13,353 Partnering with Faith-Based/Religious Organizations – The Drum Beat 745 October 25, 2017, The Communication Initiative Network


The Drum BeatPartnering with Faith-Based/Religious Organizations – The Drum Beat 745
October 25, 2017
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J. Andreas Hipple of the GHR Foundation writes: “In development and humanitarian action, it is now widely accepted – including among many avowedly secular professionals and institutions – that religious actors are not only important influencers on a wide range of issues but that they can also be strategic partners….This drumbeat for religious engagement appears to be reaching a crescendo…” In that context, this issue of The Drum Beat examines the role that religious leaders (RLs) and faith-based organisations (FBOs) – often stable, enduring, trusted, inter-connected individuals and forms of social organisation that can also be complicated and contested – play in many facets of communication for development action around the world. We provide you with a selection of the many CI resources searchable here that illustrate so! me of the opportunities, challenges, and resources afforded by and emerging from the intersections of faith with efforts to mobilise grassroots support for various issues, earn the trust of vulnerable groups, and influence cultural and social norms.
From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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  • 1. Local Humanitarian Leadership and Religious Literacy: Engaging with Religion, Faith, and Faith Actors
    by Tara R. Gingerich, Diane L. Moore, Robert Brodrick, and Carleigh Beriont
    Local humanitarian leadership (LHL) is built upon the premise that humanitarian action should be led by governments and civil societies in crisis-affected countries whenever possible, yet this research finds that secular humanitarian international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) do not engage systematically with local faith actors in their local leadership work. Oxfam undertook a project – in collaboration with the Harvard Divinity School and with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation – to explore the intersection of religion and locally led humanitarian action. The scoping research, combining a literature review and interviews of more than 45 stakeholders, set out to examine the varying approaches and effectiveness in local humanitarian leadership by secular and faith-inspired international humanitarian NGOs, their varying approaches to partnering and engaging with local faith actors, and their religious literacy. [Mar 2017]
  • 2. UNDP Guidelines on Engaging with Faith-based Organizations and Religious Leaders
    These guidelines aim to encourage United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) staff to streamline faith-sensitive development policy and programming that contributes to sustainable human development. They specifically aim to: provide a working definition of FBOs and RLs; strengthen internal capacities and raise awareness among UNDP staff about issues of common concern with FBOs and RLs; highlight the opportunities and risks associated with engaging with FBOs and RLs; identify lessons learned from previous collaboration with FBOs and RLs; encourage UNDP staff to think creatively about partnerships with faith actors and to avoid pitfalls that could result from ill-advised forms of engagement; assist UNDP staff in mapping, formalising, and monitoring partnerships with FBOs and RLs; and enable FBOs and RLs to better understand the nature of their relationship with UNDP and to find points of entry and common concern. [Oct 2014]
  • 3. Faith, Empowerment, Church and Community Mobilisation Advocacy: Insights from Tearfund’s Partner in Uganda
    by Ciana-Marie Pegus, Charlotte Flowers, Joanna Watson, Sarah Onduko, and Lucie Woolley
    This Making All Voices Count practice paper discusses a pilot initiative undertaken by Tearfund, a Christian international relief and development agency, and its partner in Uganda, Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG), which sought to add an advocacy component to an existing community mobilisation process known as Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM). “CCM, developed by Francis Njoroge in partnership with Tearfund, is directly derived from Participatory Rural Appraisal, which sought to use Freirean methods to involve marginalised people in community development. Trained CCM facilitators encourage reflection on passages of the Bible that relate to faith and development, social justice and servant leadership, enabling participants to critically reflect and act to better understand their social reality – what Freire calls the ‘conscientisation process’. CCM utilises the unique position of local churches to bring about mindset change and empowerment, and the local church ! creates a safe space for this empowerment and new thinking through the existing meaningful relationships in the community.” The practice paper discusses some of the findings of research on the pilot project, which set out to examine the role of local churches, CCM, and CCM advocacy in fostering transparency, citizen empowerment, inclusion, and government responsiveness. [Mar 2017]

  • 4. Interreligious Action for Peace: Studies in Muslim-Christian Cooperation
    by Tom Bamat, Nell Bolton, Myla Leguro, and Atalia Omer (Eds.)
    With its focus on Muslim-Christian dynamics, this publication presents case studies on interreligious action (IRA), highlighting specific approaches and tools that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staff members created and the networks they helped forge. In addition to discussing successes and lessons garnered from everyday experience, they point to challenges on the horizon, such as: finding ways to better employ religious resources in the pursuit of peace; linking community-level attitudinal and behavioural changes to broader social and religious transformation; effectively addressing personal traumas and prejudices; and fostering women’s and young people’s leadership in and through their religious communities. [Mar 2017]
  • 5. Implementing UNSCR 2250: Youth and Religious Actors Engaging for Peace
    by Aubrey Cox, Melissa Nozell, and Imrana Alhaji Buba
    United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security was adopted in December 2015, formalising an international framework to address the critical role of youth in building and sustaining peace and preventing violent conflict. This resolution focused on 5 pillars of action to ensure that youth are included: participation, protection, prevention, partnerships, and reintegration. This report from the Center for Applied Conflict Transformation at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) highlights the gaps and opportunities related to the implementation of Resolution 2250 through 3 of those pillars: partnership, prevention, and participation. These pillars are areas in which religious actors, youth leaders, and religious youth leaders can work together, and where international and local stakeholders can support their inclusion in peace dialogues on local, national, and international levels. [Jun 2017]
  • 6. Role of Religion and Religious Leaders in Farmer-Pastoralist Conflict in Plateau State – An Inter-Religious Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria (IPNN) Qualitative Research Report
    This report looks at the results of a qualitative research study to evaluate the impact of religious leaders and interfaith initiatives on peacebuilding outcomes in Nigeria’s Plateau State. The research, which forms part of the Mercy Corps’ Interfaith Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria (IPNN) programme, found that religious leaders have a high potential to positively influence long-term peacebuilding, which is, in particular, due to their role in changing attitudes and behaviours. The role of religious leaders, as well as the mediation training they received, was often mentioned as one of the reasons for the reduction of conflict in Plateau State. [Oct 2016]
  • 7. The Ties That Bind: Building Social Cohesion in Divided Communities
    This guide from CRS is an instrument to instruct and inspire practitioners to restore broken relationships, overcome mistrust, reduce hatred and mitigate violence. The guide combines the 4Ds of Appreciative Inquiry (AI – “Discover, Dream, Design, and Deliver”) with the 3Bs CRS’ people-to-people peacebuilding methodology (“Binding, Bonding, and Bridging”). CRS provides several examples of its work. To cite one: In Central Mindanao, Philippines, communities long at odds over land searched for a way to mitigate land conflicts. According to CRS, the strength of the project lay in its capacity to mobilise and engage traditional and religious leaders (TRLs) to be community peace facilitators, and to equip them with tools that revitalised and reinforced local conflict-resolution mechanisms. [2017]
  • See also:
    Communicating to Counter Violent Extremism – The Drum Beat 729
    Accommodating Religious Identity in Youth Peacebuilding Programs

ENQUIRY: Your priorities, opportunities and challenges!
What kinds of challenges and opportunities infuse your communication and media development, social and behavioural change work? This survey is a chance for you to let us know! In 2017, we will report back on results and trends so you can gain insights from your peers in the network.
Click here to lend your voice.

  • 8. Identity Constructions and Inter-Organizational Collaboration: Islamic Faith-Based Organizations and the Polio Vaccination Stoppage in Northern Nigeria
    by James Olumide Olufowote
    In the context of a Northern Nigerian vaccination stoppage by Islamic FBOs in 2003-2004, this study – informed by literature in communication studies on inter-organisational collaboration (IOC) – focuses on the role of FBOs in the global effort to eradicate polio. Through a comparative analysis of 119 newspaper statements attributed to 19 spokespersons in 4 Nigerian newspapers, the study examined (a) the identities the FBOs claimed and those they constructed for federal government organisations (FGOs) and global north organisations (GNOs) and (b) the FBOs’ reports of FGO/GNO communication practices that could have impeded IOC. The paper includes a review of the pertinent literature, followed by presentations of the study’s research questions, methods, results, and discussion. [Mar 2016]
  • 9. “Mobile Mullah” Supports Polio Vaccination in Kandahar
    According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the support of religious leaders is crucial for the success of polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan. For the most part, religious refusals by skeptical and conservative parents who believe vaccinations for children aren’t halal are rare. Still, they occur frequently enough that during door-to-door polio campaigns, the mullahs, who are independent volunteers, remain on standby to intervene. Mullah Rashid is a strong supporter of the polio programme, criss-crossing Kandahar on his motorcycle to talk to communities about the importance of vaccination. Using his own words, this video shows how he supports vaccination teams as they try to vaccinate every last child to ensure they are protected from polio. [Jun 2017]
  • 10. From Intense Rejection to Advocacy: How Muslim Clerics Were Engaged in a Polio Eradication Initiative in Northern Nigeria
    by Sani-Gwarzo Nasir, Gambo Aliyu, Inuwa Ya’u, Muktar Gadanya, Muktar Mohammad, Mahmud Zubair, and Samer S. El-Kamary
    Noting that, of the several setbacks suffered by the polio eradication initiative (PEI) in northern Nigeria, vaccination rejection by Muslim clerics (imams) is perhaps the most profound, the authors of this paper explore efforts that have been made to actively engage imams in promoting uptake of polio vaccination in areas worst hit by the disease. “The engagement of the traditional and religious leaders in the polio immunization campaign in northern Nigeria was vital to the success of the country’s PEI and primary health care programs. The recent extension of the campaign to include polio survivors, Quranic school teachers, and entertainers, among others, is providing access to families that are hard to reach and non-compliant.” [Aug 2014]
  • See also:
    UK Diaspora Engagement with Polio Eradication in Pakistan
    Summary Report on the Consultation with Islamic Scholars on Polio Eradication

  • 11. Women, Faith and Human Rights
    Participants reflecting on a November 2015 consultation on “Women, Faith and Human Rights” co-convened by the Church of Sweden and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) observed, among other things, that mainly male faith-based actors are being heard in discussions or reflections with international secular organisations. As the report summing up the consultation indicates: While women in religious organisations are and have been present in and around the UN, they often speak to the “victimhood” and oppression suffered by women, or on idealistic roles and responsibilities of women and men. It is rare to see such women in UN and other international developmental fora who occupy leadership positions or any other position that allows them to be “norm shapers”. [Jun 2016]
  • 12. Faith-Based Approaches to Transforming Masculinities for Gender Justice & Equality: A Two-Day Consultation
    MenEngage Alliance and Tearfund organised a 2-day consultation in Washington, D.C., United States (US), in August 2016 to collectively explore and gain better understanding of faith-based approaches to transforming masculinities for gender justice. One question participants discussed: Why should faith-based organisations incorporate a men and masculinities approach into their work? One reply: The lack of space within faith communities for dialogue on gender equality was recognised, and it was noted that many religious spaces lack the resources, awareness, and skills to begin these conversations. The Alliance can provide tools to help instigate constructive dialogue. [Dec 2016]
  • 13. Gender, Sexuality and Faith: A Toolkit
    This interactive toolkit seeks to support faith communities and faith leaders working to promote social justice in relation to gender and sexuality. One of the 6 modules outlines some of the links between faith, gender, power, hierarchy, and socialisation and highlights the negative consequences of patriarchy for both men and women. It was developed by the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WICDS), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and Sonke Gender Justice, along with individuals, communities, and faith leaders. [2016]
  • 14. SASA! Faith Materials
    This set of materials has been produced for the SASA! Faith initiative, which supports leaders, members, and allies of a religion to come together to prevent violence against women and HIV. The initiative involves a process of community mobilisation – an approach and corresponding activities that seeks to engage the whole community in living the faith-based values of justice, peace, and dignity. [2016]
  • See also:
    How can religious leaders support progress for women?
    Covering Sexual and Gender Minorities & Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa – A Reporting Guide for Journalists

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  • 19. The View from Above: Faith and Health
    by Azza Karam, Julie Clague, Katherine Marshall, and Jill Olivier
    From The Lancet series on faith-based health care, this overview describes the range of care of FBOs and their influence and provides suggestions on developing their contribution to improve health outcomes. Papers in the series point to the magnitude of care and range of quality of care and the ability to serve hard-to-reach populations and prioritise economically poor and marginalised people and to mobilise volunteers, as well as to innovate in fee structuring and governance approaches. However, religious concerns are linked with the tensions “between elements of human rights discourse and rights-based development praxis, on the one hand, and cultural considerations mixed with national sovereignty to establish governments’ own priorities, on the other….With this in mind, an informed appreciation of the highly complex nexus of faith and health-care delivery and engagement becomes a strategic necessity and a tactical advantage.” [Jul 2015]
  • 20. Family Planning Advocacy Through Religious Leaders: A Guide for Faith Communities
    This document guides the efforts of FBOs to equip and encourage RLs to advocate for family planning (FP) with their governments, the media, and their own congregations and communities. It was inspired by FP advocacy with religious leaders carried out by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH), the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), and the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN). [Jan 2017]
  • 21. A Powerful Framework for Women: Introducing Standard Days Method to Muslim Couples in Kinshasa
    by Cat Toth
    This document shares the experience of expanding access to contraceptive measures that are acceptable among faith communities and, specifically, the successful introduction of the Standard Days Method (SDM) to Muslim communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Maman An’Sar, an FBO, sought out the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) (which had already introduced SDM to Catholic churches and some Protestant churches in the DRC) to work with them to achieve one of their objectives: raise awareness of rights and health issues, including reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and sexual/gender-based violence. [Jan 2011]
  • See also:
    Faith Engagement and Faith Sensitive Behavior Change Messaging: An Alternate Model to Social Behavior Change Communication in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak Response in Sierra Leone: Abstract
    Faith-Based Organisations and HIV Prevention in Africa
    Sikia Kengele Interpersonal Communication Training for Religious Leaders
This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.
The Drum Beat is the email and web network of The Communication Initiative Partnership.

Full list of the CI Partners:
ANDIBBC Media ActionBernard van Leer FoundationBreakthroughCiturna TVFundación ImaginarioFundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI)Heartlines,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication ProgramsMaternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)MISAOpen Society FoundationsOxfam NovibPAHOThe Panos InstitutePuntos de EncuentroSAfAIDSSesame WorkshopSoul CitySTEPS InternationalUNAIDSUNICEFUniversidad de los Andes,World Health Organization (WHO)W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

Chair of the Partners Group: Garth Japhet, Founder, Soul City garth@heartlines.org.za

Executive Director: Warren Feek wfeek@comminit.com

The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
Please send additional project, evaluation, strategic thinking, and materials information on communication for development at any time. Send to drumbeat@comminit.com

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