2021 CAF World Giving Index: Celebrating the resilience and generosity of Nigerians

We note with keen interest the recent 2021 CAF World Giving Index report which ranked Nigerians third in the world. The report, “World Giving Index 2021: A Global Pandemic Report”, published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), United Kingdom, is an analysis of “charitable behaviour around the globe”.

According to CAF, this 10th edition of its giving index “provides a decade’s worth of combined insight” from looking at “three aspects of giving behaviour”: helping strangers or people we do not know, donating money to charities and volunteering time to a charitable non-governmental organisation.

The 2021 report, which used these criteria to measure acts of generosity and other charitable activities in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, concluded that Nigerians were the 3rd most generous people in the world, just behind Indonesia and Kenya.

It is remarkable that, despite the harsh living conditions in Nigeria, our people have not lost their humanity. Nigerians have continued to share their resources and care for others who are in need and often without any expectation of a reward. 

Indeed, humans are a mixture of the good and bad, and society, as an aggregate of human elements, can function well when goodness overflows through the deliberate effort of human will. This innate goodness of forgoing one's own urgent needs for the higher goal of humanistic service is a balm for the needless crises of nationhood that have bedevilled our fatherland. It serves as a counterpoise to the inevitable distrust that flows from the intractable adversity that has blighted our communal experience as a country.

This glimmer of hope could help to dilute the elitist pessimism that constricts our collective capacity for positive striving. This positive insight into the heart of Nigerians can provide an antidote to the inertia that follows our failures and faltering steps to nationhood. We are hopeful that it can potentially serve as a potent rallying point for national reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.

But it is not yet Uhuru. This is a clarion call to all segments of our society; to the leaders and the masses for a sustained act of giving. From the leaders, we urge less hedonism and more selflessness and charity towards the less fortunate.  It would be heart warming if those able were to endow academic chairs, build libraries, institute fellowships and scholarships and seek social targets rooted in philanthropy rather than needless displays of wealth.

Such positive manifestations of an elevated social conscience are liable to become rivulets of goodness that percolate down our social pyramid and, by being emulated, create a sea of goodness all around us. And we would all benefit from such positivity. It would also be good if those yet to engage in charitable projects, often in the mistaken belief that they 'cannot afford it', become enthusiastic and engage in selfless giving, for a charitable disposition is a state of mind, first and foremost, rather than the detritus of affluence.

We implored Nigerians to spare a thought for our compatriots in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in northern Nigeria. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the world body mandated to aid and protect refugees; there are 2,879,670 Nigerians displaced in the northeast, northwest and north-central Nigeria. These Nigerians still need volunteers to provide food, water, medicine and most importantly therapy to deal with post-trauma stress.

All said, we must not ignore the stark fact that in many ways, the giving heart of Nigerians is a reflection of the failure of our government to meet its duty of care to its citizens. Indeed, the generosity and benevolence of Nigerians continues to mitigate the distress pervading in Nigeria. However, we cannot forever overlook the fact that this reflects a society where the citizens are providing the responsibilities that the government has abdicated.

From providing water, electricity, roads and welfare for those living in poverty, everyday Nigerians continue to prove that our Governments can do a whole lot better to deliver on the dividends of nationhood.

The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) urge all citizens, especially our leaders at all levels, to rise above mediocrity and parochial interests, to leverage on this important psychological lift to deliver on its responsibility of governance with the provision of the much needed amenities, infrastructure, security and the conducive environment for economic and social regeneration in Nigeria.

Abiola Owoaje
NAS Capoon
Abuja