Faith-Inspired Organizations and Global Development Policy: A Background Review "Mapping" Social and Economic Development Work in Europe and Africa

Authors: Katherine Marshall Alexander Thurston Vanda de la Mata

January 1, 2009

Part of a global review of such work, this report focuses on Europe and Africa as it explores issues confronting organizations working on international development that are, in different ways and to varying degrees, inspired by religious faith. Religion is a central part of African life. It is thus important that European NGOs, religious or secular, take into account the fabric of religious life and its societal impact when conducting development work. Western religion has helped shape the Europe of today: the drive to create an "ideal" society is strengthened and shaped around religious ideals. European faith-inspired organizations (FIOs) are therefore charged with an important task: to help Europeans understand the importance of religion in development work and to help develop secular cohesion within immigrant states. With the conflicts that arise between religious populations, European FIOs can help bridge these gaps and move European society forward into a more pluralistic age. This report was prepared as background for a consultation focused on faith and development held in June 2008 at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague; a report on that event was published separately.

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