's Individual Giving Survey 2016, its director of knowledge and advocacy Jeffrey Tan said.

In the survey, some 35 per cent indicated they had volunteered in 2016, up from 18 per cent in 2014.

Of those polled, 76 per cent said they had donated money in 2016, down from 83 per cent in 2014.

However, the total sum given to charity was $2.2 billion in 2016, a shape rise from the $1.2 billion in 2014.