Interview with Naina Subberwal Batra Chairperson and CEO, Asian Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPN)
Naina, what are the three broad issues that will drive the Malaysian foundation and philanthropy sector in the next 10 years?
Religious giving (zakat), the environment, education and youth issues.
Which topics do you expect philanthropy to focus on?
Sustainable and responsible investment (SRI), sukuk (an Islamic financial certificate that complies with Sharia; similar to bonds), green bonds, environment social governance (ESG) integration, and multi-sector collaboration
What is traditional philanthropy and how do you expect this to develop in the future?
Traditional giving in Malaysia is guided by zakat – the Islamic law encourages citizens to contribute 2.5% of their annual incomes to charitable causes. In 2013, zakat equalled over 20% of the level of government social spending, excluding health. Zakat will continue to play an important role in the Malaysian philanthropy landscape. At the same time, SRI, sukuk and green bonds are seeing an increasing uptake.
What role will philanthropy take?
Philanthropy will take on a more collaborative approach in working with the government, non-profits and corporations to create impact at scale. The Social Outcome Fund and Social Impact Exchange are recent government initiatives to unlock private resources for social good.
Will Malaysian philanthropy be more nationally focused or also regional and global?
It will continue to be nationally focused.
Is there any other subject which you consider as vital for the sector?
Malaysia is the first country in Asia to introduce a regulatory framework to facilitate equity crowdfunding in 2015. This has introduced another platform through which social enterprises can raise funds.
If people want to get informed about news and trends in the sector in the Malaysia, where can they find this information?
They can refer to AVPN, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) and Social Impact Exchange (SIX).