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Faith-Inspired Organizations and
Global Development Policy
A Background Review “Mapping” Social
and Economic Development Work
in Southeast Asia

A project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace,

and World Affairs and the Edmund A. Walsh School
of Foreign Service at Georgetown University
Supported by the Henry R. Luce Initiative
on Religion and International Affairs
Luce/SFS Program on Religion The Edmund A. Walsh School of
and International Affairs Foreign Service
The Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Founded in 1919 to educate students and prepare them
Affairs has been exploring the intersection of faith, for leadership roles in international affairs, the School
world politics and diplomacy since September 2006. of Foreign Service conducts an undergraduate program
A collaboration between the Henry Luce Foundation for over 1,300 students and graduate programs at the
and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Master’s level for more than 700 students. Under the
(SFS) and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and leadership of Dean Robert L. Gallucci, the School houses
World Affairs at Georgetown University, the Luce/SFS more than a dozen regional and functional programs
Program initially focused on two issue areas: Religion that offer courses, conduct research, host events, and
and Global Development and Religion and US Foreign contribute to the intellectual development of the field
Policy. A follow-on award from the Luce Foundation of international affairs. In 2007, a survey of faculty pub-
in November 2008 has enabled the continued growth lished in Foreign Policy ranked Georgetown University as
of both program areas and the addition of two more: #1 in Master’s degree programs in international relations.
Government Outreach and an online Religion and
International Affairs Network.
The World Faiths Development
The Berkley Center
The World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD)
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World bridges between the worlds of faith and secular devel-
Affairs at Georgetown University, created within the opment. Established by James D. Wolfensohn, then
Office of the President in March 2006, is dedicated to President of the World Bank, and Lord Carey of Clifton,
the interdisciplinary study of religion and the promo- then Archbishop of Canterbury, WFDD responded to
tion of interreligious understanding. Through research, the opportunities and concerns of many faith leaders
teaching, and service, the Center examines religion as it who saw untapped potential for partnerships. Based in
relates to global challenges of international diplomacy, Washington, D.C., WFDD supports dialogue, fosters
democracy and human rights, and economic and social communities of practice, and promotes understanding
development. Two premises guide the Center’s work: on religion and development, with formal relationships
that deeper knowledge of religion’s global role is critical with the World Bank, Georgetown University, and
to address these challenges, and that the open engage- many faith-inspired institutions.
ment of religious traditions with one another and with
the wider society can promote peace. Thomas Banchoff,
associate professor in the Department of Government The Asia Faiths Development
and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, is Dialogue
the Center’s founding director.
The Asia Faiths Development Dialogue (AFDD),
launched in 2006, seeks to strengthen faith by mobilizing
support of the different faith groups in Cambodia and in
Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, to work
for peace, development and harmony in order to achieve
a peaceful coexistence of the people in Asia and beyond.
AFDD fosters constructive inter-faiths dialogue through
broad participation in order to promote trust-building and
reconciliation as well as societal development. By bridging
the gaps among the different faith groups at the national,
regional, and international levels, AFDD strives to amelio-
rate the lives of diverse people around the world.
Copyright 2010, Georgetown University.
About this Report

This report was prepared as part of the Berkley Center’s global “mapping” of the work of faith-inspired
organizations worldwide. The report specifically served as background for a consultation on faith-
inspired organizations and global development policy in Southeast Asia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
in December 2009. A separate, companion report summarizes the meeting itself, including interviews
with participants; all are available on the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and
World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) websites.1 The draft report was reviewed by partici-
pants in the Phnom Penh consultation; we acknowledge their inputs with gratitude.

The Southeast Asia review is part of the comparative project on Religion and Global Development
supported by the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Through a series of meetings with stakeholders and

background reports, the Berkley Center and WFDD have worked to ‘“map’” the role of faith-
inspired organizations around the world, highlighting best practices and policy issues that arise.
Prior events have included: a meeting in Washington, DC in April 2007 focused on the United

States; a meeting in Doha, Qatar in December 2007 focused on the Muslim World; a meeting in


The Hague, The Netherlands in June 2008 focused on Europe and Africa; and a meeting in Antigua,
Guatemala in January 2009, focused on Latin America. A future meeting is planned for South Asia.

About the Authors

The report was prepared by a team of researchers at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and
World Affairs and the World Faiths Development Dialogue. The principal author is Michael
Bodakowski, working under the supervision of Katherine Marshall. Sarah Arkin and Walker
Grooms, graduate research fellows at the Berkley Center, contributed significantly, as did Michael
Scharff and Augustina Delaney from their on-going work in Cambodia. Thomas Bohnett provided
invaluable guidance and input throughout the process. Melody Fox Ahmed played a key role from
the beginning of the consultation process, without whose contributions this report would not have
been possible. Kory Kantenga and Amy Vander Vliet also made important contributions.

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Part 1: Southeast Asia: An Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Religion in Southeast Asia: A Brief Overview—Actual, Historical, Trends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Buddhism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Islam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Hinduism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Indigenous Beliefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Faith-Inspired Organizations with Transnational Mandates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Major Faith-Inspired Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Part 2: Sector Focus and Emerging Trends and Policy Questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Peace and Conflict Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Human Trafficking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Environment and Natural Disasters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Governance and Transparency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Box 1: Filipino Catholic Church Fights for Good Governance and Against Corruption. . . . . . 21

Part 3: Country Case Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


Indonesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Historical Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Religion and Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Development Challenges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
The Government, Religious Institutions, and NGOs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Nadlhatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
International Faith-Inspired Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Interfaith Cooperation and Conflict. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Box 2: Women’s Rights and Faith-Inspired Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Philippines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Socio-Economic Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Religion in the Philippines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Box 3: Mindanao: Conflict and Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Faith and Public Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Box 4: Civil Society, the Catholic Church, and Agrarian Reform. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
NGOs, Civil Society, Faith, and Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Box 5: Environmental Call for Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Box 6: Habitat for Humanity—Peace Build Program in Mindanao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Box 7: The Catholic Church and Contraception. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Emerging Challenges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Box 8: Sister Adelia S. Oling and People’s Alternative Livelihood Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Cambodia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Cambodia’s Religious Heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Development and Buddhist Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Box 9: The Association of Buddhists for the Environment (ABE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Development and Muslim organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Christian Development Activities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Emerging Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Thailand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
An Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Socio-Economic and Political Background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Religion in Thailand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Socially Engaged Buddhism in Thailand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Interfaith Cooperation and Dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Faith-Inspired Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Vietnam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
An Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Religion in Vietnam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Development Work in Vietnam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Laos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Socio-Economic Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Religion in Laos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
NGOs, Politics, and Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Faith-Inspired Development Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Burma (Myanmar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

The Country in Context. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Socio-Economic Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Religion in Burma (Myanmar). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Role of Faith-Inspired Actors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53


Part 4: Transnational Dimensions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Japan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Japanese Foreign Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Box 10: Soka Gakkai. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Faith-Inspired Organizations and Development in Japan and Abroad. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Korea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Box 11: Korean Missionaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Taiwan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Box 12: Tzu Chi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Malaysia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
An Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Islam, Ethnicity, and Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
NGOs, Religious Organizations, and the Government. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Box 13: The Hajj Fund and Islamic Banking in Malaysia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Singapore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
United States and Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

Appendix 1: Annotated Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Endnotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Faith-Inspired Organizations and
Global Development Policy
A Background Review “Mapping” Social and
Economic Development Work in Southeast Asia

Introduction at a national level. A separate section explores the work

eligion is a pervasive and influential force across of transnational organizations, focusing primarily on
Southeast Asia. Religious beliefs are as diverse those with an Asian focus but also international faith-
as the region’s geography and peoples, and inspired organizations including World Vision, Muslim
religious practices and institutions both shape and are Relief, and the Council for the Parliament of the
changed by the social revolutions across all realms of World’s Religions. These organizations and the people
Southeast Asian society. Institutions and communities who work with them form a web of development prac-
with faith links engage in widely ranging activities, titioners that, inter alia, transmits experience and ideas
some classically religious in nature (teaching scripture, across national and often faith boundaries.
pastoral care), others covering a wide gamut of ser-

vices and community action, working from the many The review has proved challenging. The wide range of
thousands of temples, churches, mosques, and other religious beliefs that characterize the region give rise to
religious institutions across the region. an extraordinary diversity of institutional forms and

activities. Their overall nature and form are not docu-


The report aims to identify and examine the practical, mented or analyzed in any systematic way, and they
development related roles of faith-inspired institutions vary by country and region. Faith-inspired institutions
and the environments in which they work, both histori- can be found working in all sectors of society, ranging
cally and present-day, focusing on Southeast Asia.2 Its from the spiritual realm, to those more commonly asso-
central aim is what we term a “mapping” of the land- ciated with secular organizations. They work in educa-
scape of faith-inspired organizations working in devel- tion, health, HIV/AIDS, environmental preservation,
opment, in order to identify and highlight areas with humanitarian relief, conflict resolution, and emergency
potential for increased collaboration, and their policy relief, among many other sectors. They work inde-
implications. It also sets out to identify areas meriting pendently, in collaboration with other faith-inspired
further investigation and discussion. Given the diversity groups, and in an extraordinary array of partnerships
and size of Southeast Asia, some countries are not dis- with secular institutions, public and private. To a sig-
cussed in this report, though they do have vibrant faith- nificant extent, therefore, this review is exploratory, and
inspired organizations engaged in development work its findings are far from definitive.
that deserve investigation. The report is based largely on
desk reviews of existing material and literature, enriched The report makes no systematic effort to define religion
by ongoing WFDD field work in Cambodia and inter- or faith, and thus has not constrained its analysis to
views with specialists and practitioners. a tightly defined set of faith actors. Its approach is
wide-ranging and inclusive, and our use of the term
The country context in which faith-inspired organiza- “faith-inspired” reflects an appreciation of the complex
tions work (social, political, cultural, and economic) links between inspiration and organization, belief and
largely determines and influences their roles and activi- action. Religion and faith are tied to moral and ethical
ties. The report thus focuses on a country by country attributes that tend to emphasize human and spiritual
overview that highlights the challenges and constraints contributions to political and economic domains.

Beliefs affect behaviors relevant to many endeavors tice, human rights abuses, and environmental degrada-
having clear social, economical, and political reach. The tion in concrete, practical ways.
primary focus of the present exploration, however, is
not on the ways in which faith and belief shape attitudes The review is designed to inform and serve both faith
towards development and related behaviors, but on a set and development practitioners. Diverse faith-inspired
of more pragmatic questions linked to policy engage- organizations form part of the development architec-
ment and service delivery. ture, presenting attendant challenges of coordination
and aligning with national and international strategic
The report focuses on the largest faith communi- objectives. Often the faith-inspired experience suggests
ties, which tend to have the most active institutions: new insights and practical lessons, as well as special
Buddhism, Muslim, and Christianity; but other reli- challenges on issues ranging from governance to effec-

gions and indigenous belief systems also help to weave tive community mobilization. To date, faith-inspired
the social, cultural, and religious fabric of Southeast institutions, as such, have rarely figured on develop-
Asia. Shintoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Judaism ment agendas, except as elements of what is broadly
all have reach and influence, and indigenous religions defined as civil society. The report’s findings could serve
and beliefs are also significant. Belief systems are syn- as a useful enrichment for development discussions.
cretic in many situations, and each of the larger world
religions has a uniquely Southeast Asian character.

The central threads running through much of the

analysis and discussions are the purposeful focus of
much faith-inspired work on poor communities and
grassroots endeavors, and wide-ranging efforts to
address conflicts and social tensions. The major faiths

present in Southeast Asia all profess a particular focus


on those who are excluded and marginalized in society,

those who suffer, and those who are poor. Faith-inspired
organizations are particularly active, and often have
a significant value-added, at the grassroots level. In
communities, faith-inspired organizations can have a
nuanced understanding of the local context, significant
and well established networks, and established rela-
tionships and trust with local leaders and community
members. Recent natural disasters in Southeast Asia
highlight how effectively some faith-inspired actors can
respond and their extraordinary reach.

In Southeast Asia, national borders and ethnicities over-

lap, bringing faith communities into close proximity,
leading both to constructive cooperation, and in some
instances, interreligious conflict. Faith-inspired organi-
zations thus find themselves often at the epicenter of
local understanding and influence surrounding devel-
opment work and humanitarian aid. In places where
there are active conflicts, faith-inspired grassroots initia-
tives engage the poorest members of the community,
who are often particularly imbued with their religious
identity. A wide array of groups addresses social injus-

Part I
Southeast Asia: An Overview

Religion in Southeast Asia: Figure 1

A Brief Overview—Actual, Southeast Asia, Population
Historical, Trends by Religious Affiliation (%)

eligious institutions and faith-inspired organiza-
tions have a strong physical and spiritual pres- Ethnoreligionist: 4.90% Agnostic: 2.69%
Christian: 21.23% Other: 6.98%
ence across most Southeast Asian communities.
Even the most remote and inaccessible locations are
likely to have a vibrant religious center or centers that
often function as a social and economic hub, beside
more classic spiritual roles. Faith-inspired institutions

are involved in a range of social and public services at
the community level, including prominently but not
exclusively education and health.

Buddhist: 27.09% Muslim: 36.83%


Religious demography, relations between state and
faith, and predominant areas of activity of faith institu- Source: The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)

tions vary widely across the region, and each country

presents a quite different profile, sometimes mirrored
also in wide differences among regions of a single Buddhism
country. This diversity gives rise to widely different Theravada Buddhism, the oldest of the three main divi-
arrangements and focus in terms of types of develop- sions of Buddhism and most widespread practice in
ment programs and sector concentration. The capacity Southeast Asia, historically spread from India and Sri
of the state also shapes the approach to faith-inspired Lanka to present day Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia,
organizations, as well as to civil society more broadly. Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos. Buddhist kings and pow-
The respective roles of local versus regional and inter- erful Buddhist empires reigned across the Mekong River
national organizations also differs markedly by coun- region for hundreds of years, through the 13th century,
try. Thus, the Philippines, for example, with a vibrant installing Buddhism as permanent and influential fixture
and established democracy, has a large and dynamic across these Southeast Asian societies. Buddhism, in
civil society with thousands of different organizations addition to its obvious and influential spiritual realm, has
working in virtually every imaginable sector, while in been used by political leaders to derive power and sup-
Vietnam, a communist state, nongovernmental orga- port, and as a force for national cohesion. In Thailand,
nizations, including those with a faith character, work the Buddhist lineage of the King remains a symbol of
under significant restrictions. national cohesion during its on-going political crisis,3
while in Burma (Myanmar), Burma’s (Myanmar’s)
The following section briefly introduces the region’s military regime has in many respects coopted the upper
major religious traditions. echelons of the Buddhist sangha.4

Buddhist monks, in varying ways and to varying political fabric. Islam influences governance, law, and
degrees, are actively engaged in social development finance, among other aspects of daily life, in addition to
work at the local, national, and regional levels. The spiritual guidance. Daily functions of the state, includ-
Buddhist temple often serves as an important center of ing education, legal, and finance policy, are influenced
social life in villages and towns, especially in Thailand, by Muslim practice and thought, at times blurring the
Cambodia, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar). Alongside line between the secular and religious realms.
traditional Buddhist structures, lay Buddhist move-
ments, both national and transnational, put to prac- Some countries or sub-regions are witnessing pres-
tice the tenets of socially engaged Buddhism.5 Sulak sures to follow stricter Islamic legal and political codes.
Sivaraksa has been particularly influential in bringing Prominent examples are Aceh, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
attention to the socially engaged Buddhist move- Some observers suggest that movements towards Sharia

ment, contributing a Buddhist voice to international law, for example, are driven by a small minority of reli-
development discussions on topics ranging from social gious hardliners and political elites.7 Islamic education
justice and education to environmental protection and is influential, replaces public education systems in many
sustainable development.6 Buddhist organizations from areas, notably in Indonesia and Malaysia, but also recog-
the wealthier countries in Asia (particularly Japan and nized in majority Buddhist countries such as Thailand.
Taiwan), predominantly lay movements, are active in
promoting socially engaged Buddhism on a regional Christianity
and international level. Soka Gakkai, a Japanese lay Christianity is thought to have begun its journey into
Buddhist movement, for example, has active chapters in Asia with the mission of the apostle Thomas in India.
most countries in Asia. Catholicism arrived in Southeast Asia on a large scale
with the Spanish in Manila in 1571, laying the founda-
Islam tion for the predominantly Roman Catholic heritage in
Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Southeast Asia the Philippines today. Protestant Christianity was first

(an estimated 37 percent of the population), and Southeast introduced in the region by the Dutch in the early seven-

Asia is home to 65 percent of the world’s Muslims. Most teenth century but did not spread extensively until mis-
Southeast Asian Muslims follow Sunni Islam. Indonesia is sionaries arrived en mass early in the nineteenth century.
the world’s most populous Muslim country. They remain a widespread presence in Southeast Asia.

Islam was introduced in Southeast Asia by way of Arab Apart from the Philippines, Christianity has exerted
merchants and sailors and is present today throughout less influence than Buddhism, Islam, and, historically,
the region. The most populous Muslim countries Hinduism. However, Christianity’s reach and influence
and regions are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Mindanao today is spreading. Christianity has experienced quite
(Philippines), and southern Thailand, with significant rapid growth in Vietnam in the past decade, though
minorities in most countries (particularly Burma it faces various obstacles from the government, and in
(Myanmar), Cambodia, and Vietnam). Traditionally Indonesia, approximately 9 percent of the population is
Southeast Asian Islam has lived harmoniously alongside Christian. In Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, Christians
the region’s other large religions and indigenous belief are present primarily among minority ethnic groups,
systems, in many cases together with local traditions though Christian missionaries and development workers
and customs. Recent tensions within specific com- are widespread in Buddhist majority areas as well, often
munities are seen to result largely from the influence of offering education and other social services. In Cambodia,
strains of Islam from the Middle East. These contrast many faith-inspired organizations are Christian and
with traditional practices and beliefs. The tensions involved in a wide range of activities including education
are not easily measured or mapped, but are discussed and health. Large Christian organizations include: World
within policy and operational circles. Vision, Jesuit Relief Service, Adventist Development
and Relief Agency, Caritas, and Cordaid. South Korean
In predominantly Muslim countries, Muslim organi- churches are particularly active in sending missionaries
zations are an integral component of the social and (primarily Protestant) across Southeast Asia.

Hinduism (Myanmar), for instance, a pantheon of nats, animist
Millions of people throughout Southeast Asia practice spirits of people who died violent deaths, was formal-
Hinduism, the highest concentration being in Bali, ized in the middle of the eleventh century by King
Indonesia. Spreading from India in the first century, Anawrahta of Bagan, after he unsuccessfully tried
Hinduism has left an indelible cultural and religious to enforce a ban on nat worship. There is, however,
heritage in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and much variation in the degree to which animism and
Burma (Myanmar). While many of the original religious other indigenous beliefs have or have not been insti-
practices have faded as other religions were introduced, tutionalized. Shamanism sometimes plays a role in
Hindu art, architecture, and traditions are still impor- the indigenous religious practices of Southeast Asia,
tant today and permeate local culture in many aspects.8 for example the Malaysian bomohs, whose traditional
healing practices are to varying degrees integrated into
Hinduism first spread to Indonesia through coloniza- Islam. Animists living in Burma (Myanmar), Laos,
tion, trade, and intermarriage. Throughout the 1800s and Vietnam often face additional antagonism from
Dutch colonial policy brought India and Bali under the the state since they are more likely to belong to ethnic
same rule and later aimed to protect Balinese Hinduism minority groups that the government associates with
by limiting Christian and Islamic proselytization. 9 “subversive” political activity. In Indonesia, traditional
Today, Hindus account for about 90 percent of the and animist beliefs are prohibited by law, and adher-
total population in Bali, compared to about 9 percent ents have reported discrimination.
in Indonesia as a whole.
Local beliefs and superstitions present in rural areas
Cambodia is home to Angkor Wat, the world’s largest influence communities’ views on modern develop-

Hindu temple, as the Angkor kings promoted Hindu ment, at times presenting challenges for faith-inspired
sects in the 8th century. Although less than one percent organizations.
of Cambodia’s population is Hindu today, the histori-

cally peaceful coexistence of Hinduism and Mahayana
Faith-Inspired Organizations


Buddhism has ensured a lasting Hindu influence on
beliefs, rituals, and practices in the country. Bour with Transnational Mandates
Kry, the Supreme Patriarch of the (Buddhist) Dharma Transnational development work by faith-inspired
Yuttikanikaya Order observed in February 2009 that organizations from all of the major religions is signifi-
“Buddhism is the national religion of Cambodia, but cant across Southeast Asia. Many of these organizations
Hinduism is the traditional culture of Cambodia.”10 have strong ties in wealthier countries, especially those
in the region.
Indigenous Beliefs
Indigenous beliefs are widely practiced throughout Japan, Australia, Korea, and Taiwan have active faith-
Southeast Asia, often in conjunction with other faiths, inspired development and relief organizations. From
especially at the local level. They blend with larger reli- Japan, several Buddhist organizations, notably Soka
gions, often creating a unique national religious charac- Gakkai and Rissho Kosei-kai, have significant interna-
ter reflecting each country’s distinct history and culture. tional programs. Both organizations collaborate between
Indigenous belief systems tend to be more common and across faiths and with the United Nations and other
and “pure” in rural areas, particularly evident in local international organizations with the explicit aim of pro-
ceremonies and traditions. Southeast Asian indigenous moting a harmonious society. Taiwan’s many Buddhist
beliefs are generally animist in nature, involving the organizations do social development work with inter-
worship of spirits that inhabit many different living national mandates, some of the largest being Tzu-Chi,
organisms, places, and objects. Fo Guang Shan, Dharma Drum Mountain, and Chung
Tai Shan. Australia’s largest transnational faith-inspired
In the cosmologies of Southeast Asian animism, organization is World Vision Australia, the largest
there are often different strata of spirits that have Christian non-governmental organization operating in
access to or inhabit different ethereal levels. In Burma the Asia Pacific region. Korea draws on its Buddhist and

Christian roots in its overseas development work. Religion Organization
Christian Caritas Internationalis
Numerous other primarily Western based interna- Catholic Relief Services
tional faith-inspired organizations are active across Christian Aid
Southeast Asia. Large organizations include World Adventist Development and Relief
Vision (USA and Europe), Muslim Aid, Catholic Agency (ADRA)
Relief Services, Islamic Relief, American Jewish World World Vision
Service, and Jesuit Refugee Service. These organiza- Jesuit Refugee Services
tions commonly work through partnerships with World Council of Churches
local faith-inspired organizations and institutions, Lutheran World Relief
increasing transnational and national networks of Norwegian Church Aid

development practitioners and building local capacity. Habitat for Humanity

The Asian tsunami of 2004, the largest humanitarian Salvation Army
emergency of our time (possibly alongside the January Buddhist Tzu Chi
2010 Haiti earthquake), saw the mobilization of Dharma Drum Mountain
organizations from around the world. Many interfaith Guang Shan
initiatives, for example the partnership between World
Chung Tai Shan
Vision and Muhammadiyah in Indonesia, grew out
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
of the tsunami response. The tsunami also brought
Buddhist AIDS Project
to light the difficulties of coordination among faith-
Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Founda-
inspired actors, raising the question as to how local tion
and transnational organizations should best collabo- Soka Gakkai
rate amid catastrophes. Is decentralization the ideal The Buddhist NGO Network of Japan
route, or should a central coordinating body manage (BNN)

and oversee development and relief efforts? Thai Rissho Friendship Foundation

Rissho Kosei-kai
Transnational faith-inspired organizations often have Arigato Foundation
larger operating budgets than their national counter- Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA)
parts (though this is not always the case) and many International Network of Engaged
employees that form a worldwide network of offices. Buddhists (INEB)
They are instrumental in rapid response to complex Muslim Muslim Aid
humanitarian emergencies following natural disasters Islamic Relief
or conflict. Most of these organizations work with Baha’i Baha’i International Community
populations whose faith-beliefs differ from their own Interfaith Coordinating Group for Religion and
and strive to provide aid and assistance regardless of Society (CGRS)

religious orientation. Council for a Parliament of the

World’s Religions
World Conference of Religions for
Major Faith-Inspired Peace
Organizations American Jewish World Service
American Jewish Joint Distribution
Major world faiths with a presence in Southeast Asia are Committee
engaged in social development work on varying scales.
Faith-inspired organizations are based both in Asia itself largest and most recognized organizations working in
and abroad, many with headquarters in the USA and the region. Organizations in the list were chosen based
Europe. These organizations are working nationally, on their range of activities in one or more countries
regionally, and independently, as well as collaborating in Southeast Asia. More comprehensive country lists,
across faiths and with secular development agencies including local organizations, can be found on the
and governments. The following chart, lists some of the Berkley Center website.11

Part 2
Sector Focus and Emerging Trends
and Policy Questions

Peace and Conflict Resolution Beyond “traditional” conflicts, religion may also enter

eligion plays a visible yet often ambiguous into other, broader social and economic dynamics,
role in the multiple and very different conflict which contribute to social tension. Notable are the
situations across Southeast Asia. These con- potential and actual tensions linked to climate change
flicts range from armed disputes and terrorist threats that introduce new forms of dislocation or social com-
to simmering social tensions and communities where petition (for example land and water disputes and cli-
high crime rates and other factors produce insecurity. mate driven refugees), competition over water resources
Under virtually all circumstances, how religious beliefs more broadly, and migration.
contribute to conflict situations is complex and con-
tentious. Some ascribe conflicts to intrinsic tensions Looking beyond religion as a cause or fuel for tension,

that give rise to inter- or intra-faith conflict, others see religious institutions, communities, and leaders can
incitement or encouragement by religious leaders, while and do play central, often critical, roles in conflict
still others see religion as a proxy for tensions that have resolution. The terms “peacemaking” and “peacebuild-

other roots. Religion is almost always one among many ing” apply to a wide range of work. Agreement on the


sources of tension, and perceptions of religion’s role range of activities that these terms include vary, but
vary by actor and over time. As an example, religious examples are religious leader participation in formal and
heritage linked to historical memories and the politics informal peace negotiations (as has been the case in the
of identity clearly can infuse or exacerbate conflicts Philippines), humanitarian aid during conflicts (espe-
which also have political and economic dimensions. cially work with refugees), support during resettlement,
Religion, culture, and ethnicity overlap in shaping atti- support for trauma healing and victims, and serving as
tudes towards violence and the position of “the other.” a witness to both atrocities and heroic actions. These
This complexity helps to explain the lack of consensus activities form the backbone and often raison d’être of a
on religion as a cause or fuel for conflicts worldwide,12 wide range of faith-inspired organizations.
and, thus, for Southeast Asia.
Information about the roles of faith-inspired organiza-
That said, many ascribe religious elements, inter alia, tions in all these areas is partial and scattered. However,
to several Southeast Asian conflicts, notably those faith-inspired actors are undeniably engaged in virtually
involving Mindanao (Philippines), Southern Thailand, all contemporary conflict situations in the region in dif-
Aceh and Sulawesi (Indonesia), Malaysia, and Burma ferent capacities, at the international, national, regional,
(Myanmar). More specifically, the rise of more funda- and grassroots levels.
mentalist interpretations and tendencies within some
Muslim communities, including in Southeast Asia, has In the Southeast Asia review, faith-inspired contributions
raised societal tensions. Some well-known instances at the grassroots level emerge as an area of particular inter-
of terrorist acts where the perpetrators say that their est. The historical and almost universal presence of faith
motives are religious are a mounting concern with institutions as centers of social and economic life in most
global implications. communities, especially in rural areas, often has earned
for them a level of trust that is typically not associated

with government or secular agencies. Historically, faith- initiatives appear to be making significant headway.
inspired actors have been effective in mobilizing public
support for peace (for example in Cambodia with the Religious extremism is in many respects a distinct topic,
Buddhist-led peace marches and Soka Gakkai’s advocacy but it is related to the development agenda because
for nuclear disarmament), facilitating dialogue across of significant, albeit complex, links between develop-
warring sides, providing refugee assistance and trauma ment and instability. More extreme segments of most
care, and voicing opposition to oppression. The growing faith traditions draw on popular anger about perceived
set of activities under the heading of “peacebuilding” social injustice and group exclusion. Change and crisis,
focus particularly on peace education, reconciliation, and social and economic, often spark tensions. The reality
trauma healing, as well as broad community develop- and perception of corruption is increasingly a platform
ment, and are particularly marked in Cambodia, in the for political mobilization (witness Indonesia in 1998,

wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Philippines, Thailand). Poor governance and corruption,
combined with actions targeted at specific groups, may
Most of the large international faith-inspired organiza- blur the lines between tendencies that truly represent a
tions work in the major conflict zones in Southeast Asia, distortion of religious teachings towards an extreme and
including: World Conference of Religions for Peace, more dubious labeling and marginalizing of a group as
Parliament of the World’s Religions, United Religions extremist. A vicious cycle can result, with the so-labeled
Initiative (all of which have regional bodies working to group increasingly resentful of their treatment. Increased
promote interfaith dialogue), Catholic Relief Services, transnational exchange and influence within faiths (an
World Vision, Muslim Aid, Islamic Relief, American example being educational exchange between the Arab
Jewish World Service, Caritas, Soka Gakkai, and Jesuit world and Southeast Asian Muslims—contributing to
Refugee Service. Their programs vary widely and what some term “Arabization” of Southeast Asian Islam)
include humanitarian assistance, interfaith dialogue, has put pressure on the historical character of Southeast
and long-term development assistance and capacity Asian faiths, which have incorporated many elements

building. More significant is the substantial overlap of different traditions and have prided themselves on

among different categories of work. Thus massive work living side by side. The result is a perception of mount-
in Aceh in which many of these organizations par- ing tensions both within and between faiths. The role
ticipated following the 2004 tsunami combined post- of inequalities has a complex interplay with violence,
conflict work, including reconciliation work with very undermining the stability and physical security which
practical rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed by the are preconditions for successful social progress. Again,
tsunami, and long-term development planning. These faith institutions, communities, and leaders in ongoing
transnational organizations often work in partnership dialogue about development directions and issues can
with local churches, mosques, temples, NGOs, and play important roles.
other faith-inspired and secular organizations.
The review highlights the widely held view that the
National and local level faith-inspired organizations potential for working with and through on-the-ground
range in influence and activity, depending on the coun- networks of faith-inspired organizations is only partially
try context. Indonesia is a special case, with the large developed, particularly in reaching rural areas. Their
and experienced Muslim organizations Muhammadiyah contributions have particular importance in fragile
and Nahdlatul Ulama carrying significant influence states and communities. There, they often provide the
with their combined 70 million members. Their con- little education and health care that is available and
flict work is closely tied to other activities, like educa- have extraordinary knowledge of local circumstances,
tion and community support. In Mindanao, where fears, and aspirations.
conflict involves a predominantly Muslim minority in
a majority Catholic nation, interfaith dialogue spans Health
the government, religious leaders, local NGOs, and The lower income countries in Southeast Asia face a
civil society, and garners attention at the national level. significant array of health issues, and faith-inspired
While actual outcomes are difficult to measure, the organizations are involved in various ways. The gap

between the mounting demand for care and that read- tions have contributed to several of the region’s success-
ily available to the most vulnerable and marginalized ful family planning programs.
groups is increasingly apparent. Major health challenges
include HIV/AIDS, polio, malaria, and tuberculosis, as Pagoda-based care and monk engagement in health care
well as general care for common illnesses and maternal has historically been active throughout Buddhist societ-
and child health. While it is increasingly appreciated ies in Asia, with examples found today in the Mekong
within international health circles that faith-inspired region, though limited mapping and coordination
organizations provide significant health services, data for makes it difficult to know the true scope, impact, and
Southeast Asia that would answer questions about how role. Monks are working directly with international
much are not available. The missing knowledge about organizations; an example is the UNICEF supported
quantity, quality, and reach of faith-run health services Buddhist Leadership Initiative, engaging monks in the
makes it difficult to engage these actors in both policy Mekong region in HIV prevention.14 National Buddhist
discussions and programming for priority interventions NGOs have developed to engage monks in health
for poorly served populations. What emerges from this imperatives, inter alia, the Sangha Metta Project (active
preliminary review is both a significant continuing in Thailand, Laos, Burma [Myanmar], Cambodia,
health agenda among the major faiths (for example the Southern China, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Bhutan) and
Buddhist focus on meditation as a foundation for overall Buddhism for Development in Cambodia, which work
spiritual, mental, and physical health) and a wide array with monks and nuns, teaching about HIV/AIDS and
of specific health interventions that are part of the com- how to avoid high-risk behavior, working specifically at
munity and national programs of faith-inspired organi- the community level. Indigenous healers continue to
zations (for example numerous HIV/AIDS programs, play a role as well, particularly at the rural community

major facilities like the Sihanouk Hospital Center for level, where indigenous faith beliefs remain prevalent
Hope in Cambodia,13 and specific interventions like the and are syncretic with the larger religious traditions.
neo-natal resuscitation and wheelchair programs run by

the Church of Latter Day Saints). Education


Faith-inspired organizations play significant if hard to
Health challenges differ significantly by country and measure roles in education across much of Southeast
region across Southeast Asia, for example in the impact Asia. All of the major faiths offer education through
of epidemic diseases. Region-wide health imperatives different types of institutions and in very different
also are significant—witness the SARS and H1N1 crises. forms; the content of education varies from essentially
Human trafficking, the active sex industry, urbanization, secular-style instruction following government man-
migration, natural disasters, and conflict all contribute dated curriculum, to complete religious instruction,
to health concerns. Coordination, cooperation, and with numerous points in between. While it is generally
partnership arrangements among faith-inspired orga- appreciated at the international level that faith-inspired
nizations and governments, NGOs, and international organizations are significant actors in the education sec-
organizations vary significantly by country. tor and should be more engaged at the policy level, data
on the range and scope of their involvement (as is the
Faith-inspired organizations have been most visible in case with most sectors where faith-inspired organiza-
some public health campaigns and in the response to tions work), is difficult to come by, as reliable coordina-
HIV/AIDS. Their services are particularly important tion or mapping mechanisms are limited. Furthermore,
in rural areas, where education and basic services are the education landscape and challenges differ substan-
limited (notable examples exist in Cambodia, Laos, and tially by country, making blanket policy generalizations
Thailand), and in devout religious societies, where trust about faith-inspired education rather perilous. Despite
of the government may be weak. In such situations, these challenges, this preliminary review found numer-
faith-inspired leaders have collaborated with the gov- ous examples where faith-inspired run education plays
ernment (as has been the case in Indonesia) to promote important roles, especially in filling gaps where the
health initiatives and clarify misunderstandings among government is unable or has failed to provide adequate
their faith-group adherents. Faith-inspired organiza- education to its population.

Faith-inspired organization run education is historically concern and challenge surrounding Christian educa-
perceived as reaching out to the poor and marginalized tion, where Christian schools operate in non-Christian
in society, though recent discussions surrounding this majority locations and enroll non-Christian students,
review highlight that many of these schools are increas- who are often educated in Christian ethics and moral
ingly forced to charge fees. The range of educational beliefs. Many children in orphanages are not techni-
institutions varies, including boarding schools, uni- cally orphans but are sent by their parents to receive an
versities, orphanages, trade schools, and primary and education, raising similar questions.
secondary schools. In Buddhist societies pagoda-based
education was the historic center for education and An important phenomenon in Southeast Asia is trans-
remains important today in many areas, particularly national education and educational exchange. This
in rural areas, though the content, quality, and scope applies to secular and faith institutions, but there is

of education vary widely and is largely unmeasured a special spotlight on Islamic education. Funds from
and not publicized. Buddhist universities are found in the Arab world support Islamic boarding schools,
several countries in Southeast Asia, perhaps the most some teaching a stricter version of Islam than has been
prolific in Thailand. traditionally present. Some students travel to study in,
among others, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia.
Islamic education, generally, tends to be better docu- This trend has raised concerns about fundamentalist
mented and more centralized than Buddhist education. education and its effect on traditional societies and
Islamic faith-inspired education is well established (par- cultures that have lived in harmony for many centuries.
ticularly in Indonesia and Malaysia) and in many cases It is closely related to challenges and rising global social
is recognized by the government as a parallel system to tensions facing Islamic madrasahs and the content of
public education at the primary, secondary, and univer- their education.
sity levels. It is, however, undergoing substantial change,
with both stricter forms of Islam (with influence from A challenge facing schools of all faith beliefs is a lack of

the Arab world) affecting in some cases the character of rigorous evaluation of the quality of instruction.

education and the religious and political perspectives

of students, and increased government involvement Human Trafficking
in faith-inspired education institutions (particularly in Southeast Asia is a region of special concern to the com-
Malaysia). The most extensive system of Islamic schools munity fighting contemporary human trafficking. The
is in Indonesia, where Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul region is an origin, destination, and transit region for
Ulama report that they reach over one million students trafficked persons. Trafficking takes many forms. Best
at all levels of education. In Thailand as well, the known is for sexual exploitation, but different forms of
Ministry of Education supports Islamic (and Buddhist) bonded labor are also important. Most, though not all
education outside of the national government system, those involved, are minors.15 The effects of human traf-
reaching over a half million students. Islamic boarding ficking are wide-ranging, both for society as a whole and
schools at the primary and secondary level (known as for the individual trafficked. A host of socio-economic
pesantren [Indonesia], pondok [Malaysia and southern factors lead families to sell or traffic minors, or individu-
Thailand], and madrasah) are found in most Muslim als to choose voluntarily a path that puts them at risk
majority regions and play a central role in education in of trafficking; these include poverty, natural disasters,
Muslim societies. corruption, gender inequality, impunity, increased tour-
ism, migration, and social marginalization. Estimates of
Christian schools in Southeast Asia are widespread the number of trafficked persons in Southeast Asia vary
(though mapping is limited) and run by myriad significantly, but most agree only a small share of those
organizations, both national and from abroad. They affected are currently reached by aid organizations.
attract local students of different faiths, as they are
often perceived as providing a higher quality education A quite wide spectrum of organizations with faith
compared to the government system, and some operate links have come to play significant roles in the global
free of charge. Proselytization is, however, a nagging effort to combat human trafficking. They are active

at local, national, and international levels and their opinions and norms. Each country and local context,
work takes many forms, including quiet compassion- though similarities exist, is unique, with differing faith
ate support of victims (including livelihood training, beliefs and historical contexts shaping how and to what
economic opportunity, shelters, trauma counseling, extent religion and faith-inspired organizations engage
and shelter), efforts within “sending” communities and shape views on human trafficking. In Cambodia for
to combat the factors that lead women especially to example, the Khmer Rouge largely wiped out Buddhist
leave their homes, advocacy on human rights grounds influence on society, undermining the role of the fam-
for governmental and intergovernmental action, and ily unit and respect for elders, both of which can affect
work within legal frameworks to bring perpetrators to responses to human trafficking.16 In Muslim societies
justice and change legal systems. Those most actively as well, cultural emphasis on purity and virginity, for
involved, many though not all with faith links, example, can affect people’s views on those who have
describe their work as driven by compassion for the worked in the sex industry, regardless of the circum-
victims, especially young girls involuntarily trafficked stances that brought them there.
and trapped in virtual slavery. It is also more broadly
driven by efforts to change the underlying systems at Work by faith-inspired organizations on human traffick-
work, in the interests of social justice. This work has ing, as a phenomenon and in its response, has political
brought about surprising and often very constructive dimensions at the national, regional, and international
alliances among institutions across quite distinct polit- levels. Human trafficking is a transnational issue that
ical spectrums (described by Allen Hertzke in Freeing crosses national and regional boundaries in Southeast
God’s Children). It has also at times given rise to con- Asia, creating opportunities for increased cooperation,
troversies, because there are disagreements among dif- as well as generating a host of sensitive debates.

ferent groups about the most appropriate and effective
ways to combat the problems of trafficking. Human trafficking as a transnational issue has par-
ticular significance in Southeast Asia and requires more

A 2010 report of the United Nations Global Initiative effective cooperation. Expanding communications


to Fight Human Trafficking suggests that the enor- technologies and increasing transnational religious
mous potential role faith-inspired organizations links, alongside active involvement of religious lob-
can play at the local, national, regional, and global bies in some countries (especially the United States),
levels should be harnessed more effectively. Overall underpin common activism around trafficking.17 The
data on levels of engagement, however, are hard to vitality, resourcefulness, reach of American Christian
come by. The United Nations Inter-Agency Project church networks in particular, and growing church
on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong sub- membership in some countries ensures publicity and
region (UNIAP) has facilitated a consultative process support on key issues including human trafficking, at
called COMMIT that works specifically on coopera- an international level.18 International Justice Mission,
tion across borders, between countries with at times an American faith-inspired legal NGO, has brought
contentious relationships to strengthen a regional intense international attention to brothels in Cambodia
response to trafficking. through its highly publicized raids alongside Cambodia
police; however, some groups are concerned that its
Local cultural norms, informed by religious beliefs in “cowboy” style and focus on political visibility may
many cases, contribute to the societal response to vic- undermine broader efforts.19 The mix of on the ground
tims of trafficking, particularly in cases of sexual exploi- efforts to work with communities and individuals and
tation and abuse. The response often involves differing high visibility international advocacy offer an example
levels of social stigmatization, prompting some victims of both the strengths of faith-inspired work, which
not to identify themselves to aid organizations, or creat- brings out the moral dimensions and builds on faith
ing increased hardship surrounding their assimilation communications assets and networks, and of some of
back into society. Gender roles also play a significant the pitfalls. The latter include the fragmentation of
role in victim response; faith-inspired organizations efforts and lack of coherent reflection and consensus on
can be instrumental in helping to shape constructive strategic approaches.

Environment and Natural Disasters ment projects. In Indonesia, the Philippines, and
Southeast Asia has one of the most fragile and diverse Burma (Myanmar) in particular, faith-inspired actors
natural habitats in the world. It is vulnerable to the are particularly active in the response to natural disas-
effects of climate change and natural disasters, prone ters and climate change issues, with numerous examples
to frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, and mud- of cooperation between international organizations,
slides, as well as rising sea levels. The region has only 3 governments, and local faith-institutions. Large organi-
percent of the world’s land area, but contains 80 percent zations including World Vision Australia and Muslim
of the world’s biological diversity. Its long coastline is Aid are engaged in government level advocacy, stressing
home to millions who are at risk from frequent severe the importance of a systematic and concerted climate
weather and the adverse effects of climate change. Rapid change response, noting that the effects of climate
industrialization and agricultural expansion, along with change have ramifications not only on the region’s

resulting population shifts, all put considerable pressure developing countries but on developed countries as
on the already fragile environment. Many faith-inspired well—climate induced migration being one example
organizations have taken up the cause, both as advo- among many.
cates and activists. Their efforts remain rather decentral-
ized and largely unmeasured, so that consistent policy Faith-inspired development practitioners point to the
level engagement is a challenge. Nonetheless, a number environment and climate change as topics of general
of experiences highlight direct and constructive engage- consensus and shared commitment, with potential for
ment between faith-inspired organizations and govern- increased interfaith collaboration. International inter-
ment/secular actors. faith conferences have involved faith-inspired develop-
ment practitioners from across Southeast Asia; a recent
While in many ways faith-inspired organizations are an interfaith climate manifesto in Sweden and numerous
integral and largely indistinguishable part of the region’s programs during the December 2009 Parliament of
civil society in terms of stance on environmental issues, World Religions in Melbourne, Australia, are two

they can and often do bring special perspectives tied to notable examples.

both spiritual teachings and their lived experience. To

cite an example, Buddhist leaders speak forcefully and Governance and Transparency
often to great effect about the importance of respect for Southeast Asia, like every world region, confronts a
nature and harmony within the ecosystem, and about wide range of governance challenges. Some challenges
harming it as something that should be prevented. are general to contemporary law and administration
and the evolving role of the state, while some are
Faith-inspired organizations, both in their operational imbued with the history and culture of each country
roles and speaking to their spiritual traditions, are and, to a degree, the region overall. Religion and cul-
increasingly active in voicing concerns about environ- ture enter, through various paths, into both the overall
mental degradation and climate change, including governance climate (for example in shaping community
advocacy, disaster relief, and long-term mitigation. values) and into some specific debates. As illustra-
Long-standing programs of the Alliance of Religions tions, the current Thai crisis involves questions about
for Conservation (ARC) include workshops, revival the Buddhist heritage in Thailand and its links to the
of ancient teachings (as in Mongolia), and train- authority of the monarchy; in Indonesia and Malaysia,
ing. Socially engaged Buddhist organizations engage Muslim ideals influence laws and approaches to gover-
through individual monks working to preserve the nance; and in the Philippines Catholic leaders are vocal
forest through advocacy work, for example informa- in urging public participation. With increased access
tion campaigns, and “ordination” of individual trees to to communications technology, religion is tending to
symbolize their sacred character. be a more visible part of the public discourse,20 though
its influence and reach vary widely depending on the
An area of intense activity is disaster response, and, context. Generally, faith-engagement on development
from there, advocacy and work to mitigate the adverse policy for good governance remains a sensitive topic
effects of climate change and unsustainable develop- in many countries, particularly when it moves towards

advocacy, though there are numerous examples where better governance and may support the status quo.21
organizations are strong and effective advocates even in
the face of government opposition and repression. Faith actors are, nonetheless, engaged in governance
issues through a wide range of often complex relation-
While some faith leaders would like to see religions in ships. Religious communities and networks are tightly
a vanguard in advocating for good governance, espe- restricted and monitored in some countries, limiting
cially promoting honesty and focus on the poor and their formal capacity to influence governance norms
excluded, in practice their roles and record are mixed. policies. In Burma (Myanmar) for example, the ruling
Close relationships with governments in some instances military junta retains tight control and influence over the
dampen criticism and advocacy, while effective partner- Buddhist sangha. In Cambodia, where corruption and
ships to bring tangible improvements in governance are lack of transparency are widely acknowledged as chal-
fairly rare. Mixed attitudes of governments towards civil lenges at all levels of government, some faith-inspired
society roles color the way in which relationships with organizations quietly promote good governance, but,
faith-inspired groups akin to NGOs tend to evolve. as advocacy arouses government suspicion, activities are
Groups that enjoy tacit support of the government, the often not publicized. In Indonesia faith-inspired orga-
sangha-oriented Buddhist organizations in Thailand for nizations are more visible and active players on issues
example, are often less involved in working actively for at the center of public policy debates. There are active

Box 1

Filipino Catholic Church Fights for Good Governance and Against Corruption

In the run-up to the 2010 presidential elections in the political life. The Archbishop emphasized the need for
Philippines, the Catholic Church, along with other strong values in governance, and the malice of cor-

Christian and civil society organizations, urged their ruption in society. On his blog, he writes that “Graft


constituents to push for good governance and trans- and Corruption is an evil that affects many levels and
parency. On May 10, 2010, as a reported 75 percent of areas of life. Graft and corruption is a sin that cries to
the eligible 50 million Filipinos voted for a new presi- heaven especially if it is committed against the poor
dent, vice-president, senators, law-makers, and public people, like poor drivers,” and that “Leadership in gov-
officials, Catholics stated publicly that they are con- ernance starts with leaders as citizens. Responsible
cerned about issues of governance and corruption. citizens produce good leaders, good leaders produce
According to Transparency International’s 2009 cor- good citizens.”
ruption perception index, the Philippines ranks rela-
Ateneo University, home of the largest Jesuit commu-
tively low (139/182) on a ranking of the world’s most
nity in the Philippines, held a World Bank sponsored
corrupt countries.
conference on good governance from November 4 to
On May 5, 2009 at a good governance summit in 6,2009. The conference focused on: how local govern-
Makati City, Angel Lagdameo, archbishop of Jaro and ment officials have successfully empowered their con-
president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the stituents; how they have partnered with civil society
Philippines, spoke about the need to reshape Philippine organizations for better public service delivery and
society to promote a common good. Governance, protection of disadvantaged groups; how they have
he said, should be anchored in grassroots economic enhanced transparency and social accountability; and
empowerment, strengthened by an effective political how all these were used to make growth work for the
system where accountability and the rule of law pre- poor. These efforts represent important faith-inspired
vail, and nourished by a system where Filipinos pro- approaches to promoting good governance, as well as
actively and responsibly participate in the mainstream collaboration with secular development actors.


Islamic political parties ranging from those advocating
an Islamic state, to those that aim to infuse democracy
with Islamic values. The largest religious organizations,
Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have initiatives
that are explicitly designed to promote good governance
and government accountability.

The roles of faith-inspired communities and organiza-

tions in pressing for and supporting political reforms
also varies widely, by faith or community within faith
traditions, at different moments in time, and by coun-

try. There are cases where religiously labeled and led

political parties are pivotal actors. Of particular interest
are the roles that religious institutions and communities
play in working for peace. Positive examples include
Buddhist movements working largely through peace-
ful social protest and criticism in both Thailand and
Cambodia, and the Catholic peacebuilding movement
in Philippines.

Faith-inspired organizations themselves acknowledge

many challenges within their own institutions in terms
of transparency, accountability, and efficient and honest
administration. Capacity weaknesses and a lack of well

adapted systems are partly responsible.


Part 3
Country Case Studies

he following sections examine in greater detail interpretation of the Qur’an while embracing modern
the involvement of faith-inspired organizations learning and concepts; and “traditionalists,” who adhere
in Southeast Asia. Local realties and contexts to strict scriptural interpretations (though some partici-
have a strong influence on the range and scope of their pants at the December 2009 consultation in Cambodia
activities, while political and historical particularities suggested that the distinction between the two strains is
shape the environment in which faith-inspired orga- steadily diminishing).
nizations operate. The country sections summarize
information on the country contexts where faith- Islam first arrived in Indonesia during the 11th cen-
inspired organization operate, the challenges they face, tury, part of a pattern of increasing trade. By the 16th
and specific examples of faith-inspired organizations century, it was established as the dominant religion

that are working independently, across faiths, with practiced by most of the population with the notable
secular organizations, and with governments. The lists exception of the island of Bali. There, Hindus remain a
of organizations are far from exhaustive, as the number majority to this day.

of faith-inspired organizations involved in development


work is vast. The number working in the region is eas- It was during the 16th century that European traders
ily in the thousands. Those organizations listed are the first came to the archipelago in search of spices. The
most well known and active, as well as smaller organiza- Dutch established the Dutch East India Company, and
tions known to be making a substantial difference in the when the company went bankrupt, the Netherlands
communities where they work. formally established the Colony of the Dutch East
Indies in 1800, maintaining control until World War
II. During World War II, the Japanese invaded and later
Indonesia occupied Indonesia, ending Dutch rule but continuing
Historical Overview foreign occupation.
The world’s fourth most populous, third largest democ-
racy, and the country with the largest Muslim popula- After the Allied victory in 1945, the nationalist
tion, Indonesia is comprised of 13,700 islands, strung leader Sukarno (born Kusno Sosrodihardjo) declared
across 5,000 kilometers. Of its roughly 245 million, independence and was appointed president, despite
largely rural population, approximately 88 percent the Netherlands’ attempt to regain control of the
are Muslim, 6 percent Protestant, 3 percent Roman country. Seeking to incorporate elements of Marxism,
Catholic, and 2 percent Hindu, with about one percent Indonesian nationalism, and Islam into the newly
a wide range of other faiths (Buddhist, traditional independent state, Sukarno established the unique “five
indigenous religions, Jewish, and other Christian).22 principles” of Pancasila: 1) belief in one supreme God;
2) humanitarianism; 3) nationalism expressed in the
Most Indonesian Muslims practice Sunni Islam, with a unity of Indonesia; 4) consultative democracy; and 5)
Shia population of between one and three million. The social justice. To balance different political factions, he
country’s Muslim population divides roughly along two implemented an ideology dubbed “guided democracy”
differing strains: “modernists,” who emphasize personal along with martial law.

The then-head of the army, General Suharto, with cities have passed legislation restricting the rights of
the support of the United States ousted Sukarno and women and certain religious minorities. The Jakarta
became president in 1968. This ushered in an authori- government granted this right after a struggle with
tarian New Order government. During his tenure, the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), shortly
Indonesia underwent an era of economic growth; how- after the devastating tsunami in 2004. Local legislators
ever, the Asian Financial Crisis had devastating effects and large parts of the population, however, oppose
on Indonesia’s economy in 1997, and Suharto resigned many of the laws derived from strict interpretations of
in 1998. Indonesia has moved quite steadily towards Sharia and elected more moderate Muslim legislators to
more democratic systems since then. In 2004, Susilo office in 2009.26
Bambang Yudhoyono became Indonesia’s first directly
elected president. Development Challenges

Indonesia has made significant strides in development,

Religion and Government particularly in overall economic growth, and clearly falls
Indonesia’s constitution states that “the nation is based within the lower middle income category of nations
upon belief in one supreme God,” while at the same time, today. It does, however, still face multiple development
it accords “all persons the right to worship according to challenges. In 2007 almost half of the country’s popu-
their own religion or belief.” Generally, the government lation lived below or only slightly above the national
does recognize this right, although religious minorities, poverty line. Development has been uneven across
notably Christian minorities, have faced discrimina- Indonesia’s geographic regions. Indonesia has relatively
tion. Officially, the government recognizes only six low health and infrastructure development indica-
religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, tors, among others; its Human Development index is
Hinduism, and Confucianism. The notable exceptions to 0.734, ranking 111 out of 182 countries measured.27
the freedom of religion are traditionalist and animist reli- The World Bank highlights that in addition to limits
gions of Indonesia, which are explicitly forbidden. The imposed by financial resources, Indonesia is hampered

government requires all citizens to note their religion on by a lack of effective procedures and accountability in

state-issued identity cards, and many localities will only institutions across most sectors.
accept one of the six recognized religions.23
In the area of education, inefficient systems as well as
Though the government is officially secular, Muslim inadequacies in teacher qualifications, effective teach-
religious leaders, notably the Council of Indonesian ing methods, school management, and community
Ulama (MUI),24 are given due notice by the govern- involvement have all adversely affected the quality
ment when drafting legislation and formulating policy. of basic education (despite a generally impressive 94
Following the 2002 nightclub attack in Bali and the percent enrollment rate for 7–12 year olds). 28 The
2003 and 2009 hotel bombings in Jakarta, the gov- government, with substantial international com-
ernment cracked down on hard-line Muslim groups, munity support, is investing heavily in the Ministry
instituting strict anti-terrorism laws. of Education’s Strategic Plan (RENSTRA).29 USAID
specifically provides support, especially technical assis-
Many Christians and Christian organizations report tance, to strengthen moderate madrasahs, which are
official discrimination by the government, for example particularly important to the education of girls (who
trouble registering marriages and births.25 Some reports make up a large part of madrasahs’ student bodies);
suggest that taxes are higher for building churches than these schools typically suffer from a lack of resources
they are for mosques. Proselytizing is strictly forbidden and weak capacity.30
in The Guidelines for the Propagation of Religion, and
article 156 of the criminal code describes proselytiza- Corruption in the public sector, at all levels, is
tion as “spreading hatred, heresy and blasphemy.” widely seen as a central challenge for Indonesia. The
World Bank’s National Program for Community
Aceh is the only province that can legally implement Empowerment Mandiri (PNPM), which follows from
Sharia law (non-Muslims are exempt), though other the Kecamatan Development Program begun in 1998,

is one of the largest-scale community development ant. In 1985, the New Order regime passed the Mass
schemes in the world designed to promote good gover- Organizations Law that required NGOS to file reports
nance and alleviate poverty. There is a clear recognition so that the government could monitor their activities.
that community development strategies succeed best
when done in close consultation with local religious Suharto slowly improved relations with modernist
leaders. USAID works with Muhammadiyah and Muslims and went on hajj to Mecca in 1991. Observers
Aisyiah (a major Islamic women’s social activist organi- offer a number of reasons for this warming of relations,
zation) to promote the principle of democratic plural- one being Suharto’s realization that many government
ism as an “Islamic value,”31 as part of increasing citizen policies required religious leaders’ sanction to be effec-
participation in local governance throughout Indonesia. tive. Compared to secular organizations during this time,
religious organizations often seemed able to accomplish
Health challenges include relatively high infant and more in terms of social and economic development.
under-five mortality, a high incidence of neo-natal
and reproductive health problems for women, and an Currently, the government and religious organizations
increasing rate of HIV/STD infection.32 In general, these have generally strong relations, each realizing the ben-
problems stem from lack of access to adequate health efits of the other. The government appreciates the reach
facilities, services, and information, as well as a related lack and deep roots of religious organizations in society
of capacity in the health sector. To address some of these and their ability to influence policies.34 Furthermore,
issues, Muhammadiyah has integrated HIV prevention support from religious organizations is often crucial to
and stigma reduction materials into certain curricula at successfully implementing development projects. Two
Islamic middle schools; Muhammadiyah also worked with examples highlight the importance of religious support

USAID on a community-based public health response to for public policy measures.
the outbreak of avian influenza in mid-2006.33
During the 1970s, Suharto’s New Order emphasized

Recently, the environment and climate change has birth control and family planning as integral compo-


attracted attention as a priority development challenge. nents of its development programs. With the United
Rapid industrialization has put pressure on the coun- States, the National Family Planning Coordinating
try’s extensive forests, with many large scale industries Committee took on an ambitious program. In the ini-
vying for timber, consequently displacing small farm- tial phases of the family planning campaign, Indonesia’s
ers and communities from their land. Deforestation largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU),
contributes to climate change as well, putting the island campaigned aggressively against contraception and fam-
archipelago at a heightened risk of extreme weather ily planning programs, the kyais (experts in Islam) stat-
and rising sea levels. Islamic development organiza- ing it was against the will of God. Coupled with many
tions such as Muslim Aid have advocacy programs that Indonesians distrust of the United States and fears that
promote Islamic views on the environment, though family planning was a creative way of stemming Muslim
the struggle to harmonize rapid industrialization and growth, the government was largely unsuccessful in its
sustainable development has proven arduous. campaign. It was not until NU approved of the pro-
gram that it was effectively implemented. The Ministry
The Government, Religious Institutions, of Religious Affairs worked with religious organizations
and NGOs to shape the message of family planning in a way that
Suharto’s regime discouraged both religious and secular was understandable to the Indonesian population. NU
NGOs, fearing that they would incite anti-government released a fatwa advocating “family welfare,” or kelaurga
sentiment or become too powerful (particularly those maslahah, as opposed to family planning.35
advocating agrarian reform and human rights). At the
same time, civil society and religious groups began to More recently, NU and Aisyiyah (young women’s asso-
flourish under the new title of Self-Reliance Groups, ciation within Muhammadiyah) were central to helping
though as groups began to reach out to international implement a joint Indonesian government/USAID
networks, the government became increasingly intoler- immunization program against polio. In March 2003,

polio appeared in Indonesia, largely on the island of approximately one million Muslim and non-Muslim
Madura. The four districts of Madura Island were iden- students. There are two different styles of schools in
tified by Indonesia’s National Expanded Program for the Muhammadiyah system, those primarily secular
Immunization (EPI) for support under the Millennium in curriculum, and religious pesantrens which typi-
Challenge Corporation’s Indonesia Immunization cally include religious curriculum. NU operates both
Project (MCC/IIP). MCC/IIP partnered with NU and secular and religious schools: 8,522 kindergartens,
Aisyiyah to conduct social mobilization in support of 197 elementary schools; 3,861 Islamic elementary
routine immunization. During the campaign, some schools; 378 junior high schools, 733 Islamic junior
communities expressed concerns about vaccines being high schools, 211 senior high schools; and 212 Islamic
developed using pork derivatives. Muslim elders con- senior high schools, 44 universities and 23 academies/
firmed that vaccines were halal and used Friday prayers colleges.38 NU is also indirectly involved in the major-

and Mosque loudspeakers to encourage families to ity of Indonesia’s Islamic boarding schools. With only
immunize their children.36 between 1 and 2 percent of the country’s GDP going
to education (according to USAID), the involvement of
Faith-inspired organizations have a central role in pro- both organizations is clearly crucial. In addition to their
viding education. There are about 13,000 pesantrens, heavy role in education, both house women’s groups
or Islamic boarding schools, throughout Indonesia, and youth movements and operate health clinics.
especially in rural areas. In addition to the standard
academic curriculum approved by the Ministry of Both NU and Muhammadiyah stress the importance
Education, pesantrens also provide religious education. of pluralism and religious tolerance. Prominent figures
in both organizations have worked to promote inter-
Though there are numerous examples of partnerships faith cooperation on development projects. In 2003,
and some degree of cooperation, the government main- former leader of Muhammadiyah Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif
tains tight oversight of religious organizations, including founded the Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity

non-Muslim organizations. A large number of Christian with a core mission to develop interfaith dialogue.

organizations work in Indonesia. Many provide primar- Similarly, in 2004, the late Abdurrahman Wahid,
ily disaster relief for large-scale natural disasters, but former President of Indonesia and of NU, founded
others are committed to longer-term development goals. the Wahid Institute, which among other goals aims to
Despite some religious tensions, international Christian develop dialogue between spiritual and political leaders
organizations seem able to work well in the country. in the Western world and Muslim societies.
Most collaborate with secular and Muslim groups as well
as with other Christian organizations. International Faith-Inspired
Nadlhatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah International Christian organizations implement a
Two Muslim religious organizations dominate substantial amount of overseas aid, and the majority of
the realm of social and charitable organizations in large organizations provide assistance to people irrespec-
Indonesia: Muhammadiyah, whose 30 million mem- tive of faith or creed. In addition to disaster relief and
bers are mostly modernists, and Nahdlatul Ulama, recovery, many organizations are involved in long-term
whose 40 million members are mostly traditionalists.37 healthcare and sanitation projects. Cordaid, a Dutch
Muhammadiyah’s followers are largely concentrated Catholic organization, is one of the largest and most
in the urban areas of Java, Sumatra, and outer islands active. Catholic Relief Services, in collaboration with
of Indonesia. NU members are found primarily in the Caritas, also partners with numerous local Christian,
more rural areas of Java. secular, and Muslim organizations, focusing on a range
of development issues including disaster recovery,
Both organizations have far-ranging social development microfinance development, healthcare, and women’s
programs, notably in their involvement and sponsor- rights. World Vision also has an active chapter in the
ship of educational institutions. Muhammadiyah oper- country and is actively engaged in interfaith work with
ates over 12,000 schools throughout the country, for Muslim organizations, notably with Muhammadiyah.

Islamic Relief Indonesia has a large presence, most nota- create tensions with faith-inspired and secular devel-
bly in West Sumatra on account of frequent earthquakes opment organizations, and within the communities
and other natural disasters. The disaster management themselves. It also challenges increasing collaboration
committee activates immediate responders in the disas- and coordination among faith-inspired organizations,
ters, as seen in the aftermath of earthquakes in 2009. for in some communities, development aid and relief
Muslim Aid has also done substantial work on both have become synonymous with religious missionaries.39
disaster relief and conflict related programming in Aceh.
Interfaith Cooperation and Conflict
Foreign missionaries must obtain religious worker visas, Interreligious cooperation among Muslim and
and foreign religious organizations must obtain permis- Christian NGOs has increased markedly over the past
sion from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to provide few decades with the Indonesian government recently
any type of assistance (in-kind, personnel, or financial) embracing a more receptive stance.
to local religious groups. Though proselytizing is strictly
prohibited by law, a few Christian organizations still In 2004, the government introduced the Religious
actively promote their religion within their aid pro- Harmony Bill, which outlined strict segregation of reli-
grams. In Aceh and Sumatra, for example, Christian gious communities, penalties for interreligious marriage,
missionaries have been seen handing out Bibles along and prohibitions against celebrating a religious holiday
with disaster aid and relief supplies. Such activities can or entering a house of worship that did not reflect one’s

Box 2

Women’s Rights and Faith-Inspired Organizations

In the Muslim world, Indonesia is seen as a leader in pio- Family law in Indonesia is largely governed by the

neering women’s rights, particularly through pesantrens. Sharia-based family law for Muslims, depriving women


The numbers of female kyias, scholars, and teachers of of some rights men enjoy. For example, many women
religion and the Qur’an are growing, and pesantrens are say it is difficult to refuse their husbands taking more
increasingly focused on promoting female empower- than one wife, though legally they must consent, and
ment through religious teaching. Some estimates show it is difficult to get divorced. The official State Ministry
that slightly more than half of the roughly 5.7 million of Women’s Empowerment reported in 2004 that 90
students in madrasahs are girls. Still, there is a large percent of women and 25 percent of men experienced
gender gap within the governmental school system sexual harassment in the workplace.
with girls dropping out of junior and high schools at
Many faith-inspired organizations have components
much higher rates than their male counterparts.
or projects specifically devoted to women and gender
State and national law aver that women and men have rights. Both NU and Muhammadiyah have active wom-
equal rights, obligations, and opportunities. At the en’s groups dedicated to promoting women’s rights
same time, women’s participation in development and and involvement in the community. A number of organi-
civil society must not conflict with their role in improv- zations, one being The Fahmina Institute, are devoted to
ing family welfare and education. Women throughout exploring women’s rights and issues, often through the
the country can report cases of unfair treatment, par- lens of Islam. Founded initially to explore and promote
ticularly in Aceh and other areas where Sharia law has women’s rights in pesantrens, the Fahmina Institute has
been implemented. become a large and influential organization.

Information from “Girls’ and Women’s Education in Indonesia” UNESCO Bangkok Office:

UNESCO Regional Conference on Inclusive Education: Major policy issues in the Asia-Pacific region Bali, Indonesia, 29–31
May 2008.

own religion. In response, religious organizations united Though the country still struggles with poverty, envi-
under the banner of the Advocates for Intercommunity ronmental problems, and armed conflicts that have per-
Relations and convinced community leaders to lobby the sisted for decades, civil society, including faith-inspired
Ministry of Religious Affairs to reject the bill, marking organizations, is engaged with these issues in ways that
one of the first occasions that Muslim groups not only show promise for sustainable, positive advances.
actively addressed interfaith issues in the public sphere,
but did so alongside Christian organizations. NU and Socio-Economic Background
Muhammadiyah joined the Council of Churches in The Philippines’ nearly 92 million people are
condemning the bill.40 NU has its own International approximately 81 percent Roman Catholic, 12 per-
Peace Forum, founded by Abdurrahman Wahid, who cent Christian of other denominations, and 5 percent
also founded the Wahid Institute to “seed plural and Muslim (concentrated in Mindanao). Its per capita

peaceful Islam.” As previously noted, former leader GDP is $3,300, placing it as a lower-middle income
of Muhammadiyah Ahmad Syafi Maarif founded country. GDP has fluctuated somewhat in recent years,
the Maarif Institute for the fundamental purpose of and the pace of growth is down from a high of 7.3 per-
developing interfaith dialogue. Muhammadiyah and cent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2009.
World Vision set an example of Muslim and Christian
organizations cooperating closely around development The Philippines’ main industries are electronics assem-
programs. Muhammadiyah recently built a school along bly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals,
with World Vision and posted the Muhammadiyah wood products, food processing, petroleum refining,
symbol on the school, painted with World Vision colors, and fishing, while its main exports are semiconductors
as a symbol of unity and common humanity.41 and electronic products, transport equipment, gar-
ments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut
Despite these positive developments, Muslims and oil, and fruits. The country has a very active multiparty
Christians have historically tense relations in some political system, with prominent parties including

parts of the country, notably on the island of Sulawesi Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats, Struggle of

in Maluku and North Maluku, where there have been Filipino Democrats, Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party,
cases of interethnic and religious conflict over the past Nationalist People’s Coalition, People’s Reform Party,
decade. Tensions have also flared in Bali (notably the Force of the Philippine Masses, and United Opposition.
2002 nightclub bombing in the tourist district of Kuta),
which, in contrast to the rest of Indonesia, is 90 percent Although its characteristics differ by region, poverty in
Hindu. In the face of violence, many religious groups, the Philippines is predominantly rural. Thus, it dispro-
along with the government, are taking active steps to portionately affects the more rural southern part of the
encourage interfaith harmony. The Pura Dalem Jawa country. In 2006, an estimated 33 percent of the popu-
Hindu Temple in Bunutin Village for example, in cel- lation lived below the Philippines’ poverty threshold.
ebration of centuries of both Muslim and Hindu pres- Issues that contribute to rural poverty include: inade-
ence on the island, offers space for Muslim ablutions quate expenditure on rural infrastructure (infrastructure
and has hosted numerous interfaith exchanges. represents a small portion of the Philippines’ GDP; 2.8
percent in 2002),42 a lack of high quality social services
in rural areas (for example, only 10 percent of doctors,
Philippines dentists and pharmacists, 20 percent of medical techni-
The Philippines is extraordinarily dynamic in its social, cians, and 30 percent of nurses practice in rural areas),43
cultural, and political landscape. Distinctive in its reli- inequitable land and income distribution (of those
gious demographics (particularly in the context of Asia), working in agriculture, 68 percent do not have access to
it has the world’s third largest Catholic population and land other than their residence; income inequality—the
a significant Muslim minority. After weathering two richest 10 percent have 20 times that of the poorest 10
successive colonial regimes and the repressive dictator- percent),44 and high population growth (the country’s
ship of Ferdinand Marcos from 1965 to 1986, civil projected 2009 population was 91,983,000,45 up from
society in the Philippines today is vibrant and dynamic. 48 million in 1980 and over 66 million in 1990).46

Religion in the Philippines Episcopal Church of the United States), claims 5
C a t h o l i c i s m , t h e m a j o r i t y re l i g i o n t o d a y, i s percent of the population. Many native Philippine
“Philippinized” (a term coined by historian John Leddy Protestant denominations tend to be restorationist and
Phelan), with emphasis on certain faith aspects that non-Trinitarian in outlook, such as the Iglesia ni Cristo
resonate with Philippine heritage. Latin-Catholic tradi- (Church of Christ), the largest indigenous religious
tions, such as the fiesta celebrating the day of a town’s organization in the country.47
(or barangay) patron saint are central to the culture of
many Filipinos; however, many Catholic observances Islam is the oldest non-native religion in the Philippines
are blended with native folk traditions. and was introduced to the southern islands in 1350.
Today, the majority of the Muslim population is con-
Those belonging to smaller Christian denominations centrated in the southern island of Mindanao, and most
constitute a significant proportion of the population. Muslims (or “Moros,” a term employed by Spanish
The Aglipayan Church, or Philippine Independent colonizers which Philippine Muslims now use to self-
Church (which maintains full communion with the identify) belong to ethnic minority groups.

Box 3

Mindanao: Conflict and Development

One of the foremost development challenges facing particularly high for boys. The conflict has contributed
the Philippines is the conflict in Mindanao. Throughout to an increase in internal and international human traf-

more than three decades of conflict in the province, ficking from Mindanao, as is reported by the United
more than 160,000 people have been killed, and States Department of State. Some families in rural areas
nearly 2 million have been displaced. The development who have lost land and other economic means due to

impact on society has been equally severe in areas the conflict have turned to sending their young chil-


including health, education, and economic develop- dren out of their communities to be domestic workers.
ment. According to the United Nations Development
Faith-inspired organizations have played a particularly
Program Human Development Report for 2008/2009,
central role in responding to the conflict. At the recom-
the quality of life in the conflict-affected provinces
mendation of the government and the MNLF, Davao
of Mindanao is the worst in the Philippines, and the
City Archbishop Fernando Capalla and Mahid Mutilan,
World Food Program Reports that over 50 percent of
President of the Ulama League of the Philippines,
the population lives below the national poverty line.
founded the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC) in
Health concerns include a lack of adequate healthcare 1996 to advance peace and interreligious understand-
facilities and basic amenities such as clean drinking ing between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao. To
water and are compounded by forced displacement. date, the BUC has held 35 dialogues on common con-
The stretching of health resources has been particularly cerns about the peace process in Mindanao and related
acute for the pregnant and recent mothers among the themes. The organization has issued joint statements
displaced. The conflict has contributed to difficulties calling for the government and Moro separatist orga-
in education, particularly as adolescents in conflict- nizations to work towards a constructive peace, often
affected areas leave school early to provide for their condemning specific acts of violence. The BUC has
families. The overall dropout rate for Mindanao is 23 facilitated the Imams-Priests-Pastors Dialogue, a series
percent, the highest in the Philippines. Males are more of seminars-workshops on interreligious dialogue and
disadvantaged than their female counterparts in access peaceful coexistence in communities and schools that
to education throughout the Philippines; but the situa- encourages participation in the government-sponsored
tion is even more pronounced in Mindanao, where the Mindanao Week of Peace. In 2008, President Arroyo
incidence of child labor and recruitment into gangs is asked the BUC to direct a “deep consultative ➤

Box 3 (continued)
process” to formulate a plan for enduring peace program works in the areas of interfaith dialogue, com-
in Mindanao. munity organizing, human rights and community devel-
opment advocacy, and networking for peacebuilding
Grassroots and local initiatives focusing on interfaith
and economic development. Among the specific proj-
solutions to conflict and development are widespread ects Ummah Fi Salam and SPI have undertaken jointly
and an integral component of the development strat- to address these issues have been interfaith workshops
egy in Mindanao. The range of organizations working for low-income urban community groups, support
is vast, with established local coordinating bodies rec- for impoverished Muslim families through leadership,
ognizing the intrinsic faith component to the conflict. healthcare, nutrition, education, sanitation programs,
The Mindanao coalition of NGO networks (MINCODE— interfaith community events, mass interfaith mobiliza-

comprised of 12 NGO members) is one such mecha- tions in support of access to employment and services,
nism, functioning since 1992. At the government level, and advocacy against housing demolition.
on March 16, 2010, the Philippines hosted the Special
Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Catholic Relief Services is one of the most engaged
Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development international faith-inspired organizations in addressing
(under the auspices of the United Nations), attended the conflict and its development impact. It helps fund a
by President Arroyo. At the conference, Dr. Alberto variety of activities, including: interfaith dialogue groups
Romulao, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, stated that “to (grassroots and otherwise), such as Women of Faith in
broaden participation, we must institutionalize a pro- Dialogue and the aforementioned BUC; peace educa-
gram that will recognize grassroots [interfaith] initiatives.” tion institutions and the integration of peace education
into school curricula; capacity-building through semi-
One grassroots endeavor that has made particular nars and workshops; and development programming
strides in interfaith collaboration for peace and devel- aimed at engaging Christian and Muslim communities

opment is between the Muslim organizations Ummah in projects together. Other international faith-inspired

Fi Salam (whose name means “Community for Peace”) organizations working in Mindanao include: the
and the Catholic organization Socio-Pastoral Institute Mennonite Central Committee, World Vision, Adventist
(SPI), to implement a multifaceted interfaith program Development and Relief Agency, Muslim Aid, the World
entitled “Building Darusalam (Peace Communities),” Conference of Religions for Peace, Jesuit Refugee
funded by the British organization Christian Aid. The Service, Lutheran World Relief, and Soka Gakkai.

Faith and Public Life support functions, and later some were established to
The Philippines constitution guarantees freedom of reli- oppose Spanish rule. Out of the cofradías grew the
gion, and the U.S. State Department’s 2009 Religious Propaganda Movement, led by the native intellectual van-
Freedom Report on the Philippines stated that the guard, which pursued social reforms and equal rights for
government “generally respected religious freedom in Filipinos under the Spanish colonial government. During
practice.” Religion, particularly Christianity, is regularly the time of the American colonial government, religious
invoked by government leaders and is evident in public organizations such as the Catholic Women’s Organization
monuments such as the statue of the Virgin Mary that contributed to welfare efforts, alongside secular domestic
is part of the shrine to the Epifano de los Santos Avenue organizations and American NGOs. With the rise of the
(EDSA) movement which ousted Ferdinand Marcos. communist movement in rural areas in the 1920s and
1930s, the Church sought to directly engage peasant
Most welfare organizations in the Philippines during the farmers’ social and economic plight in order to counter
colonial periods grew out of the Catholic Church and communist affiliation among this demographic. It is with
related religious orders; these, however, functioned primar- these and subsequent agricultural and economic efforts by
ily to serve the elite.48 Cofradías (religious brotherhoods) non-Catholic churches that rural development efforts truly
were established to fulfill broader social and community began in the Philippines.

Box 4

Civil Society, the Catholic Church, and Agrarian Reform

Civil society has had particular success in the Philippines Issues and the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for
in the area of agrarian reform. Working in concert with Human Development lent support to peasant organiza-
pressure exerted by reformist politicians, civil society tions on agrarian reform advocacy. In 1987 the Catholic
groups have secured the expropriation and redistribution Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP)
of contested private estates to landless and near-land- National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace
less peasants. Although the Arroyo administration has organized a “Campaign for a Genuine Agrarian Reform
not been a strong proponent of land reform, the World Program,” although the resulting Comprehensive
Bank argues that, from 1972 to 2006, the Philippines Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 produced very little new
has achieved a significant level of partial land reform. In reform and land distribution because of the influence
numerical terms, government records state that as of of large landowners in Congress. With the expiration
2006, 5.9 million hectares of private and public lands, of this law in 2008, Catholic bishops advocated for a
constituting about half of the country’s farmland, have more comprehensive and vigorous extension of the
been redistributed to 3 million rural poor households, measure. An extension passed and was signed into

about two-fifths of the agricultural population. law on August 7, 2009, and is intended to distribute
land to millions of poor farmers. The CBCP has revived
Following the Vatican II reforms in the 1960s, the a task force to monitor closely the implementation of
Catholic Church hierarchy and Church-related orga- the law to ensure that the government appropriates
nizations including the Institute on Church and Social its agreed upon budget allocation to land distribution.

The Catholic Church has also taken a role in environ- Civil society is extraordinarily active and diverse in

mental action. In 1981, in the midst of national protests, the Philippines. Organized groups in the Philippines


Basic Christian Communities (local groups that discuss fall into two legal categories: NGOs and community-
and take action on their social concerns) organized by the based organizations known as People’s Organizations
Diocese of Boac began to protest the impacts on fishing (POs); NGOs are intermediaries between POs and the
and health caused by Marcopper Mining Company’s state. The country has more NGOs per capita than any
illegal dumping of tailings into Calancan Bay. In 1988, other country in Asia, and the legal controls over the
the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines establishment and oversight of NGOs are less stringent
(CBCP) released an influential pastoral letter urging than most other East and Southeast Asian countries.
action to counter environmental degradation, and also No prior permission is required to establish an NGO,
passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the Mining and although they are subject to the oversight of the
Act of 1995. In recent years, the Catholic hierarchy (led Securities and Exchange Commission, actual supervi-
by Bishop Arturo Bastes and others) has been involved sion is limited.
in protests opposing mining operations on the island of
Rapu-Rapu and in the southern island of Mindanao. POs and NGOs played crucial roles in bringing Spanish
and American colonial rule to an end, as well as forming
NGOs, Civil Society, Faith, and the backbone of the “people power” movement, along
Development with Catholic leaders, that overthrew the Ferdinand
The Philippines is a host to myriad development actors, Marcos’ dictatorship in 1986. Partly because of the
both international and national, with particularly active government’s sensitivity to popular demand and pres-
contributions from faith-inspired organizations. The sure, and civil initiative following the Marcos regime, the
role of the Catholic Church in public affairs, including Philippines has one of the most robust and advanced civil
development is marked, and in Mindanao, the Muslim societies in the developing world.49 As examples, Fidel
minority is active in promoting social development and Ramos (president from 1992–1998) involved civil society
peace building efforts. in the Mindanao peace initiative (particularly in engag-

Box 5

Environmental Call for Action

In recent years and months, the Philippine government techniques to facilitate ecological sustainability in: nat-
has kept pressure on foreign governments to ratify a ural resource management, development planning and
new treaty to reduce greenhouse gasses. President policy, trade and investment, and international devel-
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s advisor for global warm- opment assistance. ESSC also engages Christian and
ing and climate change, Heherson Alvarez, stated that Muslim communities in Southern Mindanao in the local
the UN Conference of Parties (which met in December government planning processes, in particular barangay
2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark) should respond to (or district level) development planning, to facilitate and
the targets of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate foster interfaith cooperation on environmental respon-

Change, which posits a 25 percent to 40 percent cut sibility. In the absence of a national land use inventory
in emissions from 1990 levels to prevent irreversible cli- for nearly 20 years, the organization’s resource monitor-
mate change by 2050. ing efforts have helped guide local policy and regional
agencies to facilitate water and nutrient resource sus-
The Philippine government is also taking steps of its
tainability in the highland areas of the country.
own to combat climate change. On October 23, 2009,
President Arroyo enacted a new law that established In Central Mindanao, Christian NGO Dalan sa Kalambuan
a Climate Change Commission (CCC), to coordinate (DALSAKA), provides environmental education, among
action plans to prepare the country for extreme weather
other community development initiatives. Similarly,
and integrate climate change initiatives into broader
Buklod Biyayang Kristiyano, Inc. (BBK), located in
policies. For the Philippines, the issue of climate change
Laguna, engages in community environmental educa-
is very real, given the link experts have drawn to recent
tion as it relates to waste management and other issues.
weather-caused disasters that have struck the island
The National Coalition for Urban Transformation (NCUT)

nation. In 2009 alone, typhoons caused a landslide

was formed from organizations within the Alliance of

which killed 250 in April and at least 240 died in flood-

Christian Development Agencies (ACDA) which works
ing due to a typhoon in late September. These storms
with Roman Catholic and Muslim organizations and
were more severe than the Philippines had seen in years
leaders and counts among its activities the promotion
and exhibited unusual patterns in their geographic inci-
of environmental advocacy through education. Its mem-
dence as well as the time of year they occurred.
ber congregations have also endorsed political candi-
Faith-inspired organizations are active in addressing key dates based upon their support for ecological or other
ecological issues. The Jesuit organization, Environmental development policies. Thus, faith-inspired organizations
Science for Social Change (ESSC), is active on several have been instrumental in bridging the grassroots and
fronts. It employs innovative environmental mapping policy levels on the environment.

ing poor communities) and in national policy formation, as opposed to vertical hierarchy, and constituent
and current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has members of the networks are typically very engaged
included NGOs in the formulation and implementation in the decision making processes. CODE-NGO (The
strategy for the Medium-Term Philippine Development Caucus of Development NGO Networks) is one of
Plan, 2004–2010, addressing economic growth and job the largest NGO networks, comprised of one national
creation, social justice and basic needs, education and NGO, seven national networks, and two regional net-
youth, and anti-corruption and good governance. works—about 3,000 NGOs (including faith-inspired
organization) in total. Its member networks each have
To help make NGO efforts more efficient and orga- particular foci. PHILDHRRA (Philippine Partnership
nized, a number of NGO networks and coordination for the Development of Human Resources in Rural
mechanisms have been formed. These NGO networks Areas) focuses on agrarian reform, rural development,
tend to be characterized by horizontal cooperation, aquatic reform and fisheries, upland development, and

Box 6 Box 7

Habitat for Humanity—Peace Build The Catholic Church and Contraception

Program in Mindanao
The official position of the Catholic Church in the
In Mindanao, Habitat for Humanity operates, in coop- Philippines has been to oppose contraception of
eration with other organizations, the Peace Build any kind, a viewpoint at odds with many in civil
program (funded by the European Commission), society and the development community. Recently,
in which interfaith housing builds are held in areas the Church opposed the Reproductive Health and
where there has previously been violent conflict that Population Development Act of 2008, which would
saw many people of both faiths lose their homes. require governments at all levels to provide free or
Representatives from the Philippine army, the Moro low-cost reproductive services, excluding abortion.
National Liberation Front (MNLF), different levels The bill was presented to Congress in January 2010,
of government, the United Church of Christ, the but expired after the congressional session ended,
Catholic Church, as well as the local imam and even following heated debate among legislators. Even
the former Miss Universe were among the signato- though the Church holds great influence over the
ries to the peace covenant establishing the frame- views of many Filipinos, the reproductive health bill
work for the program. Peace Build has included is supported by 63 percent of Filipinos, according
government soldiers and ex-MNLF combatants in to a Pulse Asia poll conducted in October 2008.
the builds, and some of the latter have been among Advocates of the bill have affirmed that they will re-
those who have contributed land for build sites. file the law in the next legislative session, while the
The project aims to build at least 1,010 houses in Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines has

Peace and Development Communities (PDCs). By encouraged Filipinos to vote against political can-
September 2008, Habitat had, under Peace Build, didates favoring any government support for con-
built and renovated over 600 houses. traception in the May 10, 2010 elections.

social forestry; NCSD (National Council on Social nizations have forged long-term relationships with
Development) focuses on social welfare and develop- foreign Catholic faith-inspired organizations helping to
ment; relief and rehabilitation; PHILSSA (Partnership increase the capacity and sustainability of the former.
of Philippine Support Service Agencies) focus on
urban land reform, organizing low-income urban areas, Although smaller in numbers, non-Catholic Christian
and housing; NATCCO (National Confederation of faith-inspired organizations have been equally vigorous
Cooperatives): cooperatives, credit, and livelihood, in their development and peacebuilding efforts, particu-
among others. Faith-inspired organizations are active larly in trying to foster economic self-reliance among
members of all these networks. structurally disadvantaged segments of the population
and promoting peaceful coexistence in pluralistic
The faith-inspired NGO community is a vibrant and communities. The number of Muslim faith-inspired
important part of the broader cohort of develop- organizations in the Philippines has grown in recent
ment NGOs. The Catholic Church, having attained years, seeking to confront particularly severe poverty in
a predominantly Filipino clergy by the 1990s (at the Mindanao and calling for a peaceful political solution
Vatican’s encouragment), has embraced social and to the conflict there. Muslim and Christian groups have
economic development work throughout the country, been intentional about constructive interfaith collabo-
working alongside a multitude of faith-inspired NGOs. ration in addressing the conflict in Mindanao, working
together even in light of instances of violence, such as in
It also has extensive network of parochial schools, many August and September of 2008.
of which are attentive to the connections between
education and poverty, reaching out in particular to Faith-inspired organizations are active across various
poor and marginalized youth. Filipino Catholic orga- sectors and regions in the Philippines. There are many

international religious NGOs undertaking development Fi Salam (Muslim), have forged interfaith dialogues
initiatives across the country. Catholic Relief Services, at the grassroots level throughout Mindanao, creating
one of the most active, provides microloans to the Peace Communities, or Darusalam, encompassing
poor (90 percent provided to women with small busi- a wide range of interventions including community
nesses—12,000 new loans worth over $1 million in loans organizing; interfaith dialogue for understanding and
in 2002), partners with church, government, and com- solidarity; advocacy for human rights and community
munity organizations to expand access to health services development; and networking for peacebuilding and
in underserved areas, and engages in emergency disaster development. 50 It is clear that faith-inspired orga-
relief. Habitat for Humanity has built over 26,000 homes nizations, particularly at the grassroots level, have a
throughout the country through 15 affiliates and 6 crucial role to play in peacebuilding in Mindanao
Local Management Councils (See Box 6). World Vision, in particular (see Box 3).

in addition to emergency relief, assists approximately

122,000 children with education needs through child Another important area of focus for faith-inspired
sponsorship and community-based programs. development organizations is that of children and
youth. Kalinga Mula Sa Mga Anak ni Juan Florentino
As a major part of development initiatives to address (Apostolic Catholic) and Daughters of Mary Help of
poverty in the country, there has been a growth of Christians: Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco (Roman
grassroots, faith-inspired microfinance organizations Catholic) are two examples of Christian organizations
that have come about alongside secular organizations that seek to improve the health and welfare of disadvan-
of the same kind. Some of the former have origins in taged children in urban and remote, rural areas. Finally,
other countries, but many draw their ideas from native capacity building and local governance is increasingly
Filipino faith communities and/or are sustained by becoming an area of interest for faith-inspired organiza-
local efforts. For instance, Kabilikat para sa Maunlad tions. Both Christian (the Catholic Church is publicly
na Buhay, Inc. (KMBI) is a Christian microcredit engaged) and Muslim inspired development organiza-

organization operating across the Philippines, focused tions are active on issues of governance. Governance

in particular on improving the livelihood of Filipina is one of the principal areas of programming for the
women, stressing what it sees as the interrelated nature Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, the umbrella
of entreprenurial development, community develop- group for Muslim NGOs in Mindanao.
ment, and personal internal renewal. The Christian
microcredit organization Rangtay sa Pagrang-ay, Inc. Emerging Challenges
(RSPI) seeks to empower financially the marginalized Corruption and a lack of transparency at all levels of
indigenous groups of the Cordillera region. government is a significant challenge for faith-inspired
organizations, and civil society more generally. The
Faith-inspired organizations are quite active in inter- Catholic Church has shown leadership in certain
faith dialogue and interreligious peacebuiling activi- reforms (see Box 1), though it is important to note that
ties. Given that faith is a central component of life the Church in the Philippines is not a monolithic voice
for large parts of the population in conflict affected in terms of its socio-political agenda, and so effectively
regions, religious leaders are particularly influential coordinating a unified effort to vigorously address cor-
in mobilizing communities scarred by religious ruption and transparency is a challenge. However, since
conflict toward reconciliation and understand- many elected officials do heed the views of the Church,
ing. Silsilah (meaning “chain” or ”link” in Arabic) it is the most likely candidate for spearheading a con-
Dialogue Movement is a Muslim-Christian interfaith versation on these themes that would have substantive
organization founded by a Catholic priest in 1984 in impact. The National Council of Churches in the
Zamboanga City, Mindanao, oriented toward dialogue Philippines (which includes the Catholic Church) has
based on a deepening of Christian and Muslim faith, formed a group to combat fraud in the May 2010 elec-
education, interfaith immersion, and cooperative tions. In Mindanao, local patronage and clanship-based
economic activities. Two local faith-inspired organiza- politics further complicate the environment, already
tions, Socio-Pastoral Institute (Christian) and Ummah made extremely difficult by violent conflict and extreme

Box 8

Sister Adelia S. Oling and People’s Alternative Livelihood Foundation

Sister Adelia Oling, a Sister Servant of the Divine Healer, about the Grameen model of microfinance from a
is CEO and founder of People’s Alternative Livelihood nearby development agency, Sister Oling decided that
Foundation, a microfinance organization that provides simple interest in the poor was not enough, but that
capital to low-income people in central and southern she would turn to social action to fight poverty, taking a
Philippines who are unable to provide adequate col- particular interest in microfinance. In 1997, she secured
lateral for conventional loans. Since she began explor- a grant from Catholic Relief Services for $50,000, and
ing ways to increase locally-grown food for economic by 2006, her foundation had reached a credit line of
development, her efforts have supported more than over $800,000 and was serving 20,000 clients. Sr.
11,000 small and medium scale entrepreneurs, nearly Oling’s work to address people’s “woundedness” from
all women, who have worked to bring their families out poverty, as informed by her faith, continues today,
of extreme poverty. and the Foundation now operates out of Sorsogon
and Zamboanga (in the southern Philippines) and has
Sister Oling, along with the help of a priest, conducted
grown from a three-person operation to a staff of 109.
a questionnaire “to understand how pervasive under-
lying poverty was keeping local residents out of the In the words of Sister Oling, “When I hear someone
economic market.” Her research found that meeting say, ‘Thank you very much, before we could not even
monthly expenses was a large contributor to persistent purchase milk for our children, but now we can,’ I feel
poverty and an inability to meet basic needs. Learning very satisfied indeed.”

Source: Fox, Thomas C. “Nun lifts the lives of thousands.” National Catholic Reporter 13 April 2010.
Web. Accessed 21 April 2010.

poverty. However, the great diversity of both Muslim Religious traditions have played an important role in
and Christian organizations on the island and , in many Cambodia’s history and its present, though the shock
instances, seriousness of cooperation between the two of tumult under the Khmer Rouge (especially during
faith communities demonstrate that there is a desire the 1975–79 period) represented a sharp discontinuity
and resilience among many in Mindanao to address from which Cambodia is still recovering. Substantial
development needs meaningfully despite challenges research on Cambodia’s religious heritage is available,
posed by power dynamics. and there is lively attention to the contemporary roles
of Cambodia’s particularly active civil society. However,
the development roles of the large number of faith-
Cambodia inspired organizations that work in Cambodia are
Background poorly understood. To a degree, these organizations
Cambodia is a country of special emphasis for this are part of communities and civil society more broadly,
exploration of intersections between religion and but their religious character presents some distinctive
development and specifically the work of faith-inspired features that merit both a broad survey of what they are
organizations. WFDD is engaged in a year-long “map- doing and why, the overall impact of their work, and
ping” review for Cambodia, in partnership with the its actual and potential contribution to building a more
Asia Faiths Development Dialogue (AFDD). Primarily equitable and prosperous Cambodia.
through an intensive set of interviews, WFDD is inves-
tigating the development related activities of individuals Cambodia’s recent economic and social progress, given
and organizations that are in significant ways motivated the devastation of decades of conflict and genocide, is
and shaped by faith. This discussion reflects preliminary impressive on many fronts. Nonetheless, Cambodia
findings of the review. A full report should be available faces extraordinary challenges, which include grow-
by August, 2010. ing imbalances between rich and poor, notorious

governance and capacity weaknesses, a range of social royal circles, but by the latter half of the 10th century,
tensions, and environmental threats. Perhaps foremost Buddhism had overtaken it as the major faith of the
among the challenges, given its importance for future population and elites. 53 Few Cambodians practice
stability, are the weaknesses of Cambodia’s education Hinduism today, but Hindu traditions contributed to
system, which was decimated during the period of the uniquely Cambodian forms of Buddhism, includ-
troubles. These weaknesses are linked to widespread ing, for example, traditions of ancestor worship and a
institutional capacity challenges. strong grip of superstitions.

Faith-inspired communities and institutions are very Islam also has a long history in Cambodia. The first
much part of the overall development process, espe- Muslims to arrive in Cambodia were the Chvea, an
cially contributing to humanitarian aid, and today ethnic group thought to have immigrated as early as

focusing on education and health service delivery. By the fourteenth century from the Malay Peninsula or
international standards, Cambodia has an unusually the Indonesia archipelago. A second wave of Islamic
large array of faith-inspired organizations that work followers arrived in the late fifteenth century, when the
in virtually every sector with particular concentra- Cham, people from the now-extinct Champa kingdom
tions on health, education, and post conflict heal- in present day Vietnam, migrated to Cambodia to
ing. The role that religion will play, especially the escape conflict.
Buddhist values that Cambodians view as a central
feature of their social fabric and culture, and the French Catholic missionaries first came to Cambodia
specific place for faith-inspired organizations, which in the early 18th century, even before the French
represent a diversity of traditions, are important protectorate, but their converts were few in number.54
questions facing Cambodia as it looks to the future. Far more intensive Christian influence came after the
However, many of these groups, individually and fall of the communist regime and after 1979, when
as a community (though it is a stretch to suggest Christian missionaries and aid workers flocked to the

that a faith-inspired community exists), have not refugee camps along the Thai and Vietnamese borders,

been notably part of national development plan- where hundreds of thousands of ethnic Khmers had
ning and strategic reflection, for example about the sought refuge. When Cambodians returned to their
Millennium Development Goals. home provinces, many Christian churches and aid
organizations entered the country. A wide array of orga-
Cambodia’s Religious Heritage nizations expanded emergency aid and relief portfolios
Cambodia has a rich religious heritage and many into development activities, thus securing a place for
faiths are present among Cambodia’s population, but Christianity in Cambodian society.
today most Cambodians call themselves Buddhists.
The country’s official motto underscores the impor- The legacy of the Khmer Rouge and communist regime
tance accorded to faith tradition: “Nation, Religion, for Cambodia’s religions is still felt today. Religious teach-
King.” 2008/2009 statistics published by the Ministry ings and practices of all kinds were banned, and those
of Cult and Religions in Cambodia indicate a religious found to be practicing were punished, often by death.
profile with (out of a population of about 14 million) A Muslim man highlighted the impact of the genocide:
some 96 percent Buddhists, 0.3 percent Muslim, and “after the Khmer Rouge, all religions were reborn.”55 Lack
less than 0.1 percent Christian. Other sources give of knowledge and of people to teach has colored a none-
somewhat different breakdowns, showing greater theless remarkable revival of both Buddhism and Islam.
religious diversity. But religious understanding, particularly amongst the
younger generation, is still relatively weak. Christianity
Both Hinduism and Buddhism have ancient roots in is the fastest-growing faith tradition in Cambodia,
Cambodia, though their origins and early history are owing in part to the presence of overseas missionaries, an
shrouded in legend.51 Sacred texts and some recently increase in the number of churches, and the assistance
discovered ancient Buddhist statues date back to before provided by the multitude of Christian-based relief and
500 CE.52 Hinduism gained a foothold primarily in development organizations. The shifting balance gives

rise to some tensions, but Cambodia prides itself on its the surface, Buddhism appears to be little engaged with
constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and long the development enterprise. While quite a wide range of
traditions of religious tolerance. local and international Buddhist-inspired organizations
operate in Cambodia, their informal structures and a
Development and Buddhist lack of publicity (and fanfare) make the true magnitude
Organizations and impact of their work difficult to assess. Nonetheless,
Despite the wide presence of visible symbols of Buddhist teachings and institutions do play significant
Buddhism, like spirit houses in homes and shops and and probably increasing roles and merit careful attention.
orange-clad monks moving in and out of the ubiquitous
pagodas, Buddhism’s links to Cambodia’s dynamic Several international Buddhist organizations, most
development processes are not easy to pin down. On based in Korea and Japan, give financial aid to local

Box 9

The Association of Buddhists for the Environment (ABE)

A self-described former “socially active” monk, Hiek screenings of an ABE-produced educational video show-
Sopheap, has long been interested in the interplay casing various initiatives throughout Cambodia where
between his Buddhist faith and the natural environ- monks are taking an active role in environmental con-
ment. “The Buddha was born in the forest and reached servation activities. The video, which highlights the con-
enlightenment in the forest and passed away in the for- nection between Buddhism and the environment, has

est,” explains Sopheap. “The forest is life.” After nearly 20 helped place greater attention on the need for commu-
years in the monkhood, Sopheap disrobed and is today nity members to take responsibility for their environs.
the Executive Director of the Association of Buddhists

for the Environment (ABE). ABE is a faith-inspired NGO ABE has championed a number of other projects.


in Cambodia, which leverages the influence of monks Pagodas in Kampong Chhnang and Kampot provinces
to promote environmental conservation and conscious- have been outfitted with community announcement
ness in a country where economic growth, lax regula- boards to communicate important messages about
tion, and a lack of understanding about natural resource environmental initiatives. Monks have participated in the
management are all working to quicken the pace of planting and ordaining of trees in forests, constructed
environmental degradation. compost bins at Pagodas, and helped oversee the main-
tenance of community wells. Moreover, with the support
ABE’s aim is straightforward: monks should demonstrate of the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation
in word and action the importance of preserving the (ARC), ABE maintains a website (although somewhat
environment. In practice, this means ABE trains monks dated) for the Sangha Network which is dedicated to
who then return to their temples and turn the grounds helping connect Buddhist communities throughout Asia
into a focal point for rallying the community in support who are working to promote environmental conservation.
of environmental issues. To date, ABE has trained over
200 monks in 21 provinces throughout Cambodia, with Satisfied that ABE’s contributions are making a differ-
plans for more trainings. “The monks are respected by ence, Sopheap says that communities are gradually
members of the community,” says Sopheap. “When beginning “to realize the important role the environ-
monks tell people to do something, they listen.” ment plays in their lives.”

Not only have communities learned to accept the monk’s (Donors past and present to ABE include the United
newfound roles (some were skeptical at first because Nations Development Programme, Mustard Seed
traditionally monks do not engage with communities), Charitable Trust UK, the Alliance of Religions and
community members themselves have become involved. Conservation, USAID, Conservation International,
Hundreds of local residents have shown up at individual WildAid, and the Wildlife Alliance).

pagodas. More significant are local organizations that Development and Muslim Organizations
appear to be taking increasingly active roles, work- Indigenous Muslims in Cambodia fall into two ethnic
ing in various sectors. Examples include Buddhism groups, the Cham and the Chvea, who share the same
for Development, The Association of Buddhists for religious views but tend to live in separate villages.57
the Environment, and the Buddhism Society and The Chvea have long had roots in the Malay commu-
Development Association. A significant difficulty nity in southern Thailand and Malaysia. It is thought
in measuring and evaluating social action in com- that the Chvea preceded the arrival in Cambodia of
munities by Buddhists is their decentralization and the Cham, who came to the country from Champa,
fragmentation. Work is often carried out by indi- present day central Vietnam, beginning in the late
viduals or small informal groups. Compounding the 15th century. 58 Today the Cham and Chvea recog-
difficulty in recognizing Buddhist contributions to nize the same supreme religious leader in Cambodia

development is the pattern whereby formal organiza- and many Chvea, largely owing to the similarities
tions that do exist often have limited publicity. As between their ethnic group and the Cham and also
one Buddhist monk put it, Buddhists would rather for reasons of simplicity, often refer to themselves
“focus on the end result,” adding that monks and as Cham. This blending of the two ethnic groups as
laypeople are “respected more because we do not one Muslim minority corresponds with the narrative,
announce our activities.” which suggests that little distinction is made between
Islamic-based NGOs run by particular branches of the
Many development organizations, both secular and Muslim community.
faith-inspired, recognize the benefits of engaging monks
and laypeople linked to pagodas as a way to ensure the Like many Buddhist organizations, Muslim develop-
strong links to communities that are vital for develop- ment organizations in Cambodia are often difficult
ment. They have embarked on specific efforts to engage to identify, owing largely to the small size and scope
Buddhist structures in development work. Projects of their activities. Numbers are not clear, but there

focused on educating the community on health and are about 20 formal Muslim organizations work-

environmental issues and providing support to persons ing in Cambodia, among them the Islamic Local
living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) and their families are Development Organization (ILDO), the Cambodian
the most common. UNICEF has a program called The Islamic Youth Association (CIYA), and the Cambodian
Buddhist Leadership Initiative56 that actively engages Islamic Association (CIA). An umbrella group,
monks in community outreach surrounding HIV/ Cambodian Muslim Development Foundation, acts
AIDS prevention and awareness, and support of those as a coordinating body and channel for donor funds
already infected. Monks, and to a less obvious extent for eight Muslim development organizations. Muslim
nuns, are respected authority figures in their communi- organizations address a range of development issues
ties. One monk characterized Cambodian monks as but place particular emphasis on education and income
having “salty spit”—meaning that people listen to them generation activities.
and act upon what they are told.
In addition to the structured organizations, a more
The role that Buddhist institutions should play in devel- informal system consisting of elected committees
opment work is actively debated today in Cambodia, formed around individual mosques provides an out-
particularly between older and younger generations. let for community members to request emergency
Some argue that Buddhist faith and traditions require assistance. Committees help where they can, provid-
active engagement with the society and the corre- ing small loans and on occasion material goods, but
sponding actions or contributions, while others see are often constrained by lack of financial support.
Buddhism’s proper role as more removed from modern Notwithstanding the limited assistance provided by
demands, meeting spiritual, not material needs. There is the committees and the support available from the
among all who speak to Buddhism’s role a strong focus structured organizations, few other avenues exist for
on the values that Buddhism represents, which range community members to secure funds or other resources
from compassion to a commitment to integrity. for communal projects or individual use.

Several Muslim majority countries, notably Malaysia, some common challenges emerge. All organizations
Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, are playing an increasingly must find ways to respond to the general capacity weak-
influential role in supporting Cambodia’s Muslim nesses and to endemic patterns of corruption. These
community. Foreign financing has contributed to the are linked to generally weak institutional capacity and
construction of mosques and Islamic boarding schools. unclear ‘“rules of the game.” Coordination challenges
Foreign nations are also sending religious teachers to are rife, accentuated by the large number of organiza-
Cambodia to serve as teacher-trainers to Cambodian tions, communications difficulties, weak coordination
Muslims eager to enter the profession. In addition, mechanisms, and a tendency towards competition.
Cambodian Muslim students are receiving scholarships Essentially, Cambodia attracted large numbers of
to study abroad in such places as Kuwait and Saudi organizations in the post genocide period, and for some
Arabia. Students who go abroad combine religious and time they operated with little administrative restraint.
secular studies. For some however, studying the Qur’an Voluntary coordination mechanisms emerged, and
and Islamic practices is their sole form of education. several NGO coordination mechanisms took root. One
that is specifically Christian and faith linked is Chab
Christian Development Activities Dai, a resource center and coordinating mechanism for
Although Christianity’s influence is relatively new to groups working in the field of trafficking.
Cambodia, the majority of faith-inspired organizations
operating there today are rooted in Christian prin- It is generally appreciated that corruption is deeply
ciples and beliefs. Virtually all the leading international embedded in Cambodia today. Organizations face
Christian-inspired NGOs have active programs in difficult ethical dilemmas: pay bribes or risk facing
Cambodia, including World Vision, Catholic Relief programmatic delays. This issue is especially problem-

Services, Caritas, Church World Service, the American atic, because faith-inspired organizations oftentimes
Friends Service Committee, World Relief, and Jesuit feel the need, or are driven by their faith, to exercise
Refugee Services. There are also a large number of a certain moral code of conduct. Some groups take

smaller organizations representing an extraordinarily a strong stance, refusing to pay any extra “fees,” even


wide set of denominations. Christian organizations are if it means, for example, waiting months for a ship-
involved in all sectors, including peacebuilding, health, ment of much needed wheelchairs to clear through the
education, children, environment, trafficking, and Customs Department.59 Other organizations take the
income generation. view that paying a bribe to expedite the delivery of the
wheelchairs can be viewed as simply paying an express
In discussions in Cambodia, some Cambodians drew fee, similar to what one might part with to expedite the
a distinct line between the way they perceive the delivery of a package, thereby sidestepping the issue
work and motivations of “Christians” and Catholics, of perpetuating a corrupt system. For organizations
“Christians” being for the most part Protestants. The operating today, there is no clear solution, since they
Catholic Church and its associated organizations are are, individually, unlikely to have any significant impact
often described more favorably than other Christian on the overall climate and problem. However, there is
organizations. Reasons for the divide are unclear, but merit in engaging the community in broader ongoing
it may well be related to the quite wide perception discussions with the government and the aid commu-
that many Christian groups use development projects nity, which has given high priority to finding practical
as a means for or excuse to proselytize. Others cite the solutions that will improve accountability and increase
Catholic Church’s long history in Cambodia and thus the demand for good governance.
deeper roots.
Lack of effective dialogue among organizations or reli-
Emerging Issues gious bodies, either by choice or circumstance, creates
In addition to the myriad project-specific challenges another set of complications. The current rather poor
that each faith-inspired organization faces (which are coordination creates gaps and overlaps in the delivery
not dissimilar to those facing most NGOs), given the of services. Faith-inspired organizations develop their
generally difficult operating environment in Cambodia, own materials and projects based on the knowledge

they have, rather than building upon the experience aimed at better regulating civil society activity under
and materials of other organizations. For example, there discussion. The government tends to make a sharp
is no standard set of training materials for HIV/AIDS distinction between service delivery and advocacy
work in the country. Organizations spend time and organizations, with the latter subject to greater
resources creating their own HIV/AIDS curriculums skepticism and restrictions. Organizations that
and educational materials. proselytize or are seen to proselytize are also viewed
with apprehension, with many comments about “rice
Cambodia is a country where special and quite Christians” or “food for faith.” Most faith groups
intensive effort is going towards aid coordination. say that their work is clearly differentiated between
The government chaired Cambodian Development service and development versus evangelical work.
Cooperation Forum, or CDCF, brings together govern- That includes groups well-known for evangelizing

ment and major external development partners on a tendencies, like the Church of Latter-day Saints and
fairly regular basis. Alongside, there is a plethora of local Adventists. The practical meaning of religious free-
aid coordination mechanisms, led by the government, dom is a topic of lively exchange today. University
which vary in intensity and form by sector (for example, of Cambodia Professor and Ministry of Culture
health is particularly active). The larger faith-inspired Secretary of State Samraing Kamsan summarizes the
groups, like World Vision and CRS, are well tuned in situation and challenges as follows:
to this system, particularly the sector working groups or
sub-groups, but the many smaller organizations largely “There are problems with Christianism in
fall outside the system. In addition, there are three Cambodia today. The youth, especially young
networks that aim to address civil society coordina- students, are not interested in going to the
tion challenges: the NGO Forum, MEDiCAM, and pagodas. They do not spend time on Buddhist
the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC). practices and even if they do it is very superficial.
Membership is voluntary for NGOs, and they are What they want most is IT, computers, and

descibed as the most effective way for them to influ- to learn English. The Christian churches offer

ence policy. The three networks have one representative English lessons, completely free. They have com-
who sits in on the CDCF, which serves as a high level puters. They take young people on sightseeing
meeting of government officials and donors. Relevant trips, to Angkor Wat and other places, and they
research and operational experience can be presented in offer trips overseas. So young people are attracted
this setting. Overall, these mechanisms represent a sub- and they join.
stantial investment and show some success. However,
the general judgment is that both coordination and There is freedom of belief in Cambodia, so this
networking efforts and bodies, on balance, are plainly is all legal and accepted. Having this freedom
inadequate to the challenge. is part of peace and harmony. But the trend
towards joining Christian churches and the
Competition for volunteers among beneficiary groups is weakness of Buddhism are also worrying for
fast becoming a major concern of organizations. While us, for the Ministry of Culture, and for those
one organization, for example, might provide sizeable responsible for religion. Buddhism is part of
per diems and motorbikes to volunteers, another organi- our culture, deeply so. And it has much to offer
zation operating in the same area and providing similar for daily life.
services might be willing to cover only their volunteers’
cost of transportation. Inconsistencies in how organiza- What this means is that Buddhism has to work
tions choose to, and are able to (given limited resources) much harder to make its messages clearer.
engage and build relationships with communities and Buddhism is not about reciting the Dharma alone.
volunteers inhibit the productiveness of programs. It is about much more. But for young people in
Cambodia today that is not easy to understand.”
The operating environment for non-governmental
organizations is changing, with new legislation

Thailand cent of Thailand’s population lives in rural areas.
An Overview
Thailand’s rich history and culture are inextricably Thailand hosts more than 143,000 Burmese refugees in
intertwined with Buddhism. Most social and political camps near the Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border; thou-
institutions are deeply rooted in Therevada Buddhist sands of Burmese live outside the camps without being
tradition. Religion influences many aspects of Thai recognized as refugees. Burmese refugees started seeking
society and life and serves as an important unifying refuge in Thailand in large numbers in the late 1980s.
force, exemplified during recent political upheavals that Pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma (Myanmar)
affected both civil society and the upper echelons of in 1988, followed by the failed 1990 elections, increased
political leadership. The majority of the population is the exodus of Karen, Karenni, Mon, and Shan ethnic
Buddhist, but Thailand has significant religious diver- populations, as well as students and pro-democracy
sity, with a variety of ethnic and religious influences, activists to Thailand. Many refugees have lived in the
including a sizable and politically active Muslim minor- camps for 15 to 20 years; many more live as internally
ity (4.6 percent) concentrated in the southern prov- displaced people in the Burmese jungle. As human
inces.60 Religion is thus an integral part of Thailand’s rights abuses continue in Burma, refugees are still arriv-
approach to its development challenges. ing to Thailand in significant numbers.63 Thailand also
has a large (largely undocumented) migrant worker
Socio-Economic and Political population. The majority of these laborers come from
Background Burma, but also Laos and Cambodia.
Of Thailand’s population (estimated at 66 million), 75
percent are ethnically Thai, 14 percent ethnic Chinese, Faith-inspired organizations are active in working

and the remaining 11 percent Malays, Khmers, Karens, with both refugee and migrant populations. The Jesuit
Vietnamese, and numerous smaller groups. With a Refugee Service in Thailand, for example, operates refu-
GDP per capita of US$8,400 (2008 est.), Thailand is gee settlements along the border with Burma (Myanmar)

a middle income country, with one of the most robust and works in urban centers on education, counseling,


economies in South East Asia. However, following legal aid, social services and community development,
the 2006 military coup and the 2008 global financial emergency medical services, and advocacy.
crisis, as well as prolonged political tensions, economic
growth has declined sharply. The economic contraction Thailand has been embroiled in a political crisis
was primarily caused by a decrease in global demand since the military coup of 2006. Anti-government
and a decline in investor confidence spurred on by the street protests in April 2009 disrupted the regional
continued political instability. Political instability has ASEAN summit, following an extended period of
also affected the tourism industry, which contributes rising political tensions, and led to a temporary state
about 7 percent to the economy.61 The official unem- of emergency in the capital, Bangkok. Protests against
ployment rate is among the world’s lowest (1.4 percent the ruling party continued in early 2010. The crisis
in 2008) but is rising significantly (end 2009 estimate began when populist multi-billionaire Prime Minister
close to 2.5 percent).62 Thaksin Shinawatra was accused of corruption, ousted
from power, and fled to exile in Dubai; he has never
Thailand has impressive achievements to show on completely left the Thai political scene. The political
human development and ranks 87 on the Human intrigue and regional character of the crisis deepened
Development Index, near the top of the medium devel- in late 2009, when former Prime Minister Thaksin was
opment bracket and higher than all of its neighbors. appointed advisor to the government of Cambodia,
Income inequality is approximately the same as the prompting diplomatic tensions between the two
United States. The percentage of the population liv- countries. A nagging territorial dispute has escalated
ing below the poverty line is also relatively low, at 10 as both countries exert their claim to land near the
percent. Poverty, however, remains a persistent problem Preah Vihear Buddhist temple. Thailand’s deeply
and a contributing factor to social conflict, especially respected king remains one of the only unifying figures
the northeastern and southern provinces. Some 66 per- in Thailand’s political landscape.

Religion in Thailand tice varied forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism,
Religion plays a prominent role in Thai society and poli- and spirit worship.65
tics. A large majority of Thais are Buddhist, and although
officially there is not a state religion, the influence of The Constitution provides for freedom of religion,
Buddhism is clearly evident. Thailand’s King Bhumibol in section 38:
Adulyadej is the world’s the longest ruling monarch and
is part of a royal lineage dating back to the 13th century, A person shall enjoy full liberty to profess a religion,
where the king, as was the Buddha, was bodhisattva, a religious sect or creed, and observe religious precepts
or on the path to enlightenment, as he continues to be or exercise a form of worship in accordance with his
viewed by many today.64 Many Thais regard the king as a or her belief; provided that it is not contrary to his
semi-divine figure, and he remains a unifying force. or her civic duties, public order or good morals. In

exercising the liberty referred to in paragraph one, a

Thai Buddhism is unique among its Buddhist neigh- person is protected from any act of the State, which
bors, influenced by the region’s particular history. is derogatory to his or her rights or detrimental to
Theravada Buddhism was imported from Sri Lanka, his or her due benefits on the grounds of professing a
and Hindu beliefs and indigenous religions figure religion, a religious sect or creed or observing religious
prominently in local traditions and festivals. At some precepts or exercising a form of worship in accordance
point in their lives, almost all Thai men are ordained with his or her different belief from that of others.
as monks, and monks are given preferential treatment
in society. For example, they have free access to public The 2007 Constitution also has a clause providing that
transportation. The pagoda generally plays a central role the government must “patronize and protect Buddhism
in village life, as a spiritual center, as well as a hub for and other religions.” The government has a budget for
social and economic activity. all recognized religion, to fund education, allowances
for monks and clerics, and for renovation of temples,

Depending on the figures used, Muslims (majority churches, and mosques.66


Sunni) comprise 5–15 percent of Thais, highly concen-

trated in the south along the Malaysian border. Most Socially Engaged Buddhism in Thailand
are ethnic Malay, but the Muslim population includes The pagoda is a center of social and economic life in
descendants of immigrants from South Asia, China, many communities across Thailand, and Buddhist
Cambodia, and Indonesia. There are 3,644 registered monks have been instrumental in reaching the poor-
mosques in 67 provinces; 3,088 of them located in est and most marginalized communities through
the 14 southern provinces. A separatist movement by their social work. Historically, Thai Buddhism has
the ethnic Malay Muslim population in the south has a strong heritage of social engagement across a wide
caused widespread violence and unrest. Though ethnic- range of sectors and issues, notably the environment
ity is a large contributing factor to the conflict, religion and HIV/AIDS, and is a model of for social engage-
is closely intertwined, as is lack of representation in the ment across Southeast Asia and within international
national government. Buddhist networks. Over the last few decades, monks
in Thailand have borne witness to the harmful societal
The 2000 census estimated that Thailand had 438,600 and environmental effects of unsustainable develop-
Christians, or 0.7 percent of the population. The ment, giving rise to a national and international
government recognizes five Christian organizations: socially engaged Buddhist movement led by promi-
the Catholic Mission of Bangkok (Roman Catholic); nent figures including Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Sulak
the Church of Christ in Thailand (Protestant); the Sivaraksa (founder of the Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa
Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand (Protestant); Saha Foundation and the International Network of
Christchak (Baptist); and the Seventh-day Adventists. Engaged Buddhists—INEB). Today, monks across
the country are engaged in environmental advocacy,
There are nine recognized tribal groups, or chao khao, health, and economic and societal marginalization,
comprised of approximately 920,000 persons who prac- among other issues of social justice.

On the environmental front, monks living in the forest in Thailand through Global Fund supported projects
and rural communities (“ecology monks” as they have to the Ministry of Health and Raks Thai Foundation.70
come to be known) have been negatively affected by
various development projects, including gas pipeline Interfaith Cooperation and Dialogue
construction, strip mining, and deforestation. Ecology A clause in the 2007 Constitution requires the govern-
monks trace a direct connection between the root causes ment to “promote good understanding and harmony
of suffering (greed, ignorance, and hatred) and environ- among followers of all religions.” The government has
mental destruction, and as such see environmental sponsored interfaith dialogue through regular meet-
activism closely aligned with Buddhist teachings. 67 ings and public education programs. The Religious
Sulak Sivaraksa is a vocal activist for the environment, Affairs Department (RAD) has responsibility for car-
publicly placing blame on international corporations rying out and overseeing many of these efforts. On
and corrupt officials for unsustainable development August 18, 2008, the RAD held its annual interfaith
practices. Recently, a 2006 Thai judicial ruling dropped assembly with approximately 1,200 representatives and
charges against him for obstruction of the Yadana Gas members of all registered religious groups participat-
pipeline in Kanchanaburi, considered by environmental ing. From May 12–14, 2009, the RAD sponsored a
groups to cause ecological and social damage in the Youth Reconciliation Camp in Chonburi Province, just
local villages. Monks continue to “ordain” trees as well, outside of Bangkok, that attracted 214 participants.
a symbolic protest that aims to signal to loggers that the Further, the Ministry of Public Health conducted a
forest is a sacred place. In 2005, Phra Supoj Suwajano, religious camp in Chiang Mai that brought together
a monk involved in forest protection in Chiang Mai Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian youth to participate
province, was murdered, highlighting the sensitivity of in activities that promoted religious reconciliation.

social advocacy and further bringing the environmental
cause of Thai monks to international attention. Other events included the Religious Relations Caravan
(a relief project for the poor in January 2009), the cele-

Thai monks have been active at the grassroots level, brations for World Visakha Bucha Day (held during May


working on HIV/AIDS from the early days of the 2009 in Bangkok and Nakhon, and involving approxi-
epidemic in the early 1990s. UNICEF and UNAIDS, mately 2,000 participants), and Mobile Religions, Arts,
recognizing the effectiveness of monk engagement, and Cultures Program to the Southern Border Provinces
have partnered with the monk community through (a series of events featuring religious exhibitions and
the Sangha Metta Project since 1997. Sangha Metta is seminars—the first event in May 2008 in Natahiwat
an NGO based in Chiang Mai, which trains monks in and the second in June 2009 in Pattani). In addition,
social awareness, prevention education, social engage- the Police Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok
ment, tolerance, acceptance, and spiritual support for conducted an interfaith seminar on crime prevention
people living with HIV/AIDS. As of 2003, about 7,000 in January 2009. Members of the Buddhist, Muslim,
monks, nuns, novices, community members, and youth and Christian religious communities in Bangkok par-
had completed project training courses.68 The project ticipated. Lastly, a group of “peace ambassadors” com-
shows good sustainability, as the Thailand Government prised of representatives of the Buddhist, Muslim, and
Department of Religious Affairs has followed up with Christian communities met with the 4th Army Chief,
funding for HIV care projects in temples.69 Pichet Wisaijorn, at the Sufficiency Economy Learning
Center in Pattani in May 2009 for a peace conference.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and
Malaria actively supports the engagement of monks in The RAD has a religious interfaith subcommittee that
HIV prevention and care. The monks help to change is comprised of approximately 30 representatives from
the mindset of the predominantly Buddhist society, all religious groups in the country and RAD officials,
portraying HIV as a cultural and social issue, and not and convenes at least every two months. The RAD also
only a sexual issue, one that would preclude monks produces a weekly television program, Thailand: Land
from becoming involved. As of 2007, Buddhist monks of Good People, as well as CDs/DVDs and the periodic
had educated over 300,000 people on HIV prevention newsletter, Religion Direct.71

Faith-Inspired Organizations across the country, including the Sangha Metta Project
Numerous faith-inspired organizations from the three (HIV/AIDS prevention and care—funded by UNICEF
major regional faiths are active in Thailand, working on and UNAIDS), Thailand’s Health Promotion Temple
a host of issues: children and youth, human trafficking, Project (initiated by Public Health Ministry for Physical
education, HIV/AIDS, health, and gender issues. These and Mental well-being), Thai Bhikkhunis (promotion
organizations include a wide range of both national and of women in Buddhism and ordination), and the We
international actors. Love Nan Province Foundation (founded by Phrakhru
Pitak—an environmental conservation NGO).
Large international Christian organizations present
on the ground include: Adventists Development and Several Muslim organizations work on development
Relief Agency (ADRA), World Vision, Jesuit Refugee and peacebuilding related issues, particularly in the

Service, and Caritas International. The Jesuit Refugee south. Notable examples include the Asian Muslim
Service is active working with Burmese refugees at Action Network (Muslim and interfaith network at
the Burma (Myanmar) border, as well as with labor grassroots and policy level working on poverty reduc-
migrants that work in Bangkok in often dangerous tion, environmental protection, human rights, social
conditions. ADRA is working on a range of program- justice, interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, and com-
ming areas with current projects focusing on migrant munal harmony and peace) and Kamphuan Women’s
worker rights, minority rights and development, HIV/ Group (Sustainable livelihoods for women).
AIDS education, and a refugee vocational training
program. One project focuses specifically on girls in Development work by organizations linked to other
Chiang Rai province, providing education, shelter for faiths include Jewish organizations (American Jewish
at-risk youth, and awareness campaigns on trafficking World Service Thailand, and Thai Jewish Community
and sexual exploitation. under the leadership of Rabbi Yosef C. Kantor), and the
Baha’i (Baha’i Foundation of Thailand).

Thai Christian organizations are active on a broad


spectrum of activities with numerous organizations

focusing on at-risk youth and operating orphanages. Vietnam
Huen Nam Jai Home of the Chang Kham Church in An Overview
Bangkok, as an example, provides shelter and education Vietnam is at a unique and critical juncture on develop-
to street children at risk of drug use, prostitution, and ment issues, a communist regime rapidly opening up
AIDS. The Im Jai House in Chaing Mai, an orphanage, to the global economy. Against a long history of con-
provides education, food, shelter, and spiritual teaching frontation with several foreign powers, today it actively
to the children in the city. The Human Development courts international investment.
Foundation—Mercy Centre in Bangkok is shelter for
street kids, orphanage, kindergarten for 500 children, Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in
hospice, and home for mothers and children with HIV/ the world, with an average annual GDP growth of 7.2
AIDS, originally built on a former Buddhist temple percent prior to the recent worldwide economic reces-
site, established over 30 years ago. The center’s director, sion, (the government expects growth to rebound to
Father Joseph Maier, has been working in the country 6.5 percent in 2010). Through wide ranging develop-
for over 30 years and received the Most Noble Order of ment initiatives with a myriad partners, Vietnamese
the Crown of Thailand for his service. and international, Vietnam has lifted approximately 35
million above the poverty line. Vietnam’s poverty rate
Buddhist organizations are largely motivated by the fell from 58 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2008.
teachings of socially engaged Buddhism and are active Vietnam aims to reach middle-income status (defined
in the areas of environment, health, education, gender by the World Bank as countries with a per capita
equality, and social justice, among others. There are income above US$1,000) in the near future. Even so,
numerous examples of faith-inspired organizations, Vietnam still has significant pockets of poverty, espe-
movements, and individuals working for social justice cially among its ethnic minorities, who live primarily in

mountain regions The next few years will be crucial in public), and the estimates of the number of Catholics
Vietnam’s development trajectory. in Vietnam range from 5 million to 8 million, giving
it the second largest Catholic population in Southeast
Vietnam’s population is quite diverse. Approximately Asia after the Philippines.
86 percent of Vietnamese belong to the Kinh (Viet)
majority ethnic group, and there are seven minority Hoa Hao and Cao Dai are nationalistic Buddhist-
ethnic groups that constitute at least one percent of the derived religious sects and were among the first groups
population each, and four percent of the population to instigate armed revolt against the French and then the
belong to smaller ethnic groups. Official census figures Japanese colonial presence. The government officially
indicate, in terms of religion, that approximately nine recognizes them both, but many of their followers reject
percent of Vietnamese identify as Buddhist, seven per- affiliation with government committees that oversee
cent as Catholic, 1.5 percent as Hoa Hao, one percent their respective religious affairs, causing some conflict
as Cao Dai, 0.5 percent as Protestant, 0.1 percent as with the government. Hoa Hao was founded in 1939
Muslim, and 81 percent claim no religious affiliation by Buddhist reformer Huynh Phu So, whom its adher-
at all. A key unifying spiritual and cultural element for ents regard as a prophet. Cao Dai is more syncretic than
nearly all Vietnamese is ancestor veneration. Hoa Hao, with its collection of saints including Jesus
Christ, Confucius, Muhammad, Julius Caesar, Joan of
Religion in Vietnam Arc, Pericles, Sun Yat-sen, and Victor Hugo.
Historically, Mahayana Buddhism is the largest reli-
gion of Vietnam since it arrived in Vietnam’s Red Protestantism represents only a small percentage of
River Delta from China in the second century A.D. the population, but it is the fastest-growing religious

Theravada Buddhism from India also came to the denomination in Vietnam, having grown as much as
southern Mekong Delta between the third and sixth 600 percent in the last decade. There are two main
centuries (and mostly remains in those regions). Over state-sanctioned Protestant bodies: the Evangelical

time, Mahayana Buddhist rituals have become, to vary- Church of Vietnam North (ECVN) and the Southern


ing degrees, intertwined with indigenous animism and Evangelical Church of Vietnam (SECV).72 Many small
Confucian and Taoist philosophies. The communist Christian groups are not registered with either. These
regime established in the North in the 1950s repressed include Christian members of ethnic minorities in the
Buddhist activity, while the clergy had a great deal of central highlands, known collectively as Montagnards,
independence in the South, even though the Ngo Dinh who meet in house churches. In 2007, Hanoi officially
Diem administration increasingly discriminated against recognized Mennonite and Baptist denominations,
Buddhism in favor of Catholicism. and it recognized the Presbyterian Church in Vietnam
(PCVN) in 2008.
After Vietnam was consolidated in 1975, following the
Vietnam War, the government attempted to co-opt and Islam in Vietnam is mostly associated with the Cham
control the clergy in the South through the Patriotic ethnic minority, although about a third of Muslims
Buddhist Liaison Committee. As a consequence of in the country are of other ethnicities, and 15–20
coercive government policies, Buddhist practice was percent of Cham people are Hindu. Islam has become
substantially reduced. Today, the government still somewhat syncretic in nature with many Vietnamese
exerts significant influence though the state-sponsored Muslims practicing Bani Islam, which uses a 20-page
Buddhist Church of Vietnam (BCV), the only officially version of the Qur’an.
recognized Buddhist entity in the country.
Development Work in Vietnam
French, Spanish and Portuguese missionaries brought Registered faith-inspired humanitarian NGOs are gov-
Catholicism to Vietnam in the early 17th century, and erned by the same guidelines as secular organizations
the French colonial government promoted its spread doing such work, and there are few legal obstacles in
to “balance” Buddhism. Today Catholics enjoy some conducting development work in the country. Non-
specific freedoms (such as the ability to conduct mass in Vietnamese faith-inspired organizations registered with

the government see good progress, reporting a trend ship. Islamic Relief, through the Disasters Emergency
towards liberalization as development and international Committee (United Kingdom), was involved in emer-
engagement increases.73 gency relief for Vietnam following the devastation of
Typhoon Ketsana in September 2009.
International Organizations
In Vietnam, international NGOs tend to occupy the Smaller international Buddhist and Christian groups
roles and fulfill the functions of development and poverty (sometimes including overseas Vietnamese) that work
reduction that domestic NGOs do in other countries informally with Vietnamese nationals often arouse less
in Southeast Asia, sometimes operating through local government suspicion and scrutiny than larger Western
NGOs. International NGOs are particularly active at the NGOS and are thus able to operate relatively easily.
commune level (the administrative level below that of One such organization is the Committee for the Relief

“district”), often working with mass organizations (which of Poor Children in Vietnam (CRPCV), a U.S.-based
are mainly funded by the Communist Party). Buddhist NGO founded by a Vietnamese expatriate,
working on issues of food, shelter, education, and the
As of 2004, at least 50 of the 450 international NGOs effects of natural disasters as they pertain to disadvan-
registered with the Vietnamese Government’s People’s taged and orphaned Vietnamese children.
Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM) were
faith-inspired organizations, although organizational Vietnamese Organizations
affiliation or lack thereof is often ambiguous. In Since the mid-1990s, there has been a substantial
general, larger faith-inspired organizations are more increase in Vietnamese NGOs that are relatively inde-
likely to register with PACCOM than smaller entities. pendent from the state compared to those that came
Among these larger organizations, World Vision is very about because of the Doi Moi reforms of the late 1980s.
active in Vietnam. It introduced Area Development There has been a recent surge of growth among all types
Programs (ADPs) in 1997 as one of their principal foci of civil society organizations (including CBOs and

of work in the country. ADPs involve a participatory cooperatives), so that by 2005 there were approximately

and long-term view toward community development 140,000 CBOs, 3,000 cooperatives, 1,000 local NGOs,
and integrate into their operations poverty reduction, and 200 charities recognized by the Vietnamese govern-
attention to administrative structures, gender issues, ment. At the grassroots level, the profusion of commu-
and environmental considerations, among other ele- nity-based organizations (CBOs), mostly consisting of
ments. In 2008, Caritas, seizing upon recent changes in issue-specific groups not sponsored by the government
government disposition toward faith-inspired NGOs, (such as water-user organizations, farmers’ collectives,
resumed working in Vietnam after a 32-year hiatus with and credit groups), has been spurred by involvement of
development programs focused on the most marginal- international NGOs and foreign donors.
ized segments of Vietnamese society.
Faith-inspired organizations in Vietnam are active
Oxfam Hong Kong has worked at the commune level among these organizations on a wide range of develop-
(but also with other levels of government) on issues ment work. Among the officially sanctioned organiza-
related to landmines, as well as construction of a water tions, the Buddhist Church of Vietnam is engaged in
supply system as part of a “Peace Village Project.” anti-drug and child welfare programs, and the Hoa Hao
The Peace Village is a de-mined area that provides organization asserts that it is involved in various chari-
housing and other infrastructure for 100 families that table activities and local development projects. Cardinal
have a member affected by “left-over” landmines. Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, the Archbishop of
Japan International Volunteer Center has created Ho Chi Minh City, has proposed that the Catholic
“Community Development Committees” in rural areas Church in Vietnam provide “educational training” to
of Vietnam to, among other activities, promote agricul- help the Vietnamese people (particularly those in large
ture and forest conservation that supports the livelihood cities) to address social issues of concern to the Church,
of community members, is environmentally sustain- including unrestrained consumerism, prostitution,
able, and is oriented toward promoting local owner- drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, among others. Vietnamese

Catholics and Buddhists have participated in interfaith been increased government overtures at foreign invest-
dialogues, encounters, and educational exchanges in ment; the World Bank argues that it is feasible that Laos
recent years to increase mutual understanding, and could graduate from the UN Development Program’s
also work together on social development issues. As list of least-developed countries by the target year 2020.
an example, Buddhist nuns were recently invited by
the Catholic Church to learn about the Church’s In terms of ethnicity, Laos is a very diverse country. The
social programs, and at least one nun is pursuing the Lao majority comprises 55 percent of the population,
experience with related studies at Ho Chi Minh City while the Khmou and Hmong make up 11 percent
Open University. Elsewhere in Ho Chi Minh City, a and 8 percent respectively; the remaining quarter of
Buddhist nun, Hue Tri, works with a Catholic social the population consists of over 100 minority ethnic
worker operating a “compassion house” that addresses groups. The minority ethnic groups lag behind the
the needs and problems of street children. Vietnamese national average for many development indicators cov-
Salesians (members of an international Roman Catholic ering health, education, and economic status. Though
charitable religious order) are engaged in social develop- literacy rates for the country as a whole increased from
ment work in other Asian countries. For instance, in 48 percent to 79 percent during the years 1980–2001,
Mongolia the Vietnamese Salesian mission runs a kin- the literacy rate for the Mon—Khmer ethnic group,
dergarten, a technical school, two farms, soup kitchens, for example, only reached 55 percent for males and 20
and a shelter for 120 disabled children. percent for females.

Some local Vietnamese NGOs have been able to con- Religion in Laos
tribute to government policy-making processes, while 67 percent of Laotians identify as Buddhist, and

other organizations have made some advancements Buddhism was the state religion of the Kingdom of
with issue-based advocacy. This is partly because of a Laos, the government in place prior to the communist
shift in law and policy-making away from a solely top- revolution in 1975. Theravada Buddhism was brought

down process, to one that mandates impact assessments to Laos in the eighth century by Mon Buddhist monks,


of new laws and the consultation of public opinion and many Laotian kings were patrons of Buddhism.
regarding the laws. The reforms have allowed NGOs The Pathet Lao communist movement that overthrew
greater access to lobby the government regarding devel- the Kingdom of Laos gained the support of some of
opment issues including HIV/AIDS. the sangha (Buddhist clergy), which was important to
their mobilization of popular support at the village level.
In the years immediately following the revolution, the
Laos practice of Buddhism waned; but in the late 1980s,
Socio-Economic Background with economic reform and political liberalization, there
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is one of the few was a marked resurgence of Buddhist religious activity.
remaining one-party Communist states in the world. Even earlier, the PDR government attempted both to
It is also one of the least developed countries in East influence and capitalize on Buddhism for specific politi-
Asia. About 31 percent of its population lives below cal goals: highlighting the stated compatibility between
the poverty line. It has the highest infant mortality rate Marxism and Buddhism at conferences, mandating a
in Asia apart from Afghanistan, and the 23rd highest prominent political component to the curriculum at
worldwide. Nearly 80 percent of the labor force works Buddhist schools, and allowing party members to partici-
in subsistence agriculture. pate in Buddhist ceremonies and be ordained as monks.

There are some signs of economic development hope in Today, Buddhism continues to be important in Laos,
the country. The government began decentralizing con- especially at the village level in the lowlands. The wat
trol over the economy and encouraging private enter- (Buddhist temple) is an important center of village life,
prise in 1986, which resulted in an average of 6 percent as a residence for monks, place for prayer sessions, and
annual growth from 1988 to 2008, excluding the Asian location for village meetings. Villages celebrate several
financial crisis years in the late 1990s. There have also major religious festivals throughout the year, including

the beginning and end of Buddhist lent and Vixakha grave or protracted illness. From these examples, among
Bouxa, the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, others, there is clearly a great deal of diversity within
and death of the Buddha. Traditionally in Laos, all men animist belief and practice among Laotian ethnic
are expected to spend time as monks or novices before minority groups.
marriage (and possibly in their later years), which brings
distinction to these individuals’ parents, and gives them In recent years, the Lao PDR government has taken
an important standing in the village. up a purge of animism, ostensibly because animism
is not “compatible” with the communist party ideol-
The small Christian minority in Laos, about 1.5 percent ogy. However, because of the fusion between animism
of the population, has faced persecution by the gov- and Buddhism, persecution of animist practices has
ernment (although evidently less in recent years than increased tensions between the government and the Lao

immediately following the 1975 revolution), according Buddhist sangha. Government repression continues to
to reports received by the UN and Western media, fall disproportionately on ethnic minority groups striv-
alleging that government forces have used violence to ing for greater autonomy, but who also largely belong
compel Christians to “prove” that they have given up to animist and Christian sects. It is often difficult to
their beliefs. disentangle political dissent from religious persecution
and government antagonism.
The worship of animist spirits, known as phi, is the
oldest religious practice in Laos, taking various forms NGOs, Politics, and Development
throughout the country; the second oldest, Theravada Though there are many challenges associated with
Buddhism, did not become widespread until the late development work in Laos, there is an active interna-
13th or early 14th century. In Laotian animism, phi tional presence with organizations doing a wide range
are omnipresent within living and non-living entities. of work. Many foreign, secular NGOs in Laos work
Animist shrines can be found throughout the country, specifically on issues affecting women and children in

and animist traditions are explicitly observed at most poverty, and actively engage faith-inspired organiza-

Buddhist wats in combination with Buddhist practices. tions. Examples of active American and European
At Wat Aham in the city of Luang Prabang, the servants organizations include Action with Lao Children, Agir
of Khun Borom, the mythical founder of the Lao race, pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire (Action for
are venerated as the guardian spirits (devata luang) of Women in Precarious Situations), Aide et Action, and
the city. The Lao Buddhist baci ceremony, which seeks Aide Odontologique Internationale (International
to bestow good luck upon an individual as they take a Dental Aid). Japan International Cooperation Agency
significant step in their life, derives from the worship of supports projects related to education, health, water
animist guardian spirits called khuan. resources, governance, social security, transportation,
natural resources and energy, private sector develop-
Although the syncretism between animism and ment, agricultural and rural development, and urban/
Buddhism is deep and pervasive throughout much of regional development.
Laos, the country’s ethnic minorities largely do not
display this integration of belief. Most of the Lao Soung In 2007, the UNDP and Lao PDR sponsored the
(collectively, the highland ethnic minority groups) and “Government-Civil Society Organisations Partnership
Lao Theung (the mid-slope minorities) are animists, for Poverty Reduction,” which included a conference
exhibiting various religious practices that have in com- for government officials to meet with leaders from
mon a cult of ancestors. The Lamet minority’s animist Lao civil society, as well as regional Asian government
beliefs involve every village having a spirit practitioner and civil society representatives, to discuss requisites
(called a xemia) who is responsible for making sacrifices for and obstacles to effective collaboration. In 2008,
to village spirits. According to the animist beliefs of the the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology
Hmong, there is a class of shamans above that of “ordi- Organizations and Voluntary Action Network India
nary” spirit practitioners that is able to directly contact hosted a capacity-building conference for civil society
spirits (neeb); this ability is evidenced by one surviving a organizations in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Despite the significant amount of work being done, rounding the groundbreaking ceremony of a nursing
Laos still faces many obstacles to sustainable peace and school and the Mother and Child Hospital.
development. Laos’ foray into the area of civil society
development is quite recent, with the government In recent years, there has been close collaboration
having only approved in April 2009 a decree to allow between Buddhist organizations and other entities
non-profit organizations to form and operate. So far, working on HIV/AIDS issues. Several organizations
the government has recognized few organizations under have worked in partnership with Population Services
this decree, and because the decree only became opera- International (PSI) to promote HIV/AIDS awareness
tional in November 2009, it remains to be seen how and prevention throughout the country. PSI works with
easy or difficult it will be for organizations to register. the Lao Buddhist Organization at traditional festivals
Future development will likely depend on the degree and concerts to promote the Buddhist message of vir-
to which Laos’ one-party system chooses to afford tue, emphasizing abstinence and safe sex. Champassak
civil society a voice on governance and development Province Buddhist Association worked with PSI in
issues. At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 2001 to develop a documentary on HIV/AIDS pre-
(ASEAN) People’s Forum/ASEAN Civil Society vention from a Buddhist perspective. PSI works with
Conference, Laos was one of five countries to reject its monks at the village level, where monks provide a venue
democratically selected civil society representative who (the village wat) and promotion for PSI’s video presen-
was to participate in the conference. tation on HIV/AIDS prevention. The Sangha Metta
Project, a Thai Buddhist organization, has worked in
Faith-Inspired Development Work Laos to train and equip monks, nuns, and novices to
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Church World work with communities to prevent AIDS and assist

Service (CWS) are both active in Laos. The latter spon- those living with the illness. It has also launched “Metta
sors initiatives such as the CWS Village Clean Water Tham,” a collaborative project between the Lao Sangha
Program, which operates in rural areas. The Adventist and the Department of Religion of the government’s

Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) aims to help Lao Front for National Construction.


Laos meet the UN Millennium Development Goals
and increase food security by working with communi-
ties in the model of sustainable development. ADRA Burma (Myanmar)
also operates health programs (including a youth HIV/ The Country in Context
AIDS education project, an ethnic minority health Burma, officially known as the Union of Myanmar
project, providing systems for clean water and sanita- since the military government changed its name in
tion, and advocating for a tobacco control law) and sup- 1989, is geographically the largest country in Southeast
ports the Community Initiative for Primary Education Asia. While religion is clearly a major part of Burmese
Development (CIED). identity and society, the role that religion plays in devel-
opment is severely cramped by the nation’s authoritar-
Organizations linked to engaged Buddhism have ian regime, and Burma (Myanmar’s) international links
implemented social and aid projects in Laos. The are constrained.
Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA), founded in 1980
by the Soto Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism, engages in Burmese culture reflects diversity of both people and
development, education, and cultural activities in Laos geography with an estimated 135 different ethnic
and other countries in Southeast Asia. The Buddhist groups officially recognized by the government and
Aid Center (BAC), a Japanese Buddhist NGO, has many others unrecognized. The nation has a rich
made building schools in Laos its main activity since Buddhist history; contemporary Burmese Buddhism
1993, and by 2004 it had constructed 102 build- shows influences both of international Buddhism and
ings (Mukhopadyaya). Also from Japan, World Wide Burmese indigenous beliefs.
Support for Development, with organization president
Mr. Handa Haruhisa, met directly with Laotian Prime Recent events have focused international attention on
Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh in January 2010 sur- Burma (Myanmar) and the repressive policies of the mili-

tary junta that has ruled the country since 1962. Aung tion programs.75 Years of oppression have given rise to
San Suu Kyi, recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and insurgencies which cause even greater human suffering
elected Prime Minister in 1990 elections, has been under and loss of life.
house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years, and remains so
despite increasing international pressure to allow her Despite substantial natural resources, poverty is a cen-
party to participate in the elections scheduled for 2010 tral fact of Burmese life today. Government controls
(she is, however, officially excluded from holding public and economic policies perpetuate poverty, especially in
office in Burma’s [Myanmar’s] Constitution).74 rural areas. Economic mismanagement and corruption
have prevented the majority of Burma’s population
The Saffron Revolution of 2007, when tens of thou- from benefiting from the country’s vast oil and gas
sands of monks took to the street in non-violent protest deposits. As the debacle surrounding Cyclone Nargis

against government oppression, highlighted tensions showed, government restrictions make international
and frustration with the ruling junta. The government assistance extraordinarily challenging and thus limited.
responded violently, killing protestors and civilians The United States has maintained economic sanctions
as it feared losing its grip on power. There was wide- against Burma since 2003 that, along with a poor
spread international criticism of the brutality. Lack of investment climate and the global economic crisis,
opportunity (especially for young people) in a country aggravate economic hardship.76 The military govern-
where the military controls even social mobility was a ment largely controls social and economic opportunity,
significant impetus for the protests, igniting a tradition and the private sector is very small, offering few alter-
of political protest that stretches back to the time of natives. These conditions have contributed to social
British colonial rule. unrest, most recently manifesting itself in the nation-
wide anti-government protests of September 2007.77
Burma was also shaken by the catastrophic 2008 The black market is a large source of economic activity,
Cyclone Nargis that destroyed countless towns and vil- estimated to be at least as large as the formal economy.

lages, killed tens of thousands, and displaced hundreds


of thousands more. Many deaths could have been pre- Almost 33 percent of the population falls below the
vented if the government had responded immediately to poverty line. Economic growth has decreased signifi-
offers of international help. During the disaster, national cantly since 2006, falling from 3.4 percent and to 1.1
faith-inspired organizations played a critical role in pro- percent in 2008. The poor education system perpetuates
viding assistance, filling the gap left by the absence of the poverty. Teacher pay is very poor and investment insuf-
government and international community. ficient. Though there is officially 90 percent enrollment
in primary school, UNICEF reports a 50 percent drop-
Non-state actors involved in social development in out rate before completion.78 Burma’s (Myanmar’s) low
Burma (Myanmar) face a wide array of challenges, rank on the global Human Development Index (138
including severe government restrictions, religious per- in 2009, life expectancy 61.2 years and PPP GDP per
secution, and lack of social opportunity. capita US$904) sums up the tragedy of its poverty and
missed opportunities.
Socio-Economic Background
Burma’s (Myanmar’s) population of approximately 42 Religion in Burma (Myanmar)
million is about 28 percent urban. Ethnically, the coun- A multi-country analysis that gauges governments’
try is diverse; 68 percent Burmans with other significant religious regulation, persecution, and favoritism ranks
ethnic minorities being the Karen (7 percent), Rakhine Burma (Myanmar) as the third most restrictive coun-
(4 percent), Chinese (3 percent), Mon (2 percent), try in the world, only behind Saudi Arabia and the
Indian (2 percent), and other (5 percent). The ethnic Maldives (see Figure 2).79 74 percent of the population
diversity has posed challenges to national integration. is Therevada Buddhist, and though Buddhism is not an
The military government oppresses certain groups, official national religion, it is actively supported by the
resulting in unpaid forced labor campaigns, scorched- government. Buddhist monks, including novices, num-
earth policies that destroy farmland, and forced reloca- ber more than 400,000. The hierarchy of the Buddhist


Religious Freedom Indicators

8.6 9.3
7.9 10

GRI: Government Regula- GFI: Government Favorit- SRI: Social Regulation of Religious Persecution,
tion of religion Index, 0–10, ism of religion Index, 0–10, religion Index, 0–10, low is 0–10, high is more
low is less regulation low is less favoritism less regulation persecution

Source: The Association of Religion Data Archives

sangha is quite tightly controlled by the government. Role of Faith-Inspired Actors

Religious organizations are tightly monitored and their Burmese social services and infrastructure are poorly
activities restricted. Government crackdowns are com- developed. The new capital of Naypyidaw has consis-
mon, especially visible after the pro-democracy monk tent electricity, well manicured gardens, and a modern
protests of 2008.80 zoo, while the rest of the country lives with intermittent
electricity, poor education, lack of opportunity, and

There are significant religious minorities, including limited social freedoms.82 The government operates a
Christian (seven percent), Muslim (four percent), and failed educational system, where teachers are poorly
Hindu (two percent). The religious diversity is closely paid. Non-governmental organizations work to com-

linked to Burma’s ethnic diversity, with most minority pensate for the many gaps and public sector failings,


religions concentrated within minority ethnic groups. and engage in all aspect of social development and
The Christian population has members from all ethnic humanitarian relief.
groups, but the Karen are the largest group. As a result,
persecution of minority ethnic groups by the military gov- Given the obstacles that international organizations
ernment has often coincided with religious persecution. face to work in Burma (Myanmar), faith-inspired
organizations, many with local roots, have been
The Muslim population, which comprises four percent of crucial in filling the gap. Community based monks,
Burma’s (Myanmar’s) population, faces particular hard- churches, and mosques work both independently
ship and discrimination against Muslims is widespread. and in collaboration with international organiza-
The majority of Muslims identify themselves as members tions. Cyclone Nargis highlighted the effectiveness
of the Rohingya ethnic group. The Rohingya are not offi- of many faith-inspired actors as first-responders to a
cially recognized by the military junta, and consequently humanitarian emergency. The Post-Nargis Recovery
do not have citizenship per se and do not receive state and Preparation Plan prepared by the government,
services. There are over 300,000 Rohingya refugees in the ASEAN, and the United Nations, specifically points to
country, and over 250,000 have fled to Bangladesh. the importance of community-driven recovery, noting
that at the village level the traditional social welfare
Faith in Burma (Myanmar) cannot be fully understood support systems, including faith-based structures
without taking into account indigenous beliefs, includ- (Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu) all played
ing animism, astrology, and spirits that are intertwined a role. Faith-inspired organizations were involved in
with Burmese culture and faith. Burma became inde- all stages of response, from initial humanitarian relief,
pendent in 1948, which astrologists believed was an to coordination and planning, to program implemen-
auspicious time, as was the case with relocation of the tation; their extensive network and presence helped
capital from Yangoon to Naypyidaw.81 many who were most in need.83

The government does not allow missionaries to operate;
however, Christian aid organizations, both international
and national, do operate, as do many socially engaged
Buddhist temples and monks. International faith-
inspired organizations include: the Christian Reformed
World Relief Committee (CRWRC), Kids Alive
International, Save the Children, and World Vision.
PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief ) works with Buddhist monasteries, including one
project where the monastery produced a soap opera that
was viewed by over a thousand people at an important

Buddhist festival. Temples, especially in rural areas, are

the center of religious and social life and in practice
often act relatively independently despite the many
restrictions imposed on the city based Buddhist sangha.

Part 4
Transnational Dimensions

he following sections examine the role of with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on
transnational faith-inspired organizations in November 6, 2009 pledging US$5.5 billion in aid over
Southeast Asia, particularly those from the the next three years.87 Overall, approximately 60 per-
wealthier countries in Asia, but also from the United cent of Japanese foreign aid goes to Asia, with emphasis
States and Europe. Religious and cultural ties, economic on country-focused and regional programs. Aid is given
and political interests, and historical circumstances in a wide variety of sectors, including infrastructure
all influence present day relationships, and common development, construction of schools and hospitals,
faith beliefs transcend national boundaries, drawing restoration and preservation of historical and cultural
faith-inspired organizations to contribute to a range sites, and human development. To that end, Japan
of work throughout the region. The country sections has involved a broad spectrum of organizations and

summarize information on the country context where institutions, including government and international
faith-inspired organizations are based, the factors that organizations, NGOs, and faith-inspired organizations.
facilitate regional roles, and the countries and sectors in

which organizations work. As in the country case stud- Japan allocates significant resources to development,


ies in section 3, the number of organizations working in making it one of the largest donors globally. Japan’s
the region is vast. The organizations listed are the most net ODA in FY2008 was US$9.4 billion, represent-
active and well-known, as well as smaller, lesser known ing an increase of over 8 percent from 2007. The
organizations that have made particular contributions government utilizes various mechanisms to distribute
at the regional level. foreign aid. The Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund
(OECF) was created in 1961 to extend low-interest
long-term funds to developing countries. The Japanese
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), established
Japanese Foreign Assistance in 1974, is one of the most active and largest govern-
Since the end of World War II, Japan has emphasized ment development agencies in the world, providing
Asia as a pillar of its diplomatic policy.84 Japan and assistance to over 100 countries. JICA is especially
Southeast Asia have especially strong interdependent active in Southeast Asia and engages with faith-inspired
ties, economically and politically. Japan began direct organizations throughout the region, an early example
dialogue with ASEAN countries in 1978, and views its being collaboration with a Buddhist organization,
relationship with the region as an important strategic Shanti Volunteer Association, during the Cambodian
partnership.85 Economically, Japan is the largest trading refugee crisis of the 1970s and 1980s.88
partner for ASEAN countries, followed by the United
States and the European Union. From 2002 to 2006 Japan is also one of the world’s largest donors to
Japan led the region in both Official Development international multilateral organizations, including
Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the
(FDI). 86 In Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma United Nations. In 2000, Japan initiated the US$360
(Myanmar), Japan is actively engaged in regional pro- million Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction at the Asian
grams for the development of the Mekong river basin, Development Bank and the Japan Social Development

Fund at the World Bank, both created with the mis- small scale infrastructure development), International
sion to provide direct assistance to the world’s poorest Planned Parenthood Federation, the Japan Trust Fund
and most vulnerable. In 2008, Japan saw an increase for HIV/AIDS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
in overall ODA, largely due to a rise in contributions Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
to international financial institutions, including a
contribution of US$1.06 billion to the United Nations. Religion
Additional prominent international Japanese develop- Religion in Japan historically has been influenced
ment initiatives include the United Nations Human by the major religions of Asia, notably Buddhism,
Security Fund (UNTFHS) (directed towards key the- Confucianism, and Taoism, yet religion in the country
matic areas including health, education, agriculture and has developed a character that is uniquely Japanese.

Box 10

Soka Gakkai

Soka Gakkai has its roots in Nichiren Buddhism and The quotation by Japanese author and critic Mimpei
is a lay organization founded in the 1930s by teach- Sugiura, in Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo
ers wanting to reform the Japanese education system. Shimbun, in the May 3, 1981, issue summarizes well the
There are now over 12 million members worldwide in work and approach of the organization:
192 countries following the Nichiren Buddhist teachings
The Gakkai’s greatest achievement lies in unleash-
for “empowerment and inner transformation or ‘human
ing the power of the people, of those at the very
revolution’ which enables individuals to take responsi-
lowest strata of society, and in revitalizing their
bility for their lives and contribute to building a world
lives. This, actually, is something that I have also
where people of diverse cultures and faiths can live in

devoted great energy to. . . . [After the Second

peace.” Though Soka Gakkai began in Japan, its world-
World War,] there were so many people suffer-

wide offices are independently operated and funded.

ing emotional or economic distress as a result of
Social development programming is for the most part
physical disabilities, illness, the loss of a spouse,
independently organized, ensuring a country specific
and so on. Determined to help them in any way
focus. Three of the most active and organized offices
I could, I went to villages and offered assistance
are located in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
and undertook various volunteer activities. I made
Soka Gakkai’s programs are unique in that as a general the Eighth Route Army of China [renowned for
rule, they do not provide material support. One story its selfless service to the people] one of my mod-
from Soka Gakkai in Cambodia illustrates how one indi- els. But it was no good. You can’t foster genuine
vidual worked to improve her community. independence in people merely through chari-
table deeds or donations of money. But helping
A woman called Samith decided that the wells
people become self-reliant is precisely what the
in her community needed to be cleaned. Every
Soka Gakkai has done.”
week from then on Samith took it upon herself to
clean the wells, without anyone paying her, and In addition to social development activities, Soka
without anyone asking or expecting any praise. Gakkai is an active advocate internationally in the
Eventually others joined in, but she began out campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons.
of a personal drive to contribute to her commu-
nity. It was not part of any formal program, but
an individual taking it upon herself to make her
community a better place.
—Anecdote from interview with Joan Anderson,
Office of Public Information—Tokyo Office

Buddhism and Shinto are Japan’s two major religions. Activities Legal Persons Law” state that nonprofit
Buddhism was first introduced to Japan in the 6th entities whose activities include promotion of health,
century, and today Japanese Buddhism is quite varied. welfare, education, community development, arts, cul-
Nichiren Buddhism is one strand that, in particular, has ture, sports, disaster relief, international cooperation, or
inspired social and development work both in Japan the administration of organizations engaging in these
and abroad. Buddhism has coexisted for centuries with activities can be established without approval by the
Shinto, which is indigenous to Japan, with both reli- government. In 2006, there were 237,167 registered
gions influencing each other to a degree. Shinto was the non-profit person entities in Japan, of which 183,894,
state religion of Japan from 1871 to 1947, but the con- or 77.5 percent, were religious or faith-based entities.
stitution mandated separation of church and state after
World War II. Shinto is a belief system in which spirits, Japan has a specific law dealing with Religious
or kami, if treated properly, will positively intervene in Corporations, shyuukyou houjin, (the Religious
one’s life. Many consider Shinto more about ritual than Corporation Law, Article 4 (1951) for entities whose
a religion, and this has allowed it to exist peacefully purpose is evangelizing, conducting religious rites, and
with Buddhism for centuries.89 Many Japanese consider educating and nurturing believers.91
themselves both Shinto and Buddhist, which lends spe-
cial difficulty to quantitative efforts to estimate Japan’s In the Japanese context, NGO refers specifically to
religious adherents. groups engaged in international cooperation activities.92
Some of the largest and most active faith-inspired organi-
Japan has witnessed the birth of a variety of “new reli- zations include Soka Gakkai International, The Buddhist
gions” (shinshukyo) stemming from both Buddhist and NGO Network of Japan, Tendai Shu’s Light Up Your

Shinto beliefs. The largest three new religions are Soka Corner Movement, Rissho Kosei-kai, Association for
Gakkai, Rissho Kose-kai, and Tenrikyo; all have been Renge-in Tanjoji International Cooperation (ARTIC),
very successful in exporting their beliefs and practices Shingon Risshu Volunteer Association, Shanti Volunteer

around the world. Soka Gakkai reports a presence in Association (SVA), Buddhist Aid Center (BAC), Relief


190 countries and is also highly involved in social devel- Assist Comfort Kindness (RACK), The Arigatou
opment work throughout Asia (see Box 10) Foundation, Ayus Buddhist International Cooperation
Network, Terra Net, International Shinto Foundation,
Japanese religion and beliefs have influenced attitudes World Mate, and World Vision Japan .
towards charity and social development. Buddhism is
seen to serve as a moral compass for social development
work, wherein societal harmony is held as the highest Korea
value.90 Virtually every Japanese Buddhist organization South Korea launched its official development assis-
engages in some sort of international relief or social tance (KOICA) program in 1991, after one of the
development activity. most rapid post-war industrialization and development
periods Asia has seen. Though comparatively Korea
Faith-Inspired Organizations and does not have a large presence on the international
Development in Japan and Abroad scene in terms of monetary amount, it is an influential
Many faith-inspired organizations in Japan are engaged actor in Southeast Asia. Korea modeled its foreign aid
in social development work, both throughout Asia and program after Japan, with a large component devised to
around the world. The large majority of the organiza- develop Korean industry, using both Korean supplies
tions stem from Japan’s numerous Buddhist sects, but a and technical materials. The foreign aid program also
smaller number of Christian and Shinto inspired orga- has a substantial training component. Korea relies heav-
nizations are involved in development work abroad. ily on Personal Voluntary Organizations and NGOs as
Japan has the most complex NGO framework in Asia, a component of its aid strategy.93
as well as the most comprehensive body of NGO clas-
sification. The 1991 “Approved Community-Based Korea is the most rapidly Christianizing (Protestant)
Organization Law” and the 1998 “Special Nonprofit country in the world. The Christian community in

Korea sends more missionaries abroad than any other is particularly active on government advocacy towards
country in the world, after the United States (see Box child rights, poverty, and HIV/AIDS, directly affecting
11). Many missionaries travel abroad under the guise government policy on child protection.95 The Adventist
of development workers.94 The recent kidnapping of 23 Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) works both in
missionaries in Afghanistan has elicited some discussion Korea and in Southeast Asia on food security, economic
in Korea about the sensitivities of sending missionaries development, primary health care, education, and
abroad, particularly to conflict zones. emergency management. Soka Gakkai International has
an active Korea branch, focusing on a range of issues
A range of faith-inspired development organizations are both in Korea and in cooperation with other faith-
active working both in Korea and abroad, representing inspired organizations, including Japanese-Korean rela-
various faiths. World Vision Korea, established in 1950, tions, intercultural relations, and youth development.

works in South Korea reaching out to low-income fami- Other faith-inspired organizations include Compassion
lies in urban areas, as well as abroad, supporting 155 South Korea, Caritas, Good People World Family, The
development and relief projects in 43 developing coun- World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth, Won Buddhist
tries, including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Youth Association, Habitat for Humanity Korea, and
Indonesia, and the Philippines. World Vision Korea Loving Concern International.96

Box 11

Korean Missionaries

One of the most prolific, influential, and at times Church were abducted in Afghanistan while proselytiz-
controversial faces of Korea in Southeast Asia is the ing. The event highlighted concerns about missionaries
explosion of Christian missionaries throughout the and the impact they have abroad. Faith-inspired orga-

region. Over the past half decade, Korea has expe- nizations in Southeast Asia have voiced some concerns

rienced one of the world’s largest growth rates of about the ramifications Korean missionaries can have
the Christian Church. The 1960 government census for faith-inspired development work, both Christian
recorded 600,000 Protestant Christians; the number and non-Christian. In Cambodia, one Catholic leader
had grown to nearly nine million Protestants and five suggested that Korean Christian missionaries some-
and a half million Catholics as of 2007. After the United times lack sensitivity to the local context, including
States, Korea sends the largest amount of Christian the indigenous Buddhist beliefs and the government’s
missionaries abroad. Between 2000 and 2006, the sensitivities to proselytization, especially when a mis-
number of missionaries abroad doubled, from 8,000 to sionary group links their charity to their belief in Jesus
over 16,000. As of 2008, the number was still increas- Christ. Another leader reported that negative per-
ing. The Korean World Mission Association reports 58 ceptions of insensitive missionary work have spillover
denominations and 217 mission organizations send- effects for all Christian organizations doing aid work,
ing 19,413 missionaries to 168 countries; nearly 12,000 regardless of their denomination or practice.
to Asia, of which 5,337 are in Southeast Asia. Included
Despite the tensions, Korean missionary groups are a
in these numbers is the Yoido Full Gospel Church
significant presence across the Southeast Asian faith
(Assemblies of God), the largest Christian church in
and development landscape. The general coordination
Korea, as well as the world’s largest congregation,
challenges that characterize much faith-inspired work
under the leadership of David Yonggi Cho. Yoido Full
seem to apply particularly to Korean groups, given a
Gospel Church sends missionaries throughout the
reluctance to engage in networking and coordina-
world, and it was reported that the church had 634
tion work. Efforts for engagement and interfaith dia-
missionaries worldwide in 2007.
logue with Korean missionaries have proved difficult,
Also in 2007, Korean missionaries gained international though all agreed that they are an important voice to
attention when 23 missionaries from the Saemmul call to the table.

A number of organizations, in addition to Southeast beliefs and rituals considered “traditional Chinese folk
Asia, have a particular focus on North Korea, address- religions.”97 There is officially a separation of Church
ing both the humanitarian needs of the North Korean and State, but Taiwanese culture is deeply influenced by
people and refugees, and laying a foundation of trust Buddhist and Confucian values, seen as important to
and understanding for the future opening of the coun- create a harmonious society.98 Some argue that political
try. Both World Vision (through local partner Korea cooperation with the government is an important value
National Economic Cooperation Agency and its South for the Confucian social ethic.99
Korea office) and ADRA (with an office in North
Korea) have active relief and development programs. As martial law of the 1940s to the early 1980s slowly
In 2005, as an example, ADRA opened a western style transitioned into a more liberal system of governance,
café in Pyongyang, and the organization has been in the civil society organizations and religious organizations
country since 1999 working in five provinces. Caritas flourished. The largest religious organizations emerged
works on advocacy for poverty reduction as a key com- during this time not in opposition to the government,
ponent of political and diplomatic efforts, as well as but with some degree of government cooperation that
implementing programs focusing on food aid, health, allowed them to grow and flourish over the decades.100
and agriculture. The DPRK government maintains As Taiwan’s economy began to grow in the 1960s, reli-
strict control over NGO activities in the country. Given gious organizations expanded their religious mandates to
the challenges, many faith-inspired organizations work include provision of social services. Many organizations,
through government partners and a range of United the largest with memberships in the millions, encourage
Nations organizations, including WHO, WFP, and their adherents to engage in social services. Faith-inspired
UNICEF, among others. organizations have played critical roles in supporting the

government’s democratization, health, and education
The Korean government is giving increasing priority to endeavors, as well as responding to natural disasters.
its role in Southeast Asia with larger investment in the

region. In 2009, the Korean government established an Religious organizations play a particularly important role


ASEAN center in Seoul to increase engagement with in delivering healthcare where the state cannot. In 1995,
regional leaders. Korean faith inspired actors are present although the government instituted a National Health
in almost all countries in Southeast Asia. Insurance system providing basic services to 95 percent
of the population, the state-financed medical institutions
cannot always reach the most destitute citizens who live
Taiwan in remote regions.101 As of March 2005, religious groups
Taiwan holds a unique position in Asia. An industri- were operating 32 hospitals, 43 clinics, 25 retirement
alized and developed nation, it is one of East Asia’s homes, 33 centers for the mentally handicapped, 14
“Economic Tigers,” and an economic powerhouse. Its handicapped institutions, 3 rehabilitation centers, 12
tenuous relationship with China presents particular dif- orphanages, and 39 nurseries in the country. Among
ficulties, but despite its political predicament, Taiwan these institutions, Tzu Chi operates a medical university,
has maintained high development indicators, includ- hospitals, and clinics around the country. Faith-inspired
ing strong commitment to religious freedom. A large groups are also active in education, having established
number of faith-inspired organizations work both in 352 kindergartens, 12 elementary schools, 41 high
Taiwan and overseas. Some Taiwanese organizations schools, 6 colleges, 14 universities, and 107 monasteries
play important roles in development in other Southeast and seminaries, as well as 147 libraries and 59 publish-
Asian countries, though their roles are in some places ing houses issuing 774 publications.102 Recognizing the
circumscribed by political factors. close relationship between faith-inspired organizations
and the Taiwanese government, in October 2008, the
About 35 percent of the population is Buddhist and 33 Taiwanese government held a ceremony honoring more
percent Taoist, with many people considering them- than 200 religious groups from all major religions rep-
selves adherents in some degree to both (2006 govern- resented in Taiwan, for contributions to public service,
ment statistics). Much of the population also follows social welfare, and social harmony.103

As of September 2008, 1526 religious organizations Taiwanese faith-inspired organizations are active
were registered with the government (750 at the national abroad as well as in Taiwan. Tzu-Chi operates in 51
level and 776 at the local level), belonging to 26 regis- countries around the world, including many coun-
tered religions and religious groups,104 compared to only tries in Southeast Asia. In October 2009, Tzu-Chi
17 in 1988.105 The majority of Taiwan’s faith-inspired volunteers provided emergency aid following flooding
organizations are Buddhist or Taoist. The largest and in the Philippines and an earthquake in Indonesia.
most active Buddhist organizations today working They provided goods and services including hot meals,
in Taiwan and abroad are Tzu-Chi, Fo Guang Shan, heavy machinery, temporary jobs for victims, and rain
Dharma Drum Mountain, and Chung Tai Shan. There boots. In commenting on the work of her organiza-
are a smaller number of Christian organizations, among tion, Master Cheng Yen, founder or Tzu-Chi, said “we
which World Vision has been in the country since 1950. should all unite together and cherish and respect our

The Ministry of Information in 2006 reported that land with the spirit of Great Love,” exemplifying the
roughly 18.72 million people in Taiwan are members of philosophy behind the Buddhist organization’s work.106
one or more religious groups, and that these groups are
actively engaged in many sectors in society.

Box 12

Tzu Chi

The Tzu Chi Foundation, a prominent Taiwanese- spiritual practice of Mahayana Buddhism, translat-
based Buddhist organization, is one of the largest ing Buddhist teachings into everyday practice for Tzu
philanthropic organizations in the world. Awarded the Chi’s members.

2008 Niwano Peace Prize for its peace and relief work
Tzu Chi began its international work in 1991, aiding

around the world, the organization was founded in

1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen at Pu Ming Temple typhoon victims in Bangladesh. Its international relief

on the east coast of Taiwan. It began as an organization work now reaches out to victims of violent conflict,
of 30 housewives who donated a portion of their gro- floods, drought, earthquakes, and other natural disas-
cery money to help others in the community. The orga- ters. Its activities focus on four areas: international
nization has since expanded to over 75 countries with disaster relief, a bone-marrow bank, environmental pro-
over 500 staff members giving material aid to those in tection, and community volunteer work. As a central
need and inspiring the Buddhist concept of compas- tenet of its work, Tzu Chi encourages disaster victims
sion in both the givers and receivers of its aid. Tzu Chi is to help those around them and thus also help them-
a spiritual as well as charitable organization, and relies selves to become more independent and involved in
strongly on volunteer work, combining Buddhist and rebuilding their own communities.
Confucian spiritual ethics with modern efficient man-
Tzu Chi remains non-political, raising the majority of its
agement, a factor in its longevity and success.
funds through small personal donations, often received
Master Cheng Yen believes that a root cause of many on a daily basis; daily smaller donations encourage
of the world’s problems is a “lack of love for others.” compassion on a daily basis. The organization has
Her goal is to serve all of humanity, creating a world of made important contributions to health, introducing
kindness, compassion, joy, and equality. She believes modern medicine, alongside the traditional spiritual
that in tackling the world’s problems, “we must begin healing of Buddhist temples. Tzu Chi attracts many
by transforming the human heart.” Master Cheng Yen women, both laywomen and nuns, following the char-
uses traditional Buddhist teachings to inspire her aid ismatic character of Master Cheng Yen, who many of
and relief work, focusing on the virtue of compassion, her followers believe to be an incarnation of the bohi-
and reinterpreting relief and volunteer work as a core sattva Guanyin.

Malaysia the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress and the Pan-
An Overview Malaysian Islamic Party.
Malaysia has been one of Southeast Asia’s top perform-
ing economies over the past two decades, and it is a Ethno-religious tensions have become more visible in
middle income country. Malaysia ranks 66 of 182 recent years. Church burnings in early 2010 were a reac-
countries in UNDP’s 2009 Human Development tion to a December of 2009 court ruling that allowed
Report. Malaysia’s influence in the region is substantial the Catholic weekly publication Herald to use the word
and growing. Malaysia has made purposeful, efforts “Allah” for God. This and other religiously linked ten-
to rebalance inherited ethnic inequalities, while try- sions are the topic of active dissent in Malaysia.
ing to maintain harmony and tolerance among its
multi-ethnic and religious society. Despite challenges, Islam, Ethnicity, and Development
it has enjoyed relative political stability, for which it Islam, religion, and ethnicity are explicitly addressed
has earned admiration in Southeast Asia and beyond. in Malaysia’s development planning, which historically
Recently, however, tensions among both ethnic and aimed to promote greater balance (largely political and
religious groups have mounted, and these tensions also economic) among the country’s ethnic groups. A series
have repercussions across Southeast Asia. of five-year economic development plans have aimed
to guide development. The Seventh Malaysia Plan
Islam plays a prominent role in cotemporary Malaysian (1995–2000), along with continued emphasis on pri-
culture, politics, and society, with about 60 percent vate sector growth and ethnic balance, reflects on and
of the population legally defined as Muslim. The further acknowledges the growing influence of Muslim
Constitution (Article 11) assures that “every person moral and ethical values.

has the right to profess and practice his religion” and
(Article 3) that “Islam is the religion of the Federation“. In the Foreword to the Seventh Plan, then Prime
All ethnic Malays are by law Muslim and are not Minister Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged that rapid

permitted to convert out of Islam. Proselytizing by economic growth in Malaysia had brought prosperity


non-Muslim groups, particularly in Muslim major- but also accompanying social problems, notably an
ity areas, is strongly controlled by the government.107 unequal distribution of wealth. The plan highlighted
Approximately 19 percent of the population identifies the need to incorporate moral and ethical values based
themselves as Buddhist, nine percent Christian, six on religion, customs, and tradition with economic
percent Hindu, and three percent Confucius, Taoist development as well as to “inculcate sound spiritual,
and other traditional Chinese religions. Religion and moral, and ethical values in order for Malaysia to
ethnicity are tightly linked in Malaysia; ethnic divisions become fully developed.”
remain distinct, and ethnic communities have tended
to be quite inwardly focused in terms of politics, educa- 2010 marks the final year of the Ninth Malaysia Plan,
tion, and economic activity. which broadly sought to elevate high-tech industry
development, increase knowledge-based capacity by
Malaysia’s quite secular traditions are coming under improving the school system, address socioeconomic
pressure today with several political groups pressing problems and decrease income disparity, and promote
for larger and more formal roles for Islam. The United development through international cooperation.
Malays National Organization (UNMO), Malaysia’s
largest political party, has significant political sway, Malaysia’s policies have favored ethnic Malay in an effort
and some observers argue, has been slowly integrating to rebalance inequalities. In 1971, the New Economic
Islamic law into the country over the past few years, Policy aimed to eradicate poverty for all Malaysians by
including Sharia courts for cases involving Malaysian increasing the Malay share of the national economy,
Muslims. The growth of the Islamic bureaucracy and also carrying over to areas including the civil service,
recruitment of Islam studies-trained graduates into housing projects, and higher education. Nominally
the civil service may be a contributing factor to this the plan has expired, but many of the quota policies
trend. Other ethno-religious political parties include continue, though in 2009, Prime Minister Najib Tun

Razak announced the abolition of the 30 percent Malay NGOs, Religious Organizations, and
requirement for corporate equity for some service sec- the Government
tors. Political opposition parties offered cautious support Malaysia’s NGO sector is diverse, with both regional
for constitutional reform and an end to the positive dis- and international organizations. Many faith-inspired
crimination policies.108 All Malaysians are still required organizations are active in supporting development
to list their religion on their identity cards, a move which and humanitarian/disaster relief at home and abroad,
many non-Muslims view as discriminatory. including the Southeast Asia region. Malaysia’s devel-
oped economy and infrastructure facilitate its role as a
Malaysia is a regional leader on education and is actively regional hub for many NGOs.
positioning itself as an education hub for international
students. Many come from the Muslim world, though The government Registrar of Societies has authority

data is partial and not readily accessible.109 Malaysia’s for registering religious organizations, thereby qualify-
educational systems still show the influence of a Muslim ing an organization for government grants and other
bearing, and the role of Islam in education has been benefits, while some report a tendency to favor Muslim-
and remains a subject for political as well as educational inspired organizations.
debate. Islam is the only religious instruction provided
in public schools, though non-Muslims are not required Islamic faith-inspired organizations active on humani-
to study Islam. tarian relief and development include Islamic Relief
Malaysia, which implements relief programming in
Southeast Asia and around the world and has been
active in Indonesia since 2000, providing disaster relief

Box 13

The Hajj Fund and Islamic Banking in Malaysia


Malaysia has emerged as an international center on on a commitment to spiritual values, socio-economic

Islamic Finance. In 1962, Malaysia established the justice, and human brotherhood.
“Tabung Haj” or “Hajj Fund” for Muslims to save money
Built on the principles of Sharia, the Bank Islam of
to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj Fund, allows
Malaysia operates with no interest-based transac-
Muslims to save without being involved in an interest-
tions. The government funded the bank at its outset,
based system. The Islamic banking system was born
but now owns only 13 percent of the Bank, which is
out of this fund.
listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. Since
Islamic banking, based on the principles of Sharia, the formation of Bank Islam Malaysia numerous other
adhere to several principals including prohibition of banks have begun to offer interest-free transac-
riba or usury (removing the payment or acceptance tions. The Central Bank of Malaysia reports that 17
of interests on loans). Banks that follow Sharia are pro- licensed Malaysian Islamic banks and four interna-
hibited from investing in anything considered haram tional Islamic banks operate in the country. In 2009,
and forbidden under Islamic law from partaking in a Prime Minister Najib observed that Islamic finance
business operation that may deal with anything accounted for 19 percent of Malaysia’s bank-
haram. “Ethical investing” and “moral pur- ing assets. Many Muslim development
chasing” are encouraged. Some of the NGOs have ventured into microfinance
micro-lending institutions that are following Islamic banking standards,
active throughout Muslim Southeast both in Malaysia and abroad. All banks
Asia, notably Malaysia, Indonesia and in Malaysia that are Islamic or follow
Bangladesh, operate with Islamic prin- Islamic banking practices are required to
ciples in mind. Islamic banking is based display the Perbankan Islam logo (left).

and post-disaster rehabilitation assistance. The Muslim vides assistance to orphans and other disadvantaged
Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) frequently takes young people in Vietnam; Singapore’s Think Centre
vocal stances in support of Muslim causes around which works on strengthening civil society within the
the world, notably Albanian Muslims in Bosnia and country and partners with organizations, including
Palestinians. In 2001, ABIM launched Misi Keamanan the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN);
Sejagat (Global Peace Mission) to provide humanitarian The Canadian think tank International Development
aid, education and health care to displaced Afghans; 64 Research Centre (IDRC), which has their Southeast
other NGOs, including Christian, Buddhist and secular Asian/ East Asian headquarters in Singapore; and the
organizations have joined the cause.110 Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, whose research
addresses a wide variety of region specific issues, includ-
World Vision Malaysia (Christian) operates in Malaysia ing those related to faith. Singapore is home to many
with the specific mandate to raise funds and awareness universities, an example being the Lee Kuan Yew School
for communities overseas, particularly in Southeast Asia. of Public Policy in the National University of Singapore.
Some other examples of non-Muslim organizations in
Malaysia (some with regional mandates) include the Singapore’s government has actively sought to foster
Tzu Chi Foundation (Buddhist), The Baha’i Center, understanding among Singapore’s diverse ethnic and
the Adventist Development and Relief Organization faith groups. Approximately 77 percent of Singaporeans
(Christian), and the Salvation Army (Christian). are Chinese, 14 percent are Malay, 8 percent are Indian,
and 1.5 percent belong to other ethnicities. By religion,
Given Malaysia’s pluralistic ethnic and religious charac- approximately 42 percent are Buddhist, 15 percent are
ter, Malaysia is home to numerous interfaith initiatives, Muslim, 9 percent are Protestant Christian, 9 percent

both national and international. Examples include the are Taoist, 5 percent are Catholic, 4 percent are Hindu,
Malaysia Interfaith Network, which among its activities 1 percent follows other faiths, and 15 percent claim no
works on governance issues, and the United Nations religious affiliation. The government mandated “inter-

Population Fund interfaith forum “Strengthening racial and religious confidence circles” (IRCCs) in the


Partnerships with Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) in wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. IRCCs are
Addressing ICPD,” involving both Malaysian and Asian informal entities intended to promote knowledge and
faith-inspired organizations.111 understanding among religious and ethnic groups and
also to keep track of grievances and signs of conflict at
the community level (information which the national
Singapore government also utilizes).
Singapore has the 8th highest per-capita GDP in the
world, the world’s lowest infant mortality rate, and Several faith-inspired organizations in Singapore are
reports that none of its population lives below the involved in socio-economic development and relief
poverty line. This success is partly attributable to an work in Southeast Asia, including interfaith efforts,
economic strategy adopted in the 1960s that was pro- despite some challenges of government restrictions.112
business, pro-foreign investment, and export-driven, The organization Mercy Relief brings together
combined with investments in strategic state-owned Singaporean youth from different faith communities
corporations that were directed toward the government. to work on humanitarian charity projects in the region,
Its achievement in promoting social harmony in its addressing both disaster relief and longer term devel-
diverse population is another factor in Singapore’s suc- opment issues, including through a partnership with
cess, as is heavy investment in education and aggressive Soka Gakkai. Jamiyah Singapore, a Muslim missionary
campaigns to stop corruption. and humanitarian organization, collaborates with non-
Muslim religious organizations, including recent joint
Singapore plays an important regional role. As a leader efforts with the Singapore Hindu Endowments Board
in development in the region, several regional secular to raise money for earthquake victims in China and
organizations have their headquarters in Singapore, Myanmar. The Baha’i community office of interfaith
including the Gentle Fund Organization, which pro- activities addresses significant work with youth. World

Vision’s Singapore office works both in Singapore and climate change. Climate change in particular has attracted
throughout Southeast Asia. recent much attention, specifically as a likely cause of
migration from Southeast Asia countries to Australia.
Faith-inspired NGOs have focused on migrant worker
rights. Most of these organizations are attached to local The largest faith-inspired development organization
churches that provide pastoral services, training courses, active in Southeast Asia, with respect to reach and bud-
and leisure-time activities. HOME, a secular NGO, has get, is World Vision Australia, with around 50 percent
partnered with faith-inspired organizations at home of all overseas giving. World Vision Australia works
and abroad, particularly through the Catholic Church, with youth on education, health, child protection, and
notably the Scalabrini Sisters in the Philippines.113 governance, as well as engaging in interfaith work on
disaster relief and conflict resolution. Within Australia

as well, World Vision has been influential in advocacy

Australia work with the government for involving civil society in
Australia is active in all Southeast Asian countries social development work, as well as continuing support
in many domains, including economics, education, for international development through the most recent
and diplomacy. Australia is a quite secular country, world economic crisis.114
but its religious communities tend to have strong
ties to neighboring countries, and immigrant com- Apart from World Vision, there are numerous other
munities, especially from Indonesia, are increasingly Christian organizations involved in international
active in Australia. This is giving rise to a progressively development work. In 2009, the top 10 NGOs in
more energetic set of organizations and influences. Australia raised $0.6 Billion, 70 percent of which
With religious tensions mounting in the region, the was for faith-inspired organizations.115 Jesuit Refugee
Australian government and civil society have focused Service works with refugees and asylum seekers in
quite sharply on religion and particularly on interfaith Australia and the Southeast Asia region, as well as on

dialogue and action. This stance was one reason why advocacy and capacity building within the Church and

the World Parliament of Religions met in Melbourne in with civil society on displacement in Southeast Asia
December, 2009, and Australia has supported interre- and the Pacific. The Adventist Development and Relief
ligious dialogue in Indonesia and elsewhere over many Agency Australia (ADRA) works across the Mekong
years. It is in this context that Australian faith-inspired region and the Pacific on a broad spectrum of relief
organizations are active participants in development activities, including food security, civil society strength-
discussions and action across the region. ening, health, education, economic development, and
emergency management, collaborating with local orga-
Australia is one of the largest aid donors in the Pacific nizations on project implementation. Other Christian
Rim, forecast to provide US$3.8 billion of total official faith-inspired organizations include, Caritas Australia,
development assistance (ODA) in 2009–2010. Of Christian Child Fund, Christian Blind Mission, YWCA
this figure, US$2.82 billion is to go to the Asia Pacific Australia, TEAR Australia, Sisters of Mercy, Assemblies
region. Australia is an influential actor in regional devel- of God in Australia World Relief, Australian Relief and
opment policy, with significant development interests Mercy Services (ARMS), Baptist World Aid Australia,
and activities throughout Southeast Asia. Feed The Hungry Australia, Habitat for Humanity
(Australia), and Palms Australia.
As a proportion of total Australian development assis-
tance, the percentage of development funds going to or A significant number of Muslim organizations are
through faith-inspired organizations is relatively small. involved in development work in Southeast Asia
However, Australian faith-inspired organizations are countries. Muslim Aid, one of the largest, supports
actively engaged in relief and development work across programming both in Australia and aboard. The
Southeast Asia on topics including corruption, good gov- Baha’i community works both in Australia and
ernance, humanitarian relief, health, children and youth, abroad as well with a particular focus on indigenous
education, human trafficking, and the environment and rights in Australia.

United States and Europe AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This offers an example of
The private roles of faith-inspired organizations from a program which has worked purposefully to engage faith
the United States and Europe across Southeast Asia are communities. In 2007, 34 percent of PEPFAR funds went
varied and, at times, a significant contributor to devel- to faith-inspired organizations.119 Cambodia, Indonesia,
opment policy dialogue and programs in the region. Of and Thailand are among PEPFAR’s target countries.
particular note is their dynamic and significant presence
during major humanitarian emergencies, notably the The US government gives particular focus in its Asia
2004 tsunami. Areas of focus include human rights, Pacific strategy to regional cooperation, and it aims to
trafficking of people, education, health, conflict resolu- emphasize regional responses as opposed to bilateral,
tion, and environmental protection. This section briefly and increase coordination with the key donors in the
highlights some major institutions and trends as they region, including Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
apply in Southeast Asia. The Berkley Center reviews USAID’s total request for funds for the East Asia/Pacific
that focused on the United States and on Europe region for fiscal year 2009 was approximately US$544
address the range and scope of faith-inspired work in million.120 Apart from government funding, US foun-
those regions in far greater depth.116 dations and private organizations actively work with
faith-inspired organizations. The Asia Foundation is an
United States example of a foundation that works closely with faith-
The large and diverse United States faith-inspired inspired organizations and the government.
development community is active in most all Southeast
Asian countries. The actors range from large interna- Europe
tional organizations such as World Vision and Catholic Religious leaders and faith-inspired organizations

Relief Service, to local churches, temples, and mosques engage actively in social dialogue and development,
engaged in community level relief and development; both within Europe and abroad, including Southeast
their work includes fund-raising, collection of mate- Asia. The share and form that this takes varies accord-

rial donations, and short and long-term missions. The ing to the statutes and traditions of each country in


US government quite actively involves faith-inspired relation to religion. Of the European Union’s (EU) 27
organizations in its development strategy, both domes- member-states, five have state religions,121 and Sweden
tically and internationally. The United States Agency legally separated church and state in 2000. Faith-
for International Development (USAID), has a small inspired organizations within the European Union
office for “faith-based and community initiatives,” receive subsidies both at the EU level and by national
which engages organizations working worldwide, governments. Austria, Denmark, Norway, Fin land,
including in Southeast Asia. Between 2001 and 2005, Greece, and Italy all subsidize faith-inspired organiza-
USAID financing of faith-based organizations abroad tions. France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden
doubled.117 The United Board for Christian Higher are constitutionally secular states but provide direct
Education in Asia, as an example, works with Christian or indirect subsidies for institutions associated with
colleges and universities in the Philippines, Taiwan, recognized faiths, including religious schools and social
Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, with and health services. In Germany, the Protestant and
USAID funding. The United Methodist Committee on Roman Catholic churches, as well as Judaism (though
Relief is presently engaged in Southeast Asia as well with not Islam—the third largest faith in the country), are
USAID support, working in Burma (Myanmar) and entitled to federally collected church taxes and have
Indonesia on disaster relief assistance. In 2006, mem- the right to run state-subsidized religious social services
bers of InterAction, the largest coalition of U.S.-based and hospitals. In France, 25 percent of students attend
international NGOs, of which many are faith-inspired, publically funded Catholic schools.122
managed $2.8 billion in U.S. overseas development
assistance and $6 billion in private funds.118 International aid in the European Union is chan-
neled through two primary institutions: ECHO
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (European Community Humanitarian Aid Office) and
has a 5 year, US$48 billion budget to combat global HIV/ the European Commissions’ External Co-operation

Programs office (EuropeAid). On a country level, most
EU countries have some form of institutionalized for-
eign aid mechanism, whether at the national level, or
decentralized through state registered organizations (ex.
churches, temples, or mosques). The largest European
country donors include France, United Kingdom,
Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and Italy. Newly
admitted countries to the EU are also creating interna-
tional development agencies. Many international orga-
nizations headquartered in Europe work in Southeast
Asia, including many United Nations institutions that

cooperate to a degree with faith- inspired organizations

(WHO, UNESCO, WFP, and FAO are examples).

Many European based faith-inspired NGOs work in

Southeast Asia. Islamic Relief, headquartered in the
United Kingdom, is one of the largest Muslim-inspired
aid organizations in the world, and is active in mul-
tiple countries in Asia, including a large program in
Indonesia. Caritas Internationalis, one of the largest
and most active Catholic Charities in world, headquar-
tered in the Vatican, has many programs in Southeast
Asia, with a regional office located in Bangkok. Caritas
Internationalis was one of the first responders to

Cyclone Nargis in Burma (Myanmar), working through


local partners and Catholic networks to reach difficult

to access locations. Other large European faith-inspired
organizations include Cordaid (Netherlands), Muslim
Aid (UK), Christian Aid (UK), Catholic Agency For
Overseas Development (CAFOD) (UK), Progressio
(UK), Tearfund UK, and World Vision Germany.

Appendix 1
Annotated Bibliography

Achacoso-Sevilla, Luningning, ed. The Ties that Bind: Population system,” and its weakness in disciplining private sector activity, as a
and Development in the Philippines. 2nd ed. Asian Institution of main factor in the economic-political problems that have mired the
Management, Policy Center. Makati City, Philippines. 2004. country since then.
This book discusses the correlation of population growth in the
Philippines with issues of food security, health, housing, basic educa- Beng Huat, Chua. Singapore: A report on civil society organiza-
tion, and government resources. It raises interesting debate vis-à-vis tions and activities. “Presented at Conference—Preliminary Asian
the Catholic’s Church stance on contraception and birth control. Cultural Forum—Connecting Networks.” Singapore: National
University of Singapore, 2005.
Agricultural Land Redistribution: Toward Greater Consensus. The Chua’s paper describes how arts, green, religious, and women’s
World Bank. Chapter 8. Washington: The World Bank, 2009. organizations (aided in part by a high level of internet connectivity) within Singaporean civil society are advancing change and to some
Redistribution.pdf. degree contesting the status quo-conserving People’s Action Party
Chapter 8 includes a discussion of Philippine land reform, and
the challenges and emerging issues surrounding land reform. Of
particular importance for this report is the discussion on the role Bertrand, Jacques. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia.
of the Catholic Church in the pro-peasant movement encouraging China Everbest Printing Company. 2004.
rural farmers to claim rights to their land.
Bertrand argues that recent ethnic and religious conflicts in
Indonesia are the result of the constraints imposed by Suharto’s

ASEAN Cooperation on Environment. Association of Southeast Asian regime, which left the country unprepared for political and social
Nations. Jakarta: ASEAN, 2009. change. Consequently, the definition of the Indonesian nation
and what it means to be Indonesian has come under scrutiny. The
This section gives a general overview of programs, plans, initiatives author examines religious and ethnic conflict within the complex
and priority areas developed by ASEAN to address environmental

Indonesian context.
issues that affect Southeast Asia. It also outlines the governance


structure of ASEAN as it pertains to implementing or addressing the
above. A useful reference for examining regional cooperation around Boomgard, Peter. Southeast Asia: An Environmental History. Santa
the environment in Southeast Asia. Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007.
Boomgard’s book gives a thorough environmental history of
Baharuddin, Azizan. “Rediscovering the Resources of Religion.” in Southeast Asia, from prehistoric times to the present day, culminat-
The Lab, The Temple and the Market: Reflections at the Intersection of ing in the ecological effects of recent economic and population
Science, Religion and Development. Sharon M.P. Harper, ed. Ottawa: growth, as well as touching on the complex interplay between
Kumarian International Development Research Center, 2000. religion and the environment in the region, and how that has
affected society. It is of particular interest for gleaning insight into
Commissioned by the International Development Research Center, the role of religion confronting the environment today in light of a
this book offers analyses on how different religions intersect with modernizing society.
development and humanitarian work. Coming from the perspective
that development organizations have been overlooking the role and
influence of religion on peoples’ lives, development, and economic Candland, Christopher, and Nurjanah Siti. “Women’s Empowerment
growth, it offers perspectives from practitioners of different faiths through Islamic Organizations: The Role of the Indonesia’s Nahdlatul
and their reflections on the Church, Hinduism, the World Bank, Ulama in Transforming the Government’s Birth Control Programme
and the connectedness of religion and development. The authors into a Family Welfare Programme.” February 2004. http://www.
argue that religion and personal faith can make positive contribu-
tions to development.
The essay contains information about Nahdlatul Ulama’s family
planning campaign as well as the varied role of women and women’s
Bello, Walden, et al. The Anti-Development State: The Political organizations across the country. The social welfare of Muslim
Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines. New York: Zed organizations, the authors argue, go beyond a Muslim’s individual
Books, 2005. obligation to aid the poor through zakat, and that some organiza-
tions have become important agents for social change.
Bello and his co-authors attempt to explain the problems with pov-
erty and underdevelopment that the Philippines has faced since the
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) “revolution,” which unseated Chandler, David. A History of Cambodia. Chiang Mai Thailand:
dictator Ferdinand Marcos. They specifically blame the “EDSA Silkworm Books, 2008.

David Chandler provides an in-depth analysis of Cambodian Epley, Jennifer. “Development Issues and the Role of Religious
history, with notable attention to the reign of Pol Pot, the Prince, Organizations in Indonesia.” Studies on Asia, Series II. vol. 1, no. 1
and the period following the Vietnamese invasion in 1979. He pays (Fall 2004).
special attention to the implications of recent history on present day
The paper provides a general framework to analyze the intersection
Cambodia, as well as an analysis of Cambodia in face of the changes
of economics, religion, and politics with regards to development
presented to society by globalization.
issues in Indonesia. Case studies on Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul
Ulama are included, with information about their family planning
Cheng, Tun-jen and Deborah A. Brown. Religious Organizations and campaign, as well as about religion and development in Indonesia
Democratization: Case Studies from Asia. Armonk, New York: M.E. more generally.
Sharpe, Inc. 2006.
This book includes a case study on Taiwan and the role of Buddhist Farkas, Jami. “The Growing NGO Lobby in Vietnam.” Nguoi-viet.
organizations throughout Taiwanese history and their relation- com. 6 Dec 2008. Report in http://
ships with different systems of government. Addresses the role of

organizations in bolstering social services where government was 6f5298a3c964965a3e969fddc801.

lacking and their relationships with authoritarian governments and
As recounted in this article, changes in government policy making
democratic ones. The author displays that Buddhist organizations
in Vietnam, which mandate impact assessments for and the consul-
have been an important actor in social service provision in Taiwan.
tation of public opinion regarding new laws, have given NGOs in
Vietnam greater ability to influence government activity with regard
“Christians allegedly persecuted in Laos, ministry denies charges.” to their sectoral concerns.
Radio Free Asia. 21 March 2007.
Fontein, Jan, and Marijke Klokke, eds. Narrative Sculpture and
This report recounts assertions by Lao exiles in France describing Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia (Studies in Asian Art
expulsions by Laotian government forces of Lao ethnic minority and Archaeology). Boston: Koln Brill, 2000.
Christians who refuse to renounce their faith. The report also cites
A study of how ancient India’s incredibly rich literary heritage has
government responses describing any conflict in Christian ethnic
been visually represented. Numerous temples, not only in South
minority areas as “local” issues that are not based on religion because
Asia, but also in Southeast Asia, carry the images of India’s great
Laos “has a law guaranteeing religious freedom.” It raises the often
narratives. This text gives attention to those in Karnataka (India),
close relationship between ethnic and religious conflicts.
Java (Indonesia), Angkor (Cambodia), and Tra Kieu (Vietnam). It

discusses theoretical aspects, provides interpretations, and proposes

interpretations through advanced comparative and contextual

Cima, Ronald J., ed. Vietnam: A Country Study. Washington: GPO

for the Library of Congress, 1987. approaches. Useful in examining the continued influence of Indian
culture and Hinduism in Southeast Asia.
This volume includes a discussion of Buddhism and Catholicism
in Vietnam (and a short section about some of the smaller, native
Vietnamese religious groups), including the creation of government- “Foreign Religious Organizations in Vietnam: Law and Practice.”
sanctioned churches to control religious practice in the country. Fund for Reconciliation & Development. 2004.
Clarke, Gerald, and Michael Jennings, eds. Development, Civil This background paper discusses the legal status of foreign reli-
Society, and Faith-Based Organizations. New York: Palgrave gious organizations in Vietnam and how they are able to operate
Macmillan, 2008. because of and despite of that status. It notes that while the Bush
Administration and the Christian Right have criticized Vietnam
This book contains discussions of the intersection of faith, develop- for violations of religious freedom, the experience of some foreign
ment, and civil society in broad terms, as well as Chapter 6 focusing religious organizations provides an alternative, more nuanced view
on the role of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines’ of the state of religion in present-day Vietnam.
involvement in electoral politics and promoting citizen engagement
after the Marcos regime.
Friend, Theodore, ed. Religion and Religiosity in the Philippines and
Indonesia. Washington: Southeast Asia Studies Program, 2006.
Darlington, Susan M. “The Ordination of a Tree: The Buddhist
Ecology Movement in Thailand.” University of Pittsburgh- Of the The essays in this book deal with different topics related to religion and
Commonwealth System of Higher Education. Ethnology, vol. 37, society in the Philippines and Indonesia, taking a comparative look, and
no. 1 (Winter, 1998): pp. 1–15. trying to tease out the complexities of faith and its relationship to social
dynamics. The authors find that while neither country promotes a state
An account of how monks in Thailand have used tree ordination religion, both lack partitions between church and state.
for environmental protection, in light of changing societal pressures
in Thailand. A particularly interesting argument on the evolving
relations between religion and the state in light of modernization “Girls’ and Women’s Education in Indonesia.” UNESCO Bangkok
and development. Office

An overview of the shortcomings in gender equality in the author’s analysis of Islamic influence on education in Malaysia
Indonesian school system, exploring both religious and secular and Cambodia highlighted regional tensions around the content
schools, and the various actors that are involved in education in of Islamic education, ramifications on relations between diverse
Indonesia, including state, non-state, and religious actors. The main Muslim communities, and the political ramifications at the national,
challenges to girls in attending school, the author states, are: limited regional, and international levels.
family income; distance of schools; traditional role of women in
society; limited access to scholarships. The author proposes strategies
to increase girls’ access to education at all levels. Includes statistics Hertzke, Allen. Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for
and data. Global Human Rights. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.
This influential book analyzes the increasing trend of collaboration
between affected groups on international issues of human rights,
“Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.” United Nations Office on
social justice, and religious freedom in particular. He cites specific
Drugs and Crime. New York: UNODC, February 2009.
examples, from human trafficking to Tibet to Darfur as areas around
This report first gives an overview of the global situation of human which religions are working together for a common cause. In the
trafficking, and then provides country profiles (categorized by case of Southeast Asia, the phenomenon that Hertzke describes is
region) for 155 UN member states regarding the status of human of particular importance for human trafficking, given its regional/
trafficking within each. transnational character.

Goldoftas, Barbara. The Green Tiger: The Costs of Ecological Decline Hertzke, Allen. “The Globalization of Religious Advocacy in
in the Philippines. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. America.” E International Relations. 28 February 2010. http://
This volume serves as a reference on the Catholic Bishop’s
Conference of the Philippine’s (CBCP) actions on deforestation, Allen Hertzke examines the role of international religious networks
as well as some of the Catholic Church’s broader environmental in engaging international relation and social causes across borders.
activism. The author finds that religious organizations, the govern- He cites human trafficking and track-two diplomacy as two areas
ment, and NGOs, all have deeply rooted views on the environment, of increased involvement. Globalization, he argues, has heightened
economic development, and environmental degradation, and that international awareness and increased engagement by religious

their inclusion in policy discussions may contribute slowing the interest groups. His analysis of involvement in human trafficking is
process of strengthening democratic institutions, but cooperation on of particular interest in the Southeast Asia context.
environmental work can contribute to constructive progress.

Hing, Lee Kam, and Tan Chee Beng. The Chinese In Malaysia


Gosling, David L. Religion and Ecology in India and Southeast Asia. (South-East Asian Social Science Monographs). Oxford: Oxford
New York: Routledge, 2001. University Press, 2000.
Chapter 5 of this book discusses the connections between ecology This is a comprehensive study of one of the three major ethnic
and Buddhism, contextualizing it within the development of the groups which make up the Malaysian society and nation, covering
latter. Chapter 6 is a case study of Buddhist ecological thought and the historical, economic, political, and socio-cultural development
action in Thailand, discussing the contributions that notable Thai of the Chinese in Malaysia.
Buddhist figures such as Buddhadasa Bhikku and Sulak Sivaraksa
have made in this area.
“Hmong Suffer Religious Persecution in SE Asia.” Center for Public
Policy Analysis. Nong Khai and Washington: Center for Public
Handley, Paul M. The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Policy Analysis, 7 May 2009. Web.
Bhumibol Adulyadej. Yale University Press, 28 July 2006. WO0905/S00160.htm.
The author provides a provocative account of the king’s life, from This press release describes some of the recent campaigns and
a childhood in the West to ascending to the thrown in Thailand. operations against dissident Hmong ethnic and/or religious groups
Of particular relevance for this report is the author’s account of (mostly Buddhist and Christian) by the Lao People’s Army and
how the king today remains a symbol of unity despite the political government security forces. In some cases, the Thai government has
tensions that are boiling in the country. Especially interesting is the helped these organs of the Laotian state track down, harass, capture,
discussion of how the king, born in the United States and raised in forcibly repatriate, or even kill Hmong who have fled into Thailand
Switzerland, came to hold the status of bodhisattva. (including some Lao American citizens).

Hefner, Robert, ed. Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islamic “Lao Government and civil society move closer to one another.”
Education in Southeast Asia. Hawaii University Press, 2009. United Nations Development Programme. New York: United Nations
Development Programme Newsroom, 17 Oct 2007. http://content.
Robert Hefner, in this edited volume, brings to light the challenges
and realties facing Islamic education in Southeast Asia, particu-
larly post September 11, 2001. His purpose in writing the book
is to “shed light on the varieties and politics of Islamic education In this press release, UNDP discusses a conference held in Vientiane,
in modern Southeast Asia.” For the purpose of this report, the Laos in late August, 2007, which included as participants Lao govern-

ment officials, members of Lao civil society, and government and This article details the gains in freedom of worship (which are
civil society representatives from several South Asian and Southeast partly due to the Vietnamese government’s 2004 Ordinance on
Asian countries. In general, this conference was aimed at helping the Religion) that some Catholics in Vietnam have enjoyed, particularly
Lao government understand the potential role for Lao civil society in compared to other faiths. There are, though, still challenges for
development and, related to this, beginning to create a framework for Catholics, the article notes; the Vietnamese government still does
future cooperation between government and civil society. not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and some Catholic
clergy continue to be persecuted and imprisoned for “unpatriotic”
“Lao PDR Approves Decree for Non-Profit Associations.”
International Center for Not-For-Profit Law. Washington:
International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, 21 May 2009. http:// “Overview of NGOs and Civil Society: Philippines.” Asian Development Bank, 2007.
In this press release, the ICNL announces the promulgation by the
Lao government of a decree regarding the regulation and operation This report provides an overview of the topography of NGOs and

of NGOs in Laos. The decree authorizes the Public Administration civil society in the Philippines, their history, legal status, staff and
and Civil Service Authority to register and monitor these organiza- organizational capacity, as well as specific organizational involve-
tions, but the future of non-profits in the country remains unclear, ment with the Asian development Bank. The report highlights the
as there is no standing law regulating their activity. impressive capacity of civil society organizations in the Philippines,
as well as their promotion of social accountability.
Madsen, Richard. Democracy’s Dharma: religious renaissance and
political development in Taiwan University of California Press, 2008. Piper, Nicola, and Anders Uhlin. Transnational Activism in Asia:
Problems of Power and Democracy. New York/London: Routledge,
A discussion of the four largest Taiwanese religious organizations,
notably Tzu Chi and their role in bridging the gap between civil
society and government and the oftentimes fluid relationship This book contains information about transnational organizations,
between organizations and the government. including religious organizations and their work in relief and devel-
opment in Asia. The authors specifically focus on how transnational
civil society groups and their activities are related to democracy at
Means, Gordon P. Political Islam in Southeast Asia. United States/ the macro and micro levels.
United Kingdom: Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2009.

This book provides an in-depth analysis of Islam in Southeast Asia;

Piscatori, James, and Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber. Transnational
its historical progression in Southeast Asian societies,and its influ-

Religion and Fading States. Westwood Press, 1997.

ence on politics, education, civil society and economics. Through
varied case studies from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the This book examines how the transnational nature of religious move-
Philippines, as well as in regional narrative, the author argues the ments leads to the formation of transnational civil society and a fad-
point that Islam in Southeast Asia in not a monolithic voice, but ing state sovereignty. The author, in contrast to Samuel Huntington’s
rather “a religion of many faces,” manifesting itself differently in “Clash of Civilizations,” looks at local origins of conflict and the
each country. He provides discussion on the recent divisions within potential of religious organizations to make peace as well as war, as
Islam, between liberal and moderate views and more fundamentalist well as religious roles in adding an ethics, or meaning, to politics.
or radical views, and the effects of each on the political, educational,
and economic realms.
Phongpaichit, Pasuk. “Cultural factors that shape governance in
South-East Asia.” Essay written for UNESCO, May 1999. http://
Mukhopadhyaya, Ranjana. “Transnational Networks of Dharma
and Development: Engaged Buddhism in the Era of Globalization.” Accessed 27 October 2009.
“Presented at 2009 Academic Conference on Humanistic
For the purpose of this report, the essay examines the cultural
aspects that contribute to a population’s understanding of gover-
nance, both in the definition, and in practice. The author points to
Provides an excellent overview of transnational Buddhist organiza- Thailand’s Buddhist heritage as being influential in informing a Thai
tions in Asia, particularly from Japan. The author provides multiple understanding of governance.
case studies, including one of Shanti Volunteer organization and
their work in the refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodia border.
The paper argues that globalization and increased communications Power, Samantha. “The Enforcer, A Christian lawyer’s global
technologies have facilitated cross-cultural networking and informa- crusade.” The New Yorker. 19 January 2009.
tion exchange between Buddhist organizations worldwide. The article reports on the Christian organization, International
Justice Mission, and their activities to rescue victims of human traf-
ficking. The article brings to light the positive work the organization
Nakashima, Ellen. “Progress and Struggle for Vietnam’s Catholics.”
does, its international network and linkages, collaboration with local
The Washington Post. 23 Jun 2005.
authorities, and the multiple controversies surrounding their work,
including the high profile media coverage.

Rehbein, Boike. Globalization, Culture, and Society in Laos. New The author examines Malaysia’s impressive economic growth and the
York, Routledge, 2007. role of Islamic thought and practice in this growth. He concludes
that Islam has been an important factor in Malaysia’s political evolu-
Chapter 9 of this book includes a brief discussion of animism in
tion, but that Islamic influence on economic development has been
Laos and its relationship to Buddhism, particularly at the village
level. It mentions different hybridizations between the two faiths, as
well as government antagonism of animism.
Winter, Tim, Peggy Teo, and T.C. Chang. Asia on Tour: Exploring
the rise in Asian Tourism. New York: Routledge. 2008.
Sabharwal, Gita, and Than Thi Thien Huong. “Civil Society in
Vietnam.” Johannesburg: CIVICUS, Jul 2005. Web. http://www. The book focuses on the rise of tourism in Asia among Asians, rather than Westerners. For the purposes of this report, it highlights
some of the heritage, culture, religion, and development that draw
The authors of this paper discusses the changing context for civil
particular international attention in Asia. The author examines
society in Vietnam, the different types of organizations within
domestic and regional tourism, and how improvements in infra-
Vietnamese civil society, and the legal framework in which these
structures, increasing disposable incomes, liberalized economies, and
organizations operate, and how donors interact with Vietnamese
increased globalization, are enabling an increasing number of Asians
civil society.
to travel as tourists.

“Sociolegal Status of Women in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines,

Yuit, Gavin Chua Hearn. “Singapore’s Approach to
and Thailand.” Asian Development Bank. Manila: Asian
Counterterrorism: From Social Resilience to Public Imagination.”
Development Bank, 2002.
Singapore: IntSight, November 2009.
This volume situates the socio-legal status of Indonesian, Malaysian,
This paper discusses the government’s establishment of Inter-Racial
Philippine, and Thai women in the context of economic global-
and Religious Confidence Circles in Singapore as part of the
ization, the legal and institutional frameworks of the respective
government’s anti-terrorism strategy. The author cites this effort as
countries, and international treaties. It offers country-specific
a contributor to Singapore’s relative stability amid an array of low-
recommendations for legal reform.
intensity conflicts in Southeast Asia.

“Vietnam: Religious Freedom Denied.” Human Rights Watch. New
York. 8 May 2008.



In this article, Human Rights Watch discussed the restrictions on
religious freedom and human rights that occurred even as Vietnam
hosted the United Nations Day of Visak (the sacred Buddhist
holiday). Around this time, the Vietnamese government imprisoned
members of independent Buddhist groups. Human Rights Watch
calls on the Vietnamese government to release people imprisoned
for peaceful religious or political activities and end restrictions on
independent religious organizations who choose not to affiliate with
the officially authorized religious organizations under the control of
the government.

“UN Says Human Trafficking Appears To Be Worsening.” Radio

Free Europe News—Prauge: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 13 Feb
This article summarizes some of the findings of the 2009 UNODC
Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, and includes some com-
ments by UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costa about the report.
The situation of human trafficking seems to be worsening, even
though a majority of the countries surveyed in the report have
enacted laws against the practice. Additionally, more effective border
security does not appear to be a key factor in stemming the practice,
as much of the trafficking is intrastate, as opposed to interstate.

Wilson, Rodney. “Islam and Malaysia’s Economic Development.”

Journal of Islamic Studies 9:2 (1998): 259–276.


1. Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs: http:// 10. “Hindu and Buddhist Clergy Convene In Cambodia,” Hindu World Faiths Development Press International, 15 February 2009, http://www.hindu-
2. This report focuses on the lower income countries of 11.
Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, global-development?record_type=organizations.
Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma (Myanmar). Coverage of
Timor-Leste and the South Pacific is less detailed. It also 12. With support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, the Social
explores work in several of the region’s wealthier countries, as Science Research Council is engaged in a research project that
well as Europe and the United States, that have significant focuses specifically on religious roles in conflict, peacebuild-
transnational activities in Southeast Asia. It reflects some ing, and development.
information covering Asia, more broadly defined. 13. Katherine Marshall. “Interfaith Health-Care Reform,”
3. Hannah Beech, “Bangkok Protests End; Thais Mulle as a Georgetown/On Faith Washington Post Blog. 16 August 2009,
Divided Nation,” Time Magazine, in partnership with CNN,
14 April, 2004, 009/08/faith_in_health_1.html (accessed 21 April 2010).
cle/0,8599,1891171,00.html (accessed 16 March 2010). 14. “Regional Review Buddhist Leadership Initiative,” UNICEF
4. Interview with Dr. David Steinberg. Conducted by Michael EAPRO, July 2009,
Bodakowski. 6 November 2009. BLI_2Sep09.pdf. (accessed 26 March 2010).

5. Engaged Buddhism, also referred to as socially engaged 15. “UN Says Human Trafficking Appears To Be Worsening.”

Buddhism, originated about 25 years ago with the Vietnamese Radio Free Europe, 13 February 2009,
monk Thich Nhat Hanh and is concerned with utilizing content/UN_Says_Human_Trafficking_Appears_To_Be_
Buddhist teachings to confront and act upon social, political, Worsening_/1492561.html (accessed 13 April 2010).
and ecological problems.

16. United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking
6. “The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), (UNIAP),


one of the largest international engaged Buddhist networks,
17. Allen Hertzke, “The Globalization of Religious Advocacy in
began in February 1989 in Thailand at a conference of 36
America,” E International Relations, 28 February 2010, http://
concerned ordained and lay people from 11 countries (accessed 21 February, 2010).
organized by Sulak Sivaraksa, Maruyama Teruo, and other
thinkers and social activists Buddhists and non-Buddhists. 18. Allen Hertzke, Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance
The network expanded through out years and included for Global Human Rights. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,
members—individuals and organizations—from more than USA, 2004), 2.
20 countries from Asia, Europe, America and Australia. An
understanding of engaged Buddhism has emerged which 19. Samantha Power, “The Enforcer, A Christian lawyer’s global
integrates the practice of Buddhism with social action for a crusade.” The New Yorker, 19 January 2009.
healthy, just, and peaceful world. A commitment to global 20. James Piscatori and Susanne Hoeber Piscatori, Transnational
community based on the universal truths of wisdom and Religion and Fading States. (Westwood Press, 1997).
compassion guides all of INEB’s activities. INEB’s areas of
concern have centered on peace, human rights, gender issues, 21. Ibid.
spirituality based development, diversity tolerance and 22. “International Religious Freedom Report 2009—Indonesia,”
interfaith dialogue.” From the organization website— United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 26 October, 2009, http://www.
7. “Aceh Province Legislators Vote to Impose Stricter Sharia (accessed 18 March
Law.” Voice of America, 15 September 2009, http://www1. 2010). 23. Ibid.
html. (accessed 23 February 2010).
24. Ibid.
8. Jan Fontein and Marijke Klokke, Narrative Sculpture and
Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia—Studies in 25. Ibid.
Asian Art and Archaeology, (Boston: Koln Brill, 2000).
26. Hannah Beech, “Indonesia’s Aceh Passes Stoning Bill,”
9. Tim Winter, Peggy Teo, and T.C. Chang, Asia on Tour: Time Magazine, 15 September 2009,
Exploring the rise in Asian Tourism. (Routledge, time/world/article/0,8599,1923211,00.html (accessed
New York: 2009). 18 March 2010).

27. Human Development Report 2009: Indonesia. United Nations 40.
Development Programme, Conference-RobinBush.pdf .
countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_IDN.html (accessed 15
41. From Workshop on Global Development and Institutions
April 2010).
Inspired by Faith. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. December
28. “Overview—Basic Education For All,” UNICEF Indonesia 14–15, 2009.
Webpage, 42. Chris Donnges, “Philippines Infrastructure for Rural
(accessed 15 April 2010). Productivity: Enhancement Tools for Identifying Rural
29. “The World Bank and Education in Indonesia,” The World Infrastructure Investment Priorities,” Bangkok: International
Bank Country Page: Indonesia, Labor Office, 2006,
WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ asro/bangkok/library/download/pub06-07.pdf (accessed 14
DK:21521167~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSit 43. Karin Schelzig, Poverty in the Philippines: Income, Assets, and
ePK:226309,00.html (accessed 15 April 2010). Access, Asian Development Bank (Manila: 2005), http://www.

30. “Interfaith Dialogue: Program Description,” USAID:

Indonesia Webpage, Poverty-in-the-Philippines.pdf (accessed 14 April 2010).
ting/inter_faith_dialogue/ (accessed 15 April 2010). 44. Ibid.
31. “Issue Brief: The Role of Religious Leaders and Communities 45. “World Population Prospects,” Department of Economic and
in Development Efforts in Asia and the Middle East,” United Social Affairs Population Division, United Nations (New
States Agency for International Development, http://www. York: 2009) Table A.1, publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_text_tables.pdf (accessed 14
(accessed 15 April 2010). April 2010).
32. “Family and Community Health,” World Health 46. Ronald E. Dolan, ed. Philippines: A Country Study. GPO for
Organization—Indonesia Webpage. the Library of Congress, Washington, 1991, http://coun-
ourworks.asp?id=ow3 (accessed 15 April 2010). (accessed 14 April, 2010).
33. “Interfaith Dialogue: Program Description,” USAID: 47. Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) was founded in 1914, and maintains
Indonesia Webpage. Web. significant political influence because of its growing member-
cross_cutting/inter_faith_dialogue/ (accessed 15 April 2010). ship and resources. Its membership has since spread to

overseas Filipinos in over 60 countries in North America,

34. Jennifer Epley, “Development Issues and the Role of Religious
Asia, Europe, Australia, Oceania, and Africa. The church has a

Organizations in Indonesia,” Studies on Asia, Series II, vol. 1

membership of 2.3 percent of the population.
no. 1 (Fall 2004),
s3_v1_n1/3_1_1Epley.pdf (accessed 29 March 2010). 48. “Overview of NGOs and Civil Society: Philippines,” Civil
Society Briefs, Asian Development Bank, December 2007,
35. Christopher Candland and Nurjanah Siti, “Women’s
Empowerment through Islamic Organisations: The Role of the PHI/CSB-PHI.pdf (accessed 30 March 2010).
Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama in Transforming the Government’s
Birth Control Programme into a Family Welfare Programme,” 49. Cameron Lowry, “Civil Society Engagement in Asia: Six
February 2004, Country Profiles,” East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii—Asia
KBIndonesia.pdf. Pacific Governance and Democracy Initiative, 14–16 July,
36. “Listening to Muslim Communities—MCC Partners with research/PDFs/Combined_country_reviews.pdf (accessed 30
Muslim Communities Worldwide to Reduce Poverty, March 2010).
Promote Economic Growth,” Millennium Challenge
Corporation Fact Sheet, 14 October 2009, http://www.mcc. 50. For more information on the activities of the Socio-Pastoral
gov/mcc/bm.doc/factsheet-101409-listening-to-muslim- Insitute and Ummah Fi Salam, see in-depth interviews with
communities.pdf (accessed 29 March 2010). both organizations’ leaders in the WFDD/Berkley Center
interview series on faith and development. Socio-Pastoral—
37. Modernist typically refers to those following Islamic practice
as it adhered to in the Arab world; traditionalists is a term Consultation_Interview_Compilation.pdf (pg. 57), Ummah
applied to those who tend to practice Islam as it traditionally Fi Salam—
has been adhered to in Indonesia. The distinction, however, is interviews/a-discussion-with-maguid-maruhom-executive-
often difficult to discern, with some citing a tendency towards director-ummah-fi-salam.
51. David Chandler, A History of Cambodia, Silkworm Books
38. Nahdlatul Ulama website, (Chang Mai, Thailand: 2008), 17.
52. Ibid., 5.
39. From Workshop on Global Development and Institutions
53. Ibid., 15.
Inspired by Faith. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. December
14–15, 2009. 54. Ibid., 171.

55. Interview with Mr. Hamza. Conducted by Augustina Delaney 69. “Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, Buddhist
and Michael Scharff. 12 November 2009. Leadership Initiative,” UNICEF EAPRO, January 2003, 11.
56. The Buddhist Leadership Initiative (BLI) is a regional strategy 70. “Report on the Involvement of Faith-Based Organizations in
for Buddhist involvement in the response to HIV and AIDS in the Global Fund. The Global Fund to fight AIDS,
the Mekong Sub-region. Initiated by UNICEF’s East Asia and Tuberculosis, and Malaria,”
the Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) and Country Offices, the documents/publications/other/FBOReport/GlobalFund_
BLI was introduced in five countries (Cambodia, China, Lao FBO_Report_en.pdf.
PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam) of the Greater Mekong
71. “International Religious Freedom Report 2009- Thailand,”
Sub-region between 1998 and 2004. The primary objective of
U.S Department of State. Bureau of Democracy, Human
the BLI is to mobilize Buddhist monks and nuns to lead
Rights, and Labor, 26 October 2009,
through 1) Increasing access to care and support for adults and drl/rls/irf/2009/127289.htm (accessed 2 December, 2009).
children living with HIV and AIDS and children affected by
AIDS; 2) Increasing community acceptance of adults and 72. The ECVN was formed in 1927 and recognized in 1963,
children living with HIV and AIDS; and 3) Building HIV while the larger SECV was recognized in 2001. However,
resilience in communities, particularly among youth. From today these two still account for less than half of Protestant congregations in Vietnam.

57. Bjorn Blengsli, “Muslim Metamorphosis: Islamic Education 73. “Foreign Religious Organizations in Vietnam: Law and
and Politics in Contemporary Cambodia,” in Making Modern Practice,” a Fund for Reconciliation & Development
Muslims: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia, ed. Background Paper, September 2004.
Robert Hefner (Hawaii University Press: 2009), 174–175. 74. Saw Yan Naing, “Suu Kyi’s Release?,” The Irrawaddy, 10
58. Bjorn Blengsli, 176. November 2009.
id=17187 (accessed 10 November 2009).
59. Interview with Elder Nelson and Elder Whitesides,
Conducted by Katherine Marshall, Michael Scharff and 75. Hannah Beech, “A Closer Look at Burma’s Ethnic
Augustina Delaney, 20 August 2009. Minorities,” Time Magazine, 30 January 2009.

60. CIA World Factbook, 76. CIA World Factbook.
the-world-factbook/geos/th.html. the-world-factbook/geos/bm.html# (accessed 10 November,
61. Hector Sim, “Thailand Economy: Thailand GDP and Thai
77. Interview with Dr. David Steinberg, Conducted by Michael

Tourism Plummeting Thanks to Political Violence,” Economy
Watch, 16 April 2009. Bodakowski, 6 November, 2009.


economy-business-and-finance-news/Thailand_Economy_ 78. Ibid.
to_Political_Violence.html (accessed 23 October 2009). 79. For detailed description of methodology and data, see Grim,
Brian J. and Finke, Roger. International Religion Indexes:
62. “Thai unemployment to jump in 2009 -planning agency,” Government Regulation, Government Favoritism, and Social
Reuters India. 8 December 2009. Regulation of Religion in Interdisciplinary Journal of Research
specialEvents4/idINBKK4598920081208 (accessed 23 on Religion. Volume 2. Article 1. 2006. http://www.
October 2009).
63. Jesuit Refugee Service Thailand, 80. Ibid.
(accessed 16 November 2009). 81. Ibid.

64. Paul M Handley, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of 82. “Built to Order: Myanmar’s New Capital Isolates and
Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, (Yale University Press, 28 July, Insulates Junta,” New York Times, 24 June 2008, http://www.
2006), 76.
(accessed 14 November 2009).
65. “International Religious Freedom Report 2009- Thailand,”
U.S Department of State. Bureau of Democracy, Human 83. For more information on the Cyclone Nargis Response, the
full Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan can be found
Rights, and Labor, 26 October 2009,
drl/rls/irf/2009/127289.htm (accessed 27 October, 2009).
84. Japan International Cooperation Agency, http://www.jica.
66. Ibid.
67. Susan M Darlington, “The Ordination of a Tree: The
85. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was
Buddhist Ecology Movement in Thailand,” University of
established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the
Pittsburgh Of the Commonwealth System of Higher
signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by
Education. Ethnology, vol. 37, no. 1. (Winter 1998): 1–15.
the initial member countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia,
68. “Meeting Diary,” 291st Meeting of the Informal Northern Thai Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam
Group, Tuesday, 14 August, 2007, http://www.intgcm. joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Burma (Myanmar) on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia

on 30 April 1999. The organization collaborates on 99. Richard Madsen, Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance
economic, political, and cultural issues across the region. and Political Development in Taiwan, University of California
From Accessed Press, 2008.
9 March 2010.
100. Ibid, 136.
86. “Asia in the Coming Years,” Event of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace with Ichiro Fujisaki—
Japanese Ambassador to the US, Wednesday, 17 December
2008, 102. “Religion in Taiwan,” in Taiwan Yearbook 2006, www.
(accessed 18 November 2009). 103. “US Department of State International Religious Freedom
87. “Japan: Reasserting Influence in the Mekong River Region,” Report 2009—Taiwan,” U.S Department of State. Bureau of
Stratfor Global Intelligence, Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, http://www.state.
analysis/20091106_japan_reasserting_influence_mekong_ gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127269.htm (accessed 2 December,

river_region (accessed 18 November 2009). 2009).

88. Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya, “Transnational Networks of 104. “Chapter 21: Religion,” in The of China Yearbook 2009—
Dharma and Development: Engaged Buddhism in the Era of Taiwan,
Globalization,” yearbook/ch21.html.
note/march09/Paper_Ranjana%20Mukhopadhyaya.pdf 105. “Taiwan’s “Other” Miracle,” Taiwan Review, 1 January 2010,
(accessed 18 November 2009).
89. “Shinto at a Glance,” BBC Religions,” =1337&mp=1.
religion/religions/shinto/ataglance/glance.shtml (accessed 9 106. “Tzu Chi relief efforts in the Philippines and Indonesia,”
March 2010). Relief Web,
MYAI-7WS2UN?OpenDocument (accessed 30
90. Interview with Gene Reeves, Consultant to Rissho Kosei-kai
November 2009).
and the Niwano Peace Foundation, Conducted by Katherine
Marshall, 25 November 2009. 107. “Malaysia Religion,” Global, http://www.
91. K.W. Simon, “NGO Regulations in East and Southeast Asia:
(accessed 19 April 2010).
A Comparative Perspective,” Thailand Law Forum, 2006,
| 108. Ibid.


(accessed 2 November 2009).

109. Khadijah Khalid Md, “Malaysia’s Growing Economic
92. Jonathan S. Watts, “A Brief Overview of Buddhist NGOs in Relations with the Muslim World,” Kyoto Review of Southeast
Japan,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/2, Nanzaon Asia, Issue 5 (March 2004),
Institute for Religion and Culture (2004): 417–428. (accessed 19 April, 2010).
93. Interview with David Steinberg, Conducted by Michael 110. Nicola Piper and Uhlin Anders, eds. Transnational Activism in
Bodakowski, 6 November 2009. Asia: Problems of Power and Democracy, (New York; London:
Routledge, 2004), 194.
94. Ibid.
111. The full conference report can be obtained at: http://www.
95. “World Vision Influences Korea Government on Child
Protection,” 4 September 2009, https://www.worldvision. tions/2009/faith_based_org_forum.pdf.
category=eng_news (accessed 27 April 2010). 112. According to the Pew Forum study: Global Restrictions on
Religion, Singapore ranks high in government restriction,
96. A comprehensive list of NGOs operating in Korea, including requiring all religious organizations to register with the
many faith-inspired organizations can be found at: http:// government under the Societies Act. docs/?DocID=492.
97. “US Department of State International Religious Freedom 113. Lenore Lyons, “Transcending the Border: Transnational
Report 2009—Taiwan,” U.S Department of State. Bureau of Imperatives in Singapore’s Migrant Worker Rights
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, http://www.state. Movement,” Critical Asian Studies, vol 41, no 1,
gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127269.htm (accessed 8 December, (March 2009): 89–112.
114. Interview with Rob Kilpatrick of World Vision Australia by
98. “Building a “Harmonious Society” in China: Non- Michael Bodakowski, 25 November 2009.
Governmental and Faith-Based Organizations as Agents of
115. Figures from the Australian Council for Overseas
Social Change and Stability,” Center for Strategic and
Development (ACFID) for 2009.
International Studies in Cooperation with the Pew Forum on
Religious and Public Life, Conference on Monday, 26 116. The Berkley Center reviews are available at the following
September 2005. websites: Review on the United States—http://berkleycenter.

international-perspectives. Review on Europe—http://
117. “Bush brings faith to foreign aid as funding rises, Christian
groups deliver help — with a message—Part 1: Changing the
Rules—Exploring Faith.” in Boston Globe Special Report:
Exporting Faith, a four-Part Series, 8–11 October 2006, http://
brings_faith_to_foreign_aid/ (accessed 21 April 2010).
118. “A New Era of Partnerships: Report of Recommendations to
the President,” President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based
and Neighborhood Partnerships, March 2010. http://www.
final-report.pdf (accessed 21 April 2010).
119. Ibid.
120. USAID 2009 Regional Budget—East Asia and the Pacific.

(accessed 30 November 2009).
121. Faith Inspired Organizations and Global Development Policy: A
background review “Mapping” social and economic development

work in Europe and Africa, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace,
and World Affairs, (Georgetown University, 2009), 9.


122. Jytte Klausen, “The Re-Politicization of Religion in Europe:
The Next Ten Years,” Perspectives on Politics, American
Political Science Association vol. 3, no. 3 (September 2005),

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