One in three don’t trust Gulf charities

March 17, 2010

It may be for different reasons, but I agree with one-third of Middle Eastern survey respondents who say they don’t trust Islamic charities, don’t know how the money is being spent, and doubt the overall integrity of the process.  From The National on March 13:

Poor exposure and transparency are being blamed for the results of a survey that found a third of respondents do not trust charities in the region.

While some charity officials rejected the findings of the recent YouGov Siraj online survey as invalid, others acknowledged a failure of communication and a strong need for accountability to the public on the part of charities.

In the survey, 35 per cent of respondents indicated that they do not trust local charitable organisations in the Middle East, and 32 per cent said they refused to donate to the charities because they did not have a wide enough reach.

“It may be that those who are not donating could be sceptical about how well their money will be spent or not sure of the process’s integrity,” said Iman Annab, the chief executive of YouGov Siraj.

“The findings indicate that there seems to be a need for greater transparency surrounding the donation process and charitable foundations across the Middle East.”

The survey polled more than 2,600 Middle Eastern residents, more than a quarter of whom were from the UAE. The rest were from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

The Red Crescent Society, which is responsible for regulating all charities in the UAE, dismissed the results.

“We reject completely the findings of this report,” said Abdulrahman al Tenaiji, a spokesman for the Red Crescent in the UAE. “We have credibility, and international organisations like the United Nations recognise the UAE’s contributions.”

However, he acknowledged that the inability of charities to showcase results on the ground contributed to a lack of trust among donors and a perception that philanthropies are not transparent.

Read the rest of the story here.

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