UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Charity, philanthropy and development in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Title details

SN: 851509
Title: Charity, philanthropy and development in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-851509
Depositor: Roderick Stirrat, University of Sussex
Principal investigator(s): Roderick Stirrat, University of Sussex
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: ES/1033890/1


The citation for this study is:

Roderick Stirrat, University of Sussex. (2015). Charity, philanthropy and development in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Data catalogue. UK Data Service. SN: 851509,

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Subject Categories

Society and culture


Abstract copyright data collection owner.

The collection consists of the following elements: 1. Four sets of survey data covering the charitable activities of households (747 households), 261 private sector businesses and 39 public sector concerns, and 54 charities. 2. Qualitative data consisting of interviews with individual philanthropists, members of formal and informal charitable endeavours, directors of local charities and Sri Lankan branches of international charities, stakeholders within the donor field and local and national government stakeholders. In addition there are interviews with a small sample of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in London. 3. Ethnographic case studies covering two wards of Colombo (one Muslim and Sinhala, and one Tamil), a study of Islamic charitable practices, a study of health, charity and philanthropy, a study of corporate social responsibility activities in Colombo, a survey of charitable activities centred on major Catholic shrines in Colombo, a study of old peoples' homes and orphanages, a study of Colombo’s 200-year old Friend in Need Society and associated materials held in the Sri Lanka National Archive, and a study of Up Country Tamil support organisations in Colombo.

This project investigated charity and charitable organisations in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here, long standing ideologies of giving intermingle, interact and coexist with global ideas about the nature of charity and the relationship between charity and development. Surveys of givers and receivers generated an overall picture of the landscape of charity in Colombo. The second qualitative element of the research project focused on interviewing a smaller sample of donors, charitable institutions and receivers. The third element of the project examined how political and economic change has affected the historical transformations of charity in Sri Lanka. Finally, there was a smaller element in the project which looked at the role of the Sri Lankan diaspora not only in supporting charitable activity in Sri Lanka but also in changing it. The project utilised a 'Stakeholder Response Group' to ensure that the research process was mindful of the needs of the development community. An Inception workshop and End of Project conference focused on the lessons learnt from the project as to how indigenous charity can be encouraged to support development activities. The project produced policy briefs as well as making presentations to major development players.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 13 December 2011 - 01 June 2014
Dates of fieldwork: 01 April 2013 - 31 March 2016
Country: United Kingdom | Sri Lanka
Geography: Colombo, Sri Lanka
London, UK
Spatial units: Other
Observation units: Events and processes
Families and households
Kind of data: Numeric
Method of data collection: Methods used involved both quantitative and qualitative approaches. As far as the former were concerned, the household survey employed a cluster sampling approach to achieve a representative sample reflecting ethnic and religious factors. Overall the research approached the issues through standard ethnographic techniques, identifying key informants and organisations, and using them and their contacts as a means of expanding the area of coverage. This led to the identification of particular case studies which involved the researchers in core intensive interaction with the charitable field.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 26 June 2015
Latest edition: 13 July 2017 (minor amendments only)
Copyright: Roderick Stirrat, University of Sussex
Access conditions: The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service. All requests are subject to the permission of the data owner or his/her nominee. Please email the contact person for this data collections to request permission to access the data, explaining your reason for wanting access to do the data. Once permission is obtained, please forward this to the ReShare administrator.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Roderick Stirrat, University of Sussex


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