Local humanitarian leadership is built upon the premise that humanitarian action should be led by local humanitarian actors whenever possible, yet this research finds that secular humanitarian INGOs do not engage systematically with local faith actors in their local leadership work. Based primarily on interviews with humanitarian INGO staff, this research also found that neither secular nor faith-inspired international humanitarian organizations have a sufficient level of religious literacy to enable them to understand the religious dimensions of the contexts in which they work and to effectively navigate their engagement with local faith actors.
Webinar included the following discussion on local humanitarian leadership and religious literacy.
Response from Catriona Dejean
Faith-inspired vs faith- embedded organizations – for some FBOs faith is at the DNA of who and how they work, so it is beyond inspiration
Role of relationships: trust between local faith communities and secular organizations are critical especially during humanitarian events (ie good examples in Myanmar, Middle East)
It is important to not only look at the structures, processes and tools for engaging with faith communties, but also to understand what enables good and open relationships.
Attitudes and behaviors on engagement across faiths and non-faith groups could be explored further.
What makes a response effective with local faith communities? The report stated no real difference between secular and faith actors. Could it be because we have different definitions of effective? For example some faith organizations and actors are interested in holistic changes so effectiveness may be framed beyond the tangible or traditional definition of effectiveness.
From other attendees:
Role of faith-based organizations as intermediaries
There seems to be some dissonance between the responses reported in the research (from HQ) and the situation on the ground, where FBOs face a lot of pressure. There might be an openness to the recommendations stemming from the research such as designing a religious literacy toolkit, but there will need to be a true dialogue on a practitioner level and real socialization.
Suggestions for secular organizations seeking to discuss topics with faith-based actors for which they have different understandings. How can these conversations happen most productively? Practicality of engaging with local faith actors
On alignment (or not) with local faith groups and how to deal with issues – the Oxfam recommendation to develop tools to help truly assess religion/culture/historical influences on the target group in a humanitarian response is vital. That should help tease out more clearly what the actual or perceived differences are. Ultimately though, as was said, if a local faith community (or any partner of any kind) isn’t able to or doesn’t desire to ‘align’ with humanitarian principles – INGOs needs to decide whether the partnership can continue. We have to deal with our issues too of course!
If the whole community believes in one specific religion, it’s simple, but if it’s divided into some religious groups, it can become sensitive. The literacy should cover this aspect as well.
About LFAs impartiality, neutrality,& proselytising: how often does this happen vs how often do people on the international level worry about this occuring?
Forthcoming article called ‘“Faith can come in, but not religion.” Secularity and its effects on the disaster response to Typhoon Haiyan.’ that deals with impartiality and some of the hypocrisy.
The basic idea is that religion manifests in Faith-based NGOs in different ways, such as their names, missions, activities, goals, modes of expression, membership or employment criteria, institutional origins, or the identity of populations they serve, and invisibility is their greatest asset. That is, Faith-based NGOs are most effective in private coalitions and when they do not engage in explicitly religious terms.
First network event: FBO Workshop on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals
On Monday 13th February 2017, Islamic Relief Academy and the University of Leeds held a workshop in Birmingham, UK. Around 25 participants came together to network and discuss research priorities on religions and the SDGs, representing a mixture of academic and non-governmental organisations, including Islamic Relief, and academic partners from India and Ethiopia.
Questions addressed in the workshop included:
Did your organisation have a role in the consultation process to define the SDGs? What were some of the strengths and challenges of the process?
To what extent do you feel that religious voices were enabled to be heard in the consultation process and with what effect?
To what extent and in what ways are you now beginning to interpret and implement the SDGs in your work?
Do you feel the SDGs provide a useful framework to tackle ‘sustainable development’ globally? What are the opportunities and limitations of the SDGs?
Participants discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by Agenda 2030 and discussed current research gaps in the area. As part of the network’s agenda, conferences will be held in these Ethiopia and India over the course of the next eighteen months, with opportunities for country specific consultations to take place. The Network also intends to publish an edited volume and launch a policy paper in the UK Houses of Parliament within the next year and a half.
Announcing a new religion and sustainable development network – funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK – which involves academics and faith-based development actors. The network aims to enhance international exchange about the role of religions in defining, implementing, and safeguarding ‘sustainable development’, as codified in the UN ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs).
Religion is a major cultural, social, political, and economic factor in many ODA recipient countries, which is why understanding the local religious dynamics and the role of faith actors is crucial for sustainable development. While development practice and development studies had essentially subscribed to a modernist, secular paradigm of social change for much of the 20th century, this has begun to change. Greater portions of development aid are now channelled via so-called faith-based initiatives or organisations, and religion is increasingly recognised as a human resource rather than just an obstacle to development. Many religious groups have also been involved perceptibly in development policy, by adopting and heralding the Millennium Development Goals and through consultations in the drafting of the new SDGs.
To join their Religions and Development mailing list, sign up here
Convened by the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations and the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development (Chaired by UNFPA) in partnership with the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities.
HE Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, and Dr Azza Karam, UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development will be co-moderating.
Jean Duff will be representing JLI on a panel addressing faith-based partnerships to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel will also include JLI Board Member Anwar Khan, Islamic Relief USA.
JLI Refugee Hub Co-Chair Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh with Mette Berg launched a new journal: Migration and Society, published by Bergahn Books. The first issue will be published in 2018 on Hospitality and hostility towards migrations: global perspectives.
Call for articles until Sept 2017 on the following questions:
How, and why, have different actors responded to the actual, prospective, and imagined arrival of migrants across time and space?
How have migrants and refugees experienced and responded to different, and at times overlapping, processes of hospitality and hostility in sites of transit and settlement?
What are the politics and the poetics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants in different spaces?
As ‘new’ migrants join established diasporas and transnational communities, how have ‘locals’ and ‘established’ migrants and refugees responded to ‘newly’ displaced people?
How, why, and with what effects have diverse media represented processes of migration? Who has been rendered (hyper)visible and audible, and/or invisible, inaudible, and silenced in different representations of migration?
What are the historic resonances, continuities, and discontinuities of contemporary dynamics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants?
On May 23 ACT Alliance and Soka Gakkai International co-organized a pre-conference titled “Locally-led Disaster Risk Reduction by Faith-Based Organizations – Implementing the Sendai Framework.”
Faith-based and religions organizations gathered in Cancun Mexico to discuss faith engagement in implementing the Sendai Framework. JLI was represented by Soka Gakkai for the Refugees & Forced Migration Learning Hub. Both cohosts as well as some local implementing FBOs made presentations on best practices of locally-led DRR by FBOs in implementing the Sendai Framework.
Other presentations and statements from Global Platform
Public Joint Statement of faith-based organizations to GP2017
May 23, 2017, Cancun
We urge State parties to engage FBOs and LFCs in a meaningful and substantive way in implementing SFDRR
Collaborating with FBOs and LFCs and use their capacity to communicate to local communities to raise level of understanding and awareness on DRR and climate change (SFDRR priority 1);
Involving FBOs and LFCs to help monitor DRR impact at household and community level based on the set of SFDRR indicators for purposes of better risk governance; (SFDRR priority 2)
Using and encouraging the collaborative networks of LFCs/FBOs across the globe to respond to the impacts of disasters and climate change by raising investments for resilience at local, national, regional, and global level; (SFDRR priority 3)
Allocating resources to FBOs and LFCs to develop and implement DRR measures, both in terms of risk mapping, prevention/mitigation and resilience building projects/activities, as well as preparedness activities and early action against disasters; (SFDRR priority 3)
Engaging and supporting FBOs in relief and post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation to galvanize local humanitarian response / preparedness and to facilitate effective and efficient initiatives that will enable communities to BUILD BACK BETTER (SFDRR priority 4)
Local faith-based networks reach every corner of our communities and nations and are capable of contributing substantial material and social resources necessary for risk prevention, reduction and humanitarian action. Faith-based groups are key to the localization of risk reduction, resilience building and humanitarian action because they are among those at the first line of defense in preventing avoidable disasters. They are also among first responders in emergencies providing shelter during evacuation, basic needs (i.e. food, water, clothing, shelter) of those affected during emergencies, and social capital for healing and recovery.
Faith-based organizations (FBOs) and local faith communities (LFCs) can complement other aid sectors’ activity at the grassroots level, thereby contributing and acting as a vector to localize humanitarian response and preparedness, as well as enhance mainstreaming of risk reduction measures in recovery and development programming. Faith, in all its forms, constitutes a natural and important element in the lives of billions of people with over 84% of the world identifying with a religious group. Faith drives people to take action. During the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, we have heard testimonies of communities that have relied on faith and faith institutions as part of their coping mechanism in times of disasters. Faith has enabled communities to become better stewards of their environment and has enhanced social capital through communication, sharing, and compassion for others. Faith has thus offered courage, comfort and hope.
Faith contributes to the coping and adaptive capacities of many people and can be a powerful element in reducing vulnerabilities and, thus, reduce disaster risk. It is an integral element that needs to be taken into account in disaster risk prevention and reduction.
Four-hundred religious leaders, members of diverse faith communities, leaders of faith-based organizations, United Nations officials, and representatives of international and grassroots organizations from around the world attended the Forum. A pre-forum brought together 64 children on 6-8 May.
The GNRC 5th Forum built on work from GNRC members from diverse faith traditions have been doing since the year 2000, working for and with children, to build a better world for children. Working locally, nationally, and globally. The 5th Forum focused specifically on the role of faith communities in addressing challenges presented by various forms of violence against children in three sub-themes:
“Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime”
“Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing”
“Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children.”
JLI announced a new Learning Hub on Ending Violence Against Children at the forum. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Arigatou International (shown below) and Christo Greyling, World Vision International announced plans during sessions at the forum. To apply to be a member please register at evac.jliflc.com
Chaired by Rt. Rev. Julio E. Murray, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Panama, President of the Ecumenical Committee, Chair, Interreligious Committee in Panama, Chair, GNRC 5th Forum
Remarks by Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President, Arigatou International, Convenor, Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and Rev. Mons. Sidney Fones, Chair, GNRC 5th Forum International Organizing Committee
Messages from H.E Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Holy See; H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Opening Address from Panama’s President: Juan Carlos Varela
Co-Chaired by: Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, Professor and Chair, Religion Department, Saint Olaf College, Council Member, Prayer and Action for Children, and Rabbi Diana Gerson; Program Director, New York Board of Rabbis
Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, United Nations, discussed state of Violence Against Children. Referenced report on
H.E. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Session Moderator: Mr. Kul Gautam, Chair, Prayer and Action for Children, Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations
Introductory Remarks: Dr. Susan Bissell, Executive Director, Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children
Ms. Marita Perceval, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Lead, Faith-Based Initiative, World Bank Group
Dr. Kezevino Aram, Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace International, President,
Shanti Ashram, India, President, Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children
Rev. Hidehito Okochi, Chief Priest, Kenji-in Temple and Juko-in Temple, Japan, Board Member, Arigatou International
Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting)
Attendees then attended breakout working sessions by region (Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East)
Session Co-Chairs: Prof. Abdulghafur El Busaidy, Chairman, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, and Ms. Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International
THEME 1: Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime: The Role of Faith Communities
Keynote Address by Fr. Juan Luis Carbajal Tejeda, Executive Secretary, Pastoral de Movilidad Humana, Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, followed by a children’s representative’s remarks
THEME 2: Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing: The Role of Faith Communities
Keynote Address by H.G. Dr. Barry C. Morgan, former Archbishop of Wales
THEME 3: Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children: The Role of Faith Communities
Keynote Address by Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-level Commissioner on Health, Employment and Economic Growth, followed by a children’s representative’s remarks
Parallel Sessions by Theme
Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime: The Role of Faith Communities
Moderators: Dr. Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Imam Dr. Rashied Omar, Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peace Building, University of Notre Dame, Coordinating Imam, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town, South Africa
PANELISTS: Mr. Antti Pentikäinen, Executive Director, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NRTP), Dr. Amr Abdalla, Senior Advisor on the Reform of Education in Muslim Societies Project, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Washington, D.C. Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace International Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Director, Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NRTP) Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Ms. Janet Arach, GNRC Member, Uganda, Youth Representative
Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing: The Role of Faith Communities
Moderators: Dr. Nelson Arns Neumann, Coordinator, Pastoral da Criança, and Rev. Dr. Nicta Lubaale, General Secretary, Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC)
PANELISTS: Ms. Georgina de Villalta, Global Movement for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean Prof. Harold Segura, Regional Director of Church Relations and Christian Identity for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Vision International Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez, President of CONAVIGUA, Member, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of Americas, Guatemala Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Mrs. Sheran Harper, Worldwide Trustee, Mothers Union, Trainer, Worldwide Parenting Programme
Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children: The Role of Faith Communities
Moderators: Ms. Silvia Mazzarelli, Regional Head of Policy and Programming, Plan International, and Ms. Bani Dugal, Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community, United States
PANELISTS: Ms. Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director, ECPAT International Sr. Denisse Pichardo, O.P, Dominican Order of the Altagracia Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Ms. Corina Villacorta, Regional Director, Plan International Americas Mr. Christo Greyling, Senior Director, Faith – Advocacy and External Engagement, World Vision International
ALL FOR CHILDREN: Working with Faith Communities and Partners to End Violence Against Children through Arigatou International’s Initiatives
Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC): Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General, GNRC, Director, Arigatou International – Nairobi, and Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, GNRC Network and Programs Coordinator Ethics Education for Children: Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Secretary General, Ethics Education for Children, Director, Arigatou International – Geneva Prayer and Action for Children: Ms. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Director, Prayer and Action for Children, Director, Arigatou International – New York Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty): Rev. Fredrick O. Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty, Arigatou International – Nairobi
Parallel Sessions by Theme
“The Nexus Between Child Poverty and Violence Against Children”
Facilitators: Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Lead, Faith-Based Initiative, World Bank Group, and Rev. Fredrick O. Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty, Arigatou International – Nairobi
“The Role of Ethics Education in Strengthening Families and Nurturing Spirituality in Children”
Facilitators: Dr. Kezevino Aram, Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace International, President, Shanti Ashram, India, President, Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, and Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Secretary General, Ethics Education for Children, Director, Arigatou International – Geneva
“Combatting Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children”
Facilitators: Rabbi Diana Gerson, Program Director, New York Board of Rabbis, and Ms. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Director, Prayer and Action for Children, Director, Arigatou International – New York
The Sixth Plenary included reading the consensus statement of GNRC Network, commitment from GNRC to see the statement through and a call to action for others to join.
Seventh Plenary: Closing Ceremony
Session Co-Chairs: H. L. Bishop Dr. Method Kilaini, Bishop of Bukoba Diocese, Bukoba, Tanzania, and Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez, President of CONAVIGUA, Member, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of Americas, Guatemala
Sheikh Mohamed Sohaib Al-Chami, the Grand Imam of Aleppo, Syria
Dr. Agnes Abuom, Moderator, Central Committee, World Council of Churches
Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-level Commissioner on Health, Employment and Economic Growth
Reading of GNRC 5th Forum Declaration, Rev. Mons. Sidney Fones
H.G. Archbishop Felix Machado, Archbishop of Vasai, India
The conference ended with an interfaith prayer celebrating all the faith traditions in attendance.
JLI is excited to highlight a new four-year research collaboration led by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (JLI Refugees & Forced Migration Co-Chair), with Prof. Alastair Ager of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Columbia University (Co-I), Dr. Anna Rowlands of Durham University (Co-I) and Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge of University of East Anglia (Co-I). This interdisciplinary and participatory research project is supported by a Large PaCCS Grant (£800,000) awarded by the AHRC-ESRC through the Global Challenges Research Fund.
The team is focusing on local communities and refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Their goal is to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise in local responses to displacement, both for refugees from Syria and for the members of the communities that are hosting them in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
JLI’s Refugees & Forced Migration Hub will be partnering on this project throughout the collaboration.
For more information
Please see their website updated regularly with new information, blog posts, photography galleries, and follow project updates on Twitter @RefugeeHosts
Also, Refugee Hosts moderates a blog series on Faith and Displacement and is welcoming submissions on that theme between now and July 2017.
The conference aimed to strengthen cooperation, build partnerships in the field and fund joint projects in the field of humanitarian action and peacebuilding, between organisations of different backgrounds and world views.
Cooperation in the humanitarian field: challenges and opportunities
The war on terror and international designations: impact on humanitarian cooperation
Humanitarian cooperation: past/ongoing experiences and future perspectives
Launch the “Geneva Platform for the Work of Goodness”
Jean Duff represented JLI and gave a presentation on Engaging Local Religious Networks in Humanitarian Response during Session 5: Cooperation in the humanitarian field: past/ongoing experiences and future perspectives. This presentation draws on the work of JLI Learning Hubs. Please see here for the presentation and JLI Sources Handout.
JLI Advisory Group member Azza Karam, UNFPA spoke on “Beyond the war on terror and East West divide: Building practical bridges.”
The GHR Foundation is partnering with OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform, to conduct the BridgeBuilder Challenge. The BridgeBuilder Challenge leverages the universal call from Pope Francis to ‘build bridges’ addressing the pressing and emergent concerns of our time in the areas of peace, prosperity and planet.
The top ideas selected from the challenge will receive a total of $1 million in funding (up to $500,00o for one organization), in addition to support provided by experts. All participants will benefit from the platform’s collaborative improvement process and opportunities for connection to new partners and potential funders.