Saudi Arabia must boost its philanthropic knowledge and giving
A report in the Arab News says that Saudi Arabia lags behind other rich nations in its charitable and philanthropic work and lacks expertise. It calls for more education about the role of charities and an open database of charitable and philanthropic work in the Kingdom.
The report says: “Charity work is still below the level of expectations in terms of both quantity and quality. If we compare the numbers of registered charities with that of a country like the United States, which has over 1.8 million charity organisations, we would sense the urgent need for increasing the number of working charities in the Kingdom.”
In Saudi Arabia, there are approximately 700 charitable organisations registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs. The majority of donations go to organisations with religious affiliations, which are concerned with building mosques, supporting Qur’an teaching schools, sponsoring orphans and general charity work. The rest goes to health organisations and social services.
The report also states that charities lack efficiency and training “Their members lack most of the skills and scientific knowledge in disciplines that are required in order to work in the field of organised charities.”
There is no official published information available regarding the amounts of donations received by charities. This means there is a lack of scrutiny about how charities spend their money. The report says that families registered with charities are not getting the support they require. It argues: “The main challenge is to increase the individual skills of the needy in order for them to be effective individuals in their communities. This can only be achieved through changing the points of view of charity organisations as well as the public, as to what constitutes real philanthropic work.”