Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in Europe and Africa: Meeting Report
June 24, 2008
This report was published following a Hague meeting of engaged practitioners in June 2008 to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations in Africa and Europe that are inspired by religious faith and to explore the policy implications that emerge from their interactions with development organizations. The first day's session covered a broad range of issues: naming and reflecting on the range of activities carried out by faith-inspired organizations, probing the growth of new religious movements and the role of religious institutions in local development, exploring relationships of northern FBOs to their southern partners, and reflecting on relationships among different partners in the development arena. The second day's session centered on the work and role of faith leaders and institutions in post-conflict environments, especially in fragile states. Several broad themes emerged: unanimously the group stressed that religion has received inadequate and/or misguided attention from donors, even though it can be a positive resource for development. This is true both at the level of policy dialogue and at the point of implementation.
Approaches to faith-inspired organizations differ across the European Community and within individual European countries. As in other world regions, there is fragmented data and little systematic stock-taking. Africa presents an extraordinarily varied tapestry of organizations working in development, many of them inspired and often founded by faith traditions. Recently their work has received greater focus (prompted above all by the HIV/AIDS pandemic), but still little systematic information is available, and policy implications have barely been explored. There is still much uncharted ground, however, because there has been little systematic investigation into the work of faith-inspired institutions. The area is complicated by tensions and failures in communication, between different faiths and between faith-based and secular development institutions. There is an urgent need for better knowledge and understanding. These offer the potential to enhance both the quality and reach of global development work.
Table of Contents
Consultation Participants, Introducing the Participants
Framing the Discussion
The Hague Consultation
Issues of Coordination and Capacity
The Changing Landscape: New Movements and Trends
Perceptions, Typologies, and Definitions for Religious Actors
"Inreach" and Development
Recurring Themes: Governance, HIV/AIDS, and Education
Conflict and Fragile States
Ideas for Action and Closing Comments