A global survey has called into question the generosity of Tunisian people, ranking them 122 out of 140 countries in overall acts of charity.
The UK-based charity and research foundation, Charities Aid Foundation released a report last month compiling survey results on global giving patterns during 2015.
In Tunisia, results were based on 1,000 individualized surveys conducted across the country, which were nationally representative in terms of age and geographical area, a senior researcher for the foundation told Tunisia Live.
The results centered on three categories: helping strangers, donating money to a charity, and volunteering time, with Tunisia scoring badly across all. Tunisia scored especially badly in terms of money donated to a charity, where only 6% of respondents claimed to have done so in the past month. (Only Morocco and Yemen ranked lower in this category in the Arab world.)
However, in a country generally known for both its warmth and diversity, and where many are thought to consistently practice the Islamic precept of zakat–the giving of alms to the poor–it is unclear how representative the survey’s findings are.
Asked whether religious-based donations or other individual acts of charity were included in the findings, a senior researcher for the foundation wrote that respondents are free to “interpret the question in their own way, which will differ across countries.”
“It is possible people have included this in their answer,” the researcher said, “but we have no way of knowing for sure from the data we have collected.”
In June this year, two Tunisian associations partnered to provide thousands of free meals to the poor during the month of Ramadan. The initiative, made possible by anonymous donations and local volunteers, was designed to embody what participants considered a central tenant of the Islamic faith: helping the poor.
Meanwhile, a UN-based index that guages countries’ overall level of altruism and quality of life ranked Tunisia considerably higher. The study, based on seven categories including “international peace and security, prosperity and equality, and health and well being,” placed Tunisia 42nd, higher than any other Arab country.