70% of social sector organizations are insufficiently prepared against cybersecurity threats

Daily Guardian

The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), a uniquely Asia, independent, action-oriented research and advisory organization, today released the 2024 edition of its flagship study, the Doing Good Index.  The study finds that despite the rapid digitalization of the Asian social sector, social delivery organizations (SDOs)[1] are struggling to keep up with technological changes due to inadequate access to digital infrastructure, lack of capacity, and insufficient donor support.

Read the full article here.

Social sector groups lagging in digital skills


A study has found many social sector groups in Asia are struggling to keep up with technological changes, due to insufficient donor support and lack of access to digital infrastructure. The Doing Good Index recently surveyed more than 2,100 social delivery organisations, or SDOs, across 17 economies, and found over half suffered from a lack of digital skills. Around 70 percent said they were insufficiently prepared against cybersecurity threats. Ruth Shapiro, co-founder and chief executive of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society, which conducted the survey, told RTHK it was important for the government and donors to support such groups and help them boost their digital literacy.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Doing Good Index 2024 – Examining the Readiness of Asia’s Social Sectors to Thrive

CAPS’ biannual Doing Good Index identifies the factors that drive or hinder the giving and receiving of private social investment to address social needs.

Now in its fourth iteration, the Doing Good Index 2024 looks at how the four components of the Index—regulations, tax and fiscal policy, ecosystem and procurement—have changed in the last two years. The findings are evidence-based, derived from original data from surveying 2,183 nonprofits and social enterprises and interviewing 140 experts across 17 Asian economies. This iteration of the report also includes a special thematic section on the impact of digital technology on Asia’s social sector.

Against the backdrop of the tumultuous Covid-19 years, the 2024 Index shows a continuation of the status quo with few major changes. However, the lack of change is not necessarily bad, as stability lays the groundwork for the social sector to thrive. The report also finds that Asia’s social sector is insufficiently prepared for the technological future, held back by inadequate access to digital infrastructure, capacity constraints and insufficient donor support.

The Index offers a blueprint of the policies and practices that can unleash private social capital and how the public, private and social sectors can work together to build a stronger and more equitable Asia.

Doing Good Index microsite

Our interactive microsite lets you explore and compare our Index data using visual and digestible graphics. The economy profile pages present a deep dive into each economy and provide a longitudinal overview of select data points. The data dashboard allows you to compare economies with each other, the Asian average and over time.

The Doing Good Index is published every two years. Read the inaugural edition from 2018, our 2020 edition, and our 2022 edition.


Government Is Overlooking Potential Of SDO Procurement, Research Finds

TBC News

The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) has unveiled its latest Policy Brief, “Procurement for Good: Government Procurement from the Social Sector in Asia.” This report emphasizes the untapped potential of government procurement from social delivery organizations (SDOs) in Asia, highlighting the mutual benefits for both sectors. CAPS recommends a policy framework to enhance social sector involvement in government procurement, addressing capacity constraints and complex processes.

Read the article here.

Only 32% of surveyed social sector orgs join government procurement in Asia

Daily Guardian

The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), a uniquely Asian, independent, action-oriented research and advisory organization, today released its latest Policy Brief, “Procurement for Good: Government Procurement from the Social Sector in Asia.” The report draws insight from 23 individuals and 2,183 social delivery organizations (SDOs)  in 17  Asian economies participating in the Doing Good Index 2024 Survey. The study highlights that government procurement of goods and services from the social sector can be a win-win for both sides but is underutilized in the region due to capacity constraints and procurement processes.

Read the article here.

Study: Gov’t procurement from social sector underutilized in Asia, low in PH | ANC

ANC 24/7

Procurement for Good: Government Procurement from the Social Sector in Asia

Government procurement of goods and services from the social sector is mutually beneficial. It helps the government leverage the social sector’s subject expertise and community links to deliver more efficient and cost-effective social services while also providing legitimacy and a sustainable source of income to social delivery organizations. However, the potential benefits are contingent on the ease and accessibility of government procurement and broader factors contributing to an SDO’s capacity to fulfill needs.

This policy brief provides an assessment of the policy landscape of government procurement from the social sector in Asia and highlights four key findings:

  1. Preferential government procurement policies in the social sector favor social enterprises over nonprofits.
  2. Nonprofits are contracted mostly as knowledge partners and welfare service providers, whereas social enterprises are more likely to be suppliers.
  3. Capacity issues are the biggest inhibitor of SDO participation in government procurement; these constraints range from production reliability to staffing to financial viability.
  4. Large and older SDOs with existing government relationships crowd out smaller and newer SDOs.

Based on these findings, the policy brief identifies bottlenecks that limit the potential benefits of government procurement from the social sector and introduces recommendations for governments and SDOs to address specific issues.

Nurturing Minds: Early Childhood Education in Thailand

Early childhood education (ECE) is foundational for lifelong learning and development, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for growth in Thailand. Amid the dynamic interplay of advancing educational goals within emerging Asian economies, the need for targeted, effective ECE interventions is increasingly evident. In Thailand, where 85% of children aged 2 to 5 already benefit from some form of ECE despite compulsory education beginning at age 6, the focus extends beyond enrolment figures.

The report delves into the ECE landscape in Thailand, providing a comprehensive analysis based on extensive research and insights from various stakeholders. Through the examination of a selection of 12 ECE initiatives by local NGOs, community organizations, and government-backed programs, the report uncovers the diverse mechanisms through which Thailand is addressing the needs of its youngest learners.

The study offers valuable insights into the innovative practices and challenges in delivering quality early education in Thailand. It underscores the important role of private investment—from corporations to individual philanthropists—in propelling the ECE agenda forward and offers recommendations to boost the sector’s effectiveness and sustainability.

Allan Barcena (Philippines)
Assistant Vice President & Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations
Energy Development Corporation (EDC)

Published date: 6 March 2024

Allan Barcena is Assistant Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations at Energy Development Corporation (EDC). He is also the Executive Director of the Net Zero Carbon Alliance (NZCA). EDC is the largest renewable energy company in the Philippines and is involved in diversified energy projects, including geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind, with geothermal as its primary power source. Its mission is to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future. At a time when climate change affects every economy, CAPS spoke with EDC’s Allan Barcena to gain a deeper understanding of their Regenerative Strategy and how they integrate ESG into it.

CAPS: Allan, thank you very much for joining us today. EDC has recently introduced a regenerative strategy. As a starting point, what is a regenerative strategy, and why did the company think such a strategy was needed?

Allan Barcena: It’s a new strategy that was introduced in 2019. We started with a sustainable development business strategy, but our Chairman, Federico R. Lopez, wanted to go beyond sustainability. So, we revised our mission to “forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.” Decarbonization, regeneration, and collaboration are the three pillars of EDC’s current mission, and the regenerative strategy is part of achieving this.

As I mentioned, regeneration goes beyond sustainability. If sustainability aims to minimize the harm and the damage and to sustain the status quo for future generations, then regeneration means to grow it in a way that is equal or better than the original state. It produces more positive outcomes, minimizes the harm simultaneously, and ensures that you create the conditions for positive outcomes. Regeneration should be transformational, meaning you transform the lives of the communities, employees, and stakeholders.

CAPS: How has the introduction of the strategy influenced EDC’s operations?

Allan Barcena: With the regenerative strategy, we need to view our operation through a different lens. For example, we must think of ways to improve our environment and ecosystems. We need to ensure that our communities do not just become beneficiaries of CSR projects but are part of the development process, growing their capacity to become self-reliant and sustainable long-term.

There’s not a single set of key performance indicators (KPIs) on regeneration. We are in the process of defining what regeneration means to the workplace, to our communities, to the environment, and to our suppliers and customers. So, it’s an ongoing process of defining the KPIs, and we’d like to align it with ESG. By connecting the regenerative mission to ESG metrics and targets, we can make our operational goals clearer, more defined, and more measurable.

CAPS: Are these metrics and targets coming from your company, or are they set from outside? How are you measuring it?

Allan Barcena: It’s basically internal. From the elements and KPI, we pick what is relevant to us through a principle of materiality – what is material to the company and our business operation. We are in a unique situation; we’re a producer of renewable energy and have a unique set of stakeholders. Therefore, we need to determine the materiality of the metrics and what is relevant to the business of renewable energy. And after that, we would like to have validation and assurance of these KPIs and targets. But we’re not there yet. As I mentioned, we are still in the process of identifying relevant KPIs and metrics.

CAPS: What challenges have you faced with this change in strategy, and how are you resolving them?

Allan Barcena: Regeneration is a new concept to us. So, a big challenge internally is coming up with clear objective metrics and KPIs, related to the strategy. It’s not easy, unlike sustainability, which already has a set of clear and defined parameters. We might have some ideas about regeneration, but it’s still early to have a single set of criteria and KPIs around the concept.

The external challenge is to get others involved in the strategy. How can you convince customers, suppliers and partners to be part of the regenerative strategy as well? On the one hand, we supply clean and renewable energy to help companies lower emissions and decarbonize, and we offer offset solutions. We share knowledge, technology, and experience, such as tree-growing and forest restoration, to involve those interested in exploring nature-based solutions to lower their emissions.

On the other hand, creating the Net Zero Carbon Alliance in the Philippines was part of addressing this challenge. It started with a small group of customers who are committed to reducing their carbon emissions and becoming net zero in 2050. But it has expanded to include other companies that are not necessarily customers of EDC but are committed to becoming net zero by 2050. So that’s the other work I do, managing this alliance of companies and organizations who are advocating and taking the journey towards net zero.

CAPS: EDC is heavily involved in philanthropy and CSR. How has the regenerative strategy influenced those aspects of your business?

Allan Barcena: For a long time, what we did was only transactional and philanthropic. Now, we have slowly shifted from transactional CSR to transformational CSR. That’s quite a big change. Because transformational means we must invest in long-term projects that will eventually build the communities’ capacity to grow and become self-reliant. To me, regeneration and transformation are quite connected, and it should be long-term and strategic.

We focus our resources on strategic projects that will create a bigger impact and contribute to the long-term development and welfare of the communities. We used to have multiple CSR projects providing everything the communities needed: livelihood, education, health, etc. But then we realized this was not strategic. So, we’ve shifted from supporting direct livelihood projects to social enterprise projects. We require a project to be income-earning, and it should be sustainable so that it creates multiple benefits – a ripple effect. To us, this is regeneration and transformation. Because you’re not giving them fish, you’re teaching them how to catch it. And this will sustain them in the long run, and hopefully, they can also help other community members by expanding their social enterprise projects.

CAPS: Can you give an example of a project you are working on under the regenerative strategy?

Allan Barcena: Sure. We are quite proud of the BINHI Forest Restoration program, the largest private-sector-led forest restoration initiative in the Philippines. This project is part of our nature-based solutions and is a long-term commitment for EDC. Through this project, we have planted and restored over 10,000 hectares of degraded forest land, specifically focusing on endangered native trees. And we don’t do this alone. We work with the communities, other partners, and even customers.

Our chairman has emphasized the importance of working with others. We try to bring as many organizations and companies as possible along on the journey to create greater impact for the environment and communities. And collaboration means synergy, more partners, better outcomes, and more beneficiaries.


Philanthropy Made Easy: the Emergence of Donor-Advised Funds in Asia

Inside Philanthropy

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have become an important giving tool in the U.S. and are rising in popularity in #Asia. CAPS research showed that the trends that characterize its growth in Asia are distinct from those seen in the U.S. What are the distinct characteristics, and how can philanthropists in Asia leverage DAFs to cultivate structured and strategic giving in the region?

Read the article here.