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The Role of the Church/Faith

Based Organizations
Faith and Development
“In many countries, and for many people, faith
and religion are central to development. Most
people in ‘developing countries’ engage in
some form of religious and faith based
practice on a regular basis that enables them
to understand and relate to the world. There
has been a renaissance of faith in many
countries. “....Faith Partnership Principles,
Faith Based Organizations and Activities
• International and national civic associations and
NGOs connected with faith groups (e.g. Christian
Aid, World Vision, Misereor, NASSA, ECD)
• Religious organizations (e.g. Knights of Columbus)
• Social action centers
• Pastoral organizations (e.g. Couples for Christ)
• Apostolate and mission programs of religious
Why Converge with FBOs?
“WB Voices of the Poor” study found that
“religious leaders and institutions are often
the most trusted institutions in developing
countries. Faith groups can inspire confidence
and trust and are often seen as more
embedded in, and committed to, local
communities. They are often the first groups,
which people turn to in times of need and
contribute to in times of plenty”.
Natural Allies in Poverty Reduction
• Teachings mandate love and service to the
poor; “bring light and hope to the desperate”
• Specific programs catering to the poor and
• Access to areas which are hard to reach e.g.
• Nationwide network of parishes and dioceses
especially the Catholic Church
Ways FBOs Contribute to Poverty Reduction
• Provision of services and humanitarian assistance: faith groups are important
providers of services particularly in fragile and developing states (30-60% of
health services according to UNFPA)

• Empowerment and accountability: faith groups can empower poor people so

their voices are heard when decisions that affect their lives are taken.

• Building resilience and peaceful states and societies: faith groups can bring a
distinct contribution to reducing certain types of conflict; role as mediator and

• Changing beliefs and behaviours: religion has a critical influence over the beliefs
and behaviours of followers

• Building support for development and global advocacy: Faiths are global
institutions which can create national and international coalitions of action.

Source: DFID
Examples of Specific Programs of FBOs
• Humanitarian relief
• Health services
• Education services
• Welfare servcies e.g. Orphanage
• Peace and development programs
• Value formation
• Community organizing
Partnership Principles with FBOs
• Transparency - faith groups, government and
organisations working on poverty and social
protection need to be open about their mission,
beliefs, values, policies and practices
• Mutual respect of distinctive roles, contributions
and added value of faith groups in development
• Understanding the role of faith groups and their
contributions to development
• Strategic and activity/issue/sector based alliance
and convergence (e.g. Capacity building,
knowledge sharing, advocacy)
Issues in Converging with FBOs
• Diversity in perspectives on certain issues
between government and FBOs and among
FBOs themselves e.g. Reproductive health,
mining, etc.
• Radicalization of a segment of FBOs because
of frustration with reforms
• FBO limited understanding on the workings of
government (national and local) and the
• Resource constraints of FBOs