Generously funded by the European Commission Department for International Cooperation and Development, the project, titled “The Roles of Faith and Local Faith Communities in Supporting Refugees” aims to examine the ways in which local communities provide different forms of support to, and advocate for the protection of refugees in Honduras, Mexico, Uganda, Germany, and Lebanon.
JLI and UNHCR just released the case studies on local faith community-led responses to refugees in Honduras: CASM – Mennonite Social Action Committee , Mexico -La 72, Uganda -Lutheran World Federation, Germany -Refugee’s Church, and Lebanon -MERATH . The project collaborators include Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh at University College London and Atallah Fitzgibbon at Islamic Relief Worldwide, the co-chairs of the JLI Refugee and Forced Migration Learning Hub. Dr. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Dr. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Research Director.
SEREDA (Sexual and Gender-based violence in the refugee crisis: from displacement to arrival) is a major new international research initiative led by University of Birmingham’s Institute for Research Into Superdiversity (IRiS) in partnership with Bilkent University, Uppsala University and University of Melbourne. The project aims to understand the incidence and nature of SGBV experienced by women, men and child refugees who have fled conflict in the Levant Region.
One of the SEREDA-attached doctoral research projects is focused on SGBV at the intersection of religion and displacement, it examines the influences of religion on SGBV experiences of women in the refugee journeys.
The specific objectives are
to examine the role of religion in shaping refugee women’s vulnerability toward SGBV;
to explore how religion shapes refugee women’s resilience to cope with their experiences of SGBV;
to examine the ways in which religion, faith and/or spirituality are incorporated in SGBV responses.
Data collection is planned in two phases: April-May, 2019 and November-December 2019 in Turkey (Istanbul and Ankara) and online with faith-based and secular SGBV respondents. The project will comply with the University of Birmingham’s research ethics and rigid SGBV research standards.
Organizations interested in cooperation and/or learning exchange please contact Sandra Iman Pertek at [email protected] for further information. The project is looking for partners and supporting organizations to help facilitate the research process, e.g. the recruitment of potential research participants. There are also opportunities for co-production and upscaling the research sample.
The JLI recently hosted an online event to learn about the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) adoption directly from UNHCR. JLI Research Director launched our new policy brief on faith actors and the implementation of the GCR. A range of organizations about their reflections on faith and the GCR.
Agenda and quick highlights
Welcome – Jean Duff, JLI Coordinator
Update on the GCR and role of faith actors – Rachel Criswell, NGO and Faith Liaison, UNHCR
With increasing numbers of refugees and protracted discplacement worldwide, robust support from the start to bolster areas such as infrastructure, water supply, hospitals, schools, and roads. The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) was set out in the New York Declaration (NYD) for Refugees and Migrants (Sept 2016), adopted by all 193 Member States of the UN.CRRF forms the basis of the new Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which operationalize it through a Programme of Action and translate policies into practice. The GCR is based on the experiences in practical application of the CRRF in concrete situations in the field. The GCR calls for the response to a crisis to supplement humanitarian services with development support for refugee and host communities alike. After two years of consultation, on December 17, member states excluding the US and Hungary ratified the GCR at the UN General Assembly.
Good practice case studies, implementation of the CRRF and further information on comprehensive refugee response can be found at http://www.globalcrrf.org
Role of Faith Actors in Implementing the Global Compact – Dr. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research (Launch of new JLI policy brief)
“Faith-based actors could support the planning and delivery of arrangements to assist refugees and host communities, including in the areas of conflict prevention, reconciliation, and peacebuilding, as well as other relevant areas.”– Global Compact on Refugees, UNHCR
Roles of Faith Actors in Arrangements for Burden- and Responsibility-sharing and three Areas in Need of Support (1.Reception and Admission, 2.Meeting Needs and Supporting Communities, 3.Solutions).
Faith actors are actively involved in responding to forced displacement, well-positioned to mobilize resources, and provide material and immaterial support to foster appropriate, tailored response.
Faith actors’ experience and role should be acknowledged and considered in the design and implementation of every stage of the humanitarian response to forced displacement.
Faith can play an instrumental role in forced migrants’ experiences. Stakeholders should work to more fully understand this aspect of displacement experiences and facilitate spiritual support across all stages and places of displacement.
Tom Albinson, International Association for Refugees (with Christine Macmillan at World Evangelical Alliance)
Presented IAFR Continuum of Reponse. Model to help faith communities understand how to support people in recovery and long-term durable solutions
helping people who are displaced or are refugees find support, people recovering from trauma and people who are in new contexts, people who need spiritual support and listening to those displaced to affirm their dignity be a part of the solution
JLI New Policy Brief- Faith Actors and Global Compact on Refugees
To maximize the significant opportunities presented by the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), the international community must recognize the experience and capabilities of faith actors (FAs) and break down existing barriers to partnerships to enable a more comprehensive, effective, and durable response.
While the GCR does acknowledge that: “Faith-based actors could support the planning and delivery of arrangements to assist refugees and host communities, including in the areas of conflict prevention, reconciliation, and peacebuilding, as well as other relevant areas,” the critical and comprehensive role that FAs play – as well as their potential for efficient service delivery – warrants a fuller and more nuanced examination.
The following policy brief provides a set of recommendations based on evidence concerning the multiple roles that faith and faith actors play across different stages and spaces of forced displacement. The brief is aligned with the GCR’s sections on Arrangements for Burden- and Responsibility-sharing and its three Areas in Need of Support (Reception and Admission, Meeting Needs and Supporting Communities, and Solutions)
This brief and corresponding resource brief were funded through the Luce Foundation
JLI Refugee Hub and KAICIID presented a joint webinar on November 20th. Presenting the recent proceedings, learning briefs and action from the Faith Action for Children on the Move Forum along with a case study from Eastern Europe and role of faith communities in refugee response.
Amanda Rives Argeñal, World Vision International,
JLI Research Director, Dr Olivia Wilkinson,
KAICIID Fellow, Dr. Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović, from the Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The webinar launched the children on the move briefs from the recent Faith Action Forum. See below for links to briefs in English and Italian.
Guest speaker Dr. Milovanović, KAICIID Fellow, focused on the engagement of the faith-based organizations in the Balkans, especially in Serbia, in providing humanitarian aid for the migrants and refugees in the past few years. Alongside other humanitarian organizations, faith-based organizations had significant role in providing assistance for refugees, asylum-seekers and especially for vulnerable categories such are unaccompanied children, minors and women. The level of visibility of the faith-based organizations’ actions is different in each national country. Often, religious communities and their humanitarian organizations engaged in helping refugees take the position of silent, invisible actors. Focusing on response to migration, Dr Aleksandra discussed the issue of multi-religious cooperation in supporting and reception of the migrants and refugees. She also discussed differences in the approach of the faith-based organizations comparing to other humanitarian organizations.
Discussion included questions about faith based organizations response when state said there would be no more support allowed providing refugee aid outside the camps and also is there a means of developing a network so that FBOs are able to make contact when they know a family or individual is moving on? or to simply share information?
Join the next JLI Refugee Hub Meeting on Dec 10 at 2pm GMT (9am ET ).
JLI co-hosted the Faith Action for Children on the Move Forum with ore than 185 leaders originating from 38 countries and representing 85 organizations gathered at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome. The forum shared learning around three key evidence-based themes for effective faith engagement to support Children on the Move and to refine and finalize an Action Plan.
The three specific themes, supported by JLI Evidence briefs above, were: (1) Spiritual support to children and caregivers as a source of healing and resilience, (2) Strengthening the continuum of protection for children on the move, and (3) Building peaceful societies and combatting xenophobia.
The co-organizing partners and Action Plan committee have opened the Action Plan review process to participants and co-organizing partners through November 30th for comments focused on clarification and factual correction.
Please make comments directly to the document here or send them to [email protected]. All comments will be collated and shared with the Action Plan committee for the final document which will be made available in December.
Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development: Religious contributions for a dignified future
26-28 September, 2018
About 300 interfaith experts gathered for 3 packed days of exchange in preparation for the G20 Summit to be hosted at the end of November in Buenos Aires. The Argentine government, religion, academia and NGOs were well represented, led by VP Gabriela Michetti. The Forum was funded by International Shinto Foundation, Brigham Young University, Islamic Relief USA, KAICIID and others, and organized by Katherine Marshall, Cole Durham BYU, Juan Navarro Floria, Argentine National Peace and Justice Commission, Brian Adams Griffith University, and Christina Calvo , University of Buenos Aires, to name a few of the principals.
The topics on the program were diverse, reflecting in part the G20 agenda: Decent Work, Human trafficking, Refugees and Migration , Children, Climate Change ,Hunger, Governance and Corruption, Religion and Violence. Freedom of Religion was a strong topic, with large representation of experts from that area of work. An excellent extended session was on Ethics and Economics featuring Rowan Williams, Christina Calvo, Co-Chair High level Dialogue on Ethics Economics, and Augusto Zampini, Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Humberto Shikiya from CREAS ACT Alliance, and Amanda Mukwashi new Christian Aid CEO. JLI was honored to be an invited guest, and contributed to the panel on Modern Exodus- Refugees and Migration, drawing on the RFM Learning Hub’s new policy brief on Faith Actors and the implementation of the Global Compact.
Excellent interfaith community building and learning exchange among international participants, especially providing connections to diverse voices from all over Latin America.
A helpful opportunity for discourse across the ubiquitous divide between religious freedom experts and the development and humanitarian ‘worlds’
Plans were shaped for the next G20 Interfaith Forums in Japan 2019 and Saudi Arabia 2020 , with a likely continuing focus on Climate Change, Children and Humanitarian issues.
However: the message and messengers for inputs to the G20 process were still uncertain at the conclusion of the Forum. A Summary containing specific recommendations on selected themes is being prepared for submission to the G20 by the organizers—thanks to Katherine Marshall and others for this big job! JLI has provided for inclusion a series of recommendations regarding refugees, drawn from its new policy brief (to be released publically shortly).
Next week a diverse group of organisations will come together for a forum at the Jesuit Curia in Rome where they will discuss how faith leaders can work together to end violence against children on the move.
According to UNICEF more than 28 million children around the world have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and conflict, and the violence they experience is the catalyst for the Faith Action for Children on the Move; Global Partners Forum, October 16-18. Ahead of the event, the 14 organising partners said:
“As people of faith, we are in a unique position to address the rights of children on the move.
“Across different faith backgrounds we feel a call and a responsibility to protect and give a voice to these children. Our calling has compelled us to come together, review what we do well and commit to doing more.”
The issue of children on the move has never been more pressing. Between 2005 and 2015 the number of child refugees worldwide more than doubled. The forum will bring organisations together to commit to a collective action plan on how they can work together in the future to protect, nurture and support children on the move.
“Considering that the majority (84% according to the Pew Research Center) of the world’s population identifies with a religious group, people of faith can and should be acknowledged as a powerful force in the world.
“As faith-based organisations, we believe that we are stronger together, together we can reach the most vulnerable, and together we can have a greater impact on more children.
“We recognise that partnering from different beliefs and religions enhances respect for our common values and respective contributions. We condemn xenophobic and discriminatory narratives and reaffirm the need to speak up with words of solidarity, hospitality and love.”
The role of faith in three key areas affecting children on the move will be discussed by the participants at the forum:
Building peaceful societies and combating xenophobia
Strengthening the continuum of protection for children on the move
Providing spiritual support to children on the move and their caregivers, as a source of healing and resilience
“We hope to provide a way for organisations to partner in protecting children on the move and also include children in decision making and programme design processes.
“Children are the hope of humanity and must be protected and enabled to experience life in its fullness and to transform the societies in which they live.
Signed by the 14 organising partners:
International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development
Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities
The JLI Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Hub is beginning a Hub scoping study on the roles of local faith communities in Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery
We are gathering literature from academic repositories, and turn to the Hub members to fill in the gaps.
What evidence exists of local faith communities  working with victims and survivors of AHT/MS?
How do the theological reflections of local faith communities on issues of trafficking and slavery influence their approaches?
What lessons can be drawn from the ways that local faith communities approach initiatives that relate to AHT/MS?
We are interested in any examples that illustrate dynamics around religion and anti-trafficking. We invite you to:
Submit relevant materials and references. This is to ensure that we have all the main material covered. We are looking for materials that provide key insights into the ways in which religion affects anti-trafficking and modern slavery, such as the role of local faith communities in response. This can include a diverse range of documentation from the grey literature: research reports, web links, policy briefs etc.
Submit case studies. A case study is a specific example of work from your organization or one of your partner organisations (of programs or projects, etc.) that highlights the role of religion and/or local faith communities in ending trafficking and modern slavery. We will also be considering cases where LFCs may be negatively involved in trafficking.
Participate in an interview or recommend contacts for interviews *Not all case studies will be selected for interviews but please provide a contact name and email
Interviews can be in place of a case study, as specific cases can be discussed during the interview.
While we invite all contributions on topics related to religion and anti-human trafficking and modern slavery, we are particularly seeking information in the following areas.
Local/national/indigenous faith-based development or charitable organisations (i.e. local FBOs)
Local and national multi-faith-based networks
Local and national faith leaders
Note: international FBOs working on this issue, unless they are partnering with an LFC, will not be examined in this scoping study. Also, the principal focus of the JLI is local faith communities based in the global South, or in ‘developing countries’.
This joint webinar features two of KAICIID’s interreligious dialogue programs:
The Network for Religious Muslim and Christian Faculties and Institutes in the Arab World and the partnership in Nigeria to build inclusive and sustainable platforms for interreligious and intra-religious dialogue.
Introduction by Dr Katherine Marshall at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center.
Regional experts Cosette Maiky (Arab Region), and Joseph Tanko Atang (Nigeria) will discuss the process success and challenges of platform development. Experts will also share how platforms can effectively increase engagement with local communities.
Role of youth, women, religious communities in peace and conflict; how to incorporate them in discussions
importance of inclusive representation when convening dialogues globally
Why religious voices matter & how global institutions can support working more effective work with, for and through local communities
Lack of documentation of religious leaders activities
Why interfaith/ intra faith relationships is important as well as relationships between religious and non-religious groups matter
challenge of addressing hate speech
Ownership is needed from local faith communities not just leadership
The DKH provides a virtual learning and networking environment for individuals and institutions, in order to increase the transmission of Interreligious Dialogue/ICD knowledge and skills through capacity-building. The ten e-tools provide users with both theoretical and practical knowledge, information and recommendations on IRD/ICD engagement.
Arab Region Field Expert
Cosette Maiky is the KAICIID field expert for Iraq and Syria and is stationed in Beirut, Lebanon. Her professional experience consists of 10 years of hands-on work in conflict and post-conflict governance in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. Her clients included numerous international and humanitarian organizations (IOM, UNRWA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCWA, UNFPA, UNOPS, GIZ, World Vision, ISWAN, JRS, Save the Children, Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam), as well as national, regional and inter-governmental bodies. She holds a PhD and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in clinical psychology in addition to an Executive Master of Education in Psychosocial Intervention in War-Torn Societies.
Joseph Tanko Atang
Nigeria Field Expert
Joseph Tanko Atang is the KAICIID Field Expert for Nigeria. He has been involved in interreligious peace work in Nigeria since 1999. He is an experienced mediator and facilitator who has worked with several national and international organizations in Nigeria such as Search for Common Ground, United Nations Development Program, the Nigerian National Peace Committee, Presidential Reconciliation Commission for the Ogoni/SHELL Corporation Conflict and the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The focus of Joseph’s work lies in conflict-sensitive approaches to reconciliation and peace efforts. He holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, U.S., and certificates in public information and personnel management. In addition, he has attended many academic and professional training workshops in the United States, Kenya and Nigeria.
Dr Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service. She is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.
Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments. She was Country Director in the Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa and led the Bank’s work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. In 2000 the World Bank’s president appointed her to a newly created post of liaison with faith-based development charities, with the objective of clarifying shared objectives and building trust and coordination.