WFDD Programs & Projects
"How does faith or religion affect your work?" This series of almost 400 interviews addresses this question with a wide range of development actors across the world. The assembled in-depth conversations with activists, religious leaders, and policy specialists examine best practices and collaborative strategies across a range of contemporary challenges. Interviews focus on country and regional issues and on leading development topics, including women and peacebuilding, health, education, housing, governance, and gender. View our most recent interviews below.
Building upon previous projects mapping the work of faith-inspired organizations by region and sector, the Berkley Center and World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) have explored key religion and development work at the country level. This new research produced pedagogical resources, research publications, and policy briefs, with a core objective to encourage engagement and collaboration with faith-inspired actors to achieve development goals. A team of researchers, under the leadership of Katherine Marshall, drew from WFDD’s previous country mapping work in Cambodia to examine Bangladesh, Senegal, Kenya, and Guatemala. This country-level approach made significant contributions to understanding the nature of faith-linked development work within each country and contributed to dialogue at the national level on implications and lessons. Efforts focused on developing an understanding of the key leaders and institutions, challenges, and best practices when working with faith-inspired actors on development issues. Building knowledge and encouraging engagement and collaboration has the potential to improve the quality of development policies and interventions by multiple stakeholders including faith-based actors, civil society, government, and international organizations.
The World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) continues its country level mapping, in collaboration with GIZ, focusing on key religious and development work in five countries. The first is Nigeria. The work involves a thorough review of scholarship and available materials, focused development policy links. Outputs will include country reports, targeted issue briefs, and published interviews. The central objective is to encourage engagement with faith-inspired actors to achieve development goals.
The Berkley Center and World Faiths Development Dialogue have developed a series of policy briefs that examine the role of faith-based organizations related to a range of topics, including corruption, health, violence, and gender. The briefs distill key findings from reports and consultations conducted as part of the issue- and country-based survey research conducted since 2006 with the support of the Henry R. Luce Foundation. The policy briefs were first developed in 2012 and 2013 as part of an extended consultation with stakeholders on next directions for survey research, which generated recommendations for continued development of policy briefs.
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As part of a multi-year survey the Berkley Center and the World Faiths Development Dialogue mapped the activities of faith-inspired organizations across world regions. Through a series of reports, in-depth interviews with practitioners, international workshops, and web resources, the mapping project charts organizations anchored in particular faith traditions or with ecumenical or interfaith approaches that are engaged in global development agendas, including poverty relief, education, and the struggle against HIV/AIDS and malaria. This project was originally launched through the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs.
In 2012 the Berkley Center and World Faiths Development Dialogue collaborated with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) on a year-long project to assess their interfaith toolkit pilot project. The toolkit, prepared in conjunction with an earlier Berkley Center collaboration, aims to engage local community interfaith groups in HFHI efforts to provide adequate shelter for all. The pilot project aimed to test the toolkit's effectiveness as a component of the HFHI community outreach strategy.
The Opus Prize recognizes unsung heroes of any faith tradition, anywhere in the world, solving today’s most persistent social problems. Given annually, this $1 million faith-based humanitarian award and awards for the other finalists are collectively one of the world’s largest faith-based, humanitarian awards for social innovation. Recipients are selected on the basis of their entrepreneurial spirit and abiding faith to address global issues like poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice.On November 13, 2013 Georgetown University and the Opus Prize Foundation awarded the 2013 Opus Prize to Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning in Afghanistan. The Fahmina Institute in Indonesia and Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association in Washington, D.C., each won $75,000. More information about the prize is available on the foundation’s website.
In preparation for the November 2011 capstone to reflect on the first phase of the Religion and Global Development project within the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs, the Berkley Center and the World Faiths Development Dialogue conducted a series of focused interviews with practitioners and scholars working at the forefront of policy and practice at the intersection of faith and development. As the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline approached, the interview series explored how the efforts of faith-inspired actors could best be harnessed to craft effective policy looking in the years ahead.
Since 2006 the Berkley Center and World Faiths Development Dialogue have conducted a multi-year survey of critical issues at the intersection of religion and development. Project publications and associated events track the engagement of faith-inspired organizations around a set of core policy challenges, with an emphasis on common problems, ethical commitments, and best practices. To date the project has addressed Ebola, gender, governance, HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal mortality, shelter, tuberculosis, and water and sanitation. Project research has also resulted in a series of policy briefs that examine the role of faith-based organizations and topics including: corruption, the WASH agenda, human trafficking in Cambodia, aid effectiveness, immunization, malaria, and reducing maternal mortality. Ongoing work continues, following recommendations to develop teaching case studies, further in-depth country level studies, focused exploration of crossing cutting issues, and wider, better, and sharper communication and outreach strategies. This project was originally launched through the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs.
Scholars and practitioners have devoted increasing attention to the roles played by faith communities in negotiating and building peace in the world's conflict zones. Because formal religious leadership tends to be dominated by men, women's engagement in religious peacemaking has received far less attention. To address this knowledge gap, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Berkley Center, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue conducted a multi-year exploration of the activities and perspectives of women in peacebuilding and their policy implications.
Women and girls are today a central focus of international development. Increased access to education, employment, healthcare, decision-making, and leadership has brought change to female lives within the home and family. Amidst these shifting social norms, religion plays an important role in shaping gender dynamics within families and society, yet religion’s impact on the family is often poorly understood. To better clarify the nexus of women, religion, and the family, the Berkley Center and the World Faiths Development Dialogue asked women and men from various faith traditions to share their experiences and opinions in the form of blogs and interviews. Initial pieces examined under-explored topics such as black Muslim motherhood and evolving definitions of family within religious traditions. During 2014 and 2015, blogs and interviews covered new themes each month, including marriage, women’s leadership in faith communities, and sexual violence and health issues.
The Women, Religion, and the Family project was made possible through the generosity of Mary Jo Gwin Wiese (C'82, G'84).