Congratulations to JLI Partner, the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) for receiveding the prestigious Africa Peace Award 2018. The Peace Award was for its work promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Africa and the world, and in particular for its contribution to reviving the African Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum in partnership with the African Union. The prize is given byUnited Religions Initiative (URI), the renowned global NGO representing 204 member organizations in 31 African countries.
The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities is delighted to announce Olivia Wilkinson, PhD is joining as the Director of Research.
In this position, she will be ensuring the quality of JLI evidence building, knowledge translation and building collaborations with academic partners. She will work closely with Stacy Nam, the Knowledge Manager and with our members to help grow and share their research.
Olivia has been an academic member of the JLI Resilience, Mobilization of Local Faith Communities, and Refugees and Forced Migration Hubs for a number of years. She has contributed as research consultant to Learning Hub projects, including the 5 evidence briefs brought to the World Humanitarian Summit, and is lead author of the the recent JLI Refugee Hub Scoping Study. She was the coordinating editor on the recent summary of Proceedings of Forum on Localizing Humanitarian Response: the Role of Religious and FBOs and previously published in a number of academic journals. Her PhD research focused on secular and religious responses to disaster following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Please join us in welcoming Olivia to the JLI and reach out to Olivia regarding any evidence building collaboration opportunities at [email protected]
The JLI Board elected Jonathan Duffy as the new co-chair serving with Rob Kilpatrick. Jonathan is the President of the Adventist Development and Relief (ADRA) International.
Jonathan previously served the agency for four years as CEO of ADRA Australia. Prior to joining ADRA, he worked for 28 years in the public health sector, where he gained experience and expertise in community development, health services management and health promotion. During this time, he worked with remote communities in the South Pacific to improve access to health services. He has a passion for helping young people, and has implemented programs, conducted research and published in peer reviewed journals in relation to youth resilience. A champion for social justice, he uses his position to advocate for action on social justice issues and for a human rights based approach to development. He currently serves on the InterAction Board, where he heads the standards review task force, and is also an International Civil Society Center board member.
Joining the Board of Directors
Hiruy Teka is joining as a member of the JLI Board of Directors. He leads the International Disaster Response Programme of Samaritan’s Purse UK. His role includes managing complex refugee and drought relief projects, raising funds from UK and Europe-based institutional donors, managing humanitarian projects and programmes all over the world (with budgets totaling millions of pounds, euros and dollars), and personally responding to disasters from time to time. As an Ethiopian in humanitarian and crisis response, he approaches his job with a great deal of passion and respect for people affected by disasters.
First network event: FBO Workshop on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals
On Monday 13th February 2017, Islamic Relief Academy and the University of Leeds held a workshop in Birmingham, UK. Around 25 participants came together to network and discuss research priorities on religions and the SDGs, representing a mixture of academic and non-governmental organisations, including Islamic Relief, and academic partners from India and Ethiopia.
Questions addressed in the workshop included:
Did your organisation have a role in the consultation process to define the SDGs? What were some of the strengths and challenges of the process?
To what extent do you feel that religious voices were enabled to be heard in the consultation process and with what effect?
To what extent and in what ways are you now beginning to interpret and implement the SDGs in your work?
Do you feel the SDGs provide a useful framework to tackle ‘sustainable development’ globally? What are the opportunities and limitations of the SDGs?
Participants discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by Agenda 2030 and discussed current research gaps in the area. As part of the network’s agenda, conferences will be held in these Ethiopia and India over the course of the next eighteen months, with opportunities for country specific consultations to take place. The Network also intends to publish an edited volume and launch a policy paper in the UK Houses of Parliament within the next year and a half.
Announcing a new religion and sustainable development network – funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK – which involves academics and faith-based development actors. The network aims to enhance international exchange about the role of religions in defining, implementing, and safeguarding ‘sustainable development’, as codified in the UN ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs).
Religion is a major cultural, social, political, and economic factor in many ODA recipient countries, which is why understanding the local religious dynamics and the role of faith actors is crucial for sustainable development. While development practice and development studies had essentially subscribed to a modernist, secular paradigm of social change for much of the 20th century, this has begun to change. Greater portions of development aid are now channelled via so-called faith-based initiatives or organisations, and religion is increasingly recognised as a human resource rather than just an obstacle to development. Many religious groups have also been involved perceptibly in development policy, by adopting and heralding the Millennium Development Goals and through consultations in the drafting of the new SDGs.
To join their Religions and Development mailing list, sign up here
The Evidence Working Group created an online Guide as a living library of resources that will be updated regularly. It aims to support the gathering and sharing of evidence by religious and faith-based organizations about their work to alleviate poverty and enhance the wellbeing of their local communities.
The purpose of the survey was to understand whether and how the Guide could be useful as a resource to potential local users.
More than 11 EWG members facilitated the surveys and there were 33 respondents. The summary document of the survey findings is available here.
Top five lessons learned from the Survey are:
Useful Guide: the majority of respondents found the guide and its contents and the presentation useful. For instance, 100 percent of the respondents said the page titled “Why should faith groups care about evidence?” answers why faith groups should care about evidence. Similarly, over 80 percent of the respondents said that the “how does faith shape our understanding of evidence?” page answers how faith shapes our understanding of evidence. Six said they would share this guide with colleagues and one said “with some changes.”
Diverse resource library: The resources on the page were helpful to the respondents. Respondents appreciated the variety of the examples on data collection, the diverse subjects covered, the different types of data collection and styles were the most helpful about the six resources shared in the library. The lesson learned here is that resources of similar nature should be updated and added.
Interesting resources: The CRS, URI and Tearfund’s reports were respectively of most interest to the respondents and their organisations. This suggests that the resources were relevant to most of the members and similar resources should be uploaded.
Data collection: The majority (75 percent) of the organisations surveyed currently collect information on specific faith-inspired metrics (for example hope, trust, love, relationships etc ).
Improvement: One major area of change would be to include more detailed information for faith groups that are interested in beginning or improving their evidence collection processes. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents said faith groups would need other information to start.
In the light of global inequality, there have been renewed criticisms against neoliberal economics, both from ‘secular’ and ‘faith-based’ NGOs and thinkers. This panel will seek to explore the role of religious traditions, values and faith-based tools in ‘moral economies’ and financing for development.
Since the financial crash of 2008, neoliberal economic systems have been subject to renewed challenge and criticism by both ‘secular’ and ‘faith-based’ NGOs and thinkers. In the light of Agenda 2030 which details a trajectory for sustainable development across a multitude of sectors ranging from poverty and hunger, through education, gender equality and care for the environment, there has been increasing emphasis on well-being and holistic development. This creates increasing space for faith groups and religions to provide new perspectives and thinking around ‘moral economies’ in the light of global inequality. This may include, but is not limited to, faith-based social financing mechanisms, as well as opportunities to harness religious values to challenge neoliberal economic excesses. This panel will seek to explore the role of religious traditions, values and faith-based tools in moral economies and financing for development.
The GHR Foundation is partnering with OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform, to conduct the BridgeBuilder Challenge. The BridgeBuilder Challenge leverages the universal call from Pope Francis to ‘build bridges’ addressing the pressing and emergent concerns of our time in the areas of peace, prosperity and planet.
The top ideas selected from the challenge will receive a total of $1 million in funding (up to $500,00o for one organization), in addition to support provided by experts. All participants will benefit from the platform’s collaborative improvement process and opportunities for connection to new partners and potential funders.
Updates from JLI’s Annual Board and Advisory Group Meeting
At the October 25/26 meeting, JLI’s overall goals were reaffirmed and we were encouraged to prioritize focus on localization, and mechanisms and methods for scalable engagement of local faith networks. Next steps will include updating the operating plan and developing a new communications plan.
Goal 1: Gather knowledge about the activities, contributions and challenges of faith groups and synthesise into useful outputs through learning hubs
Goal 2: Connect policy makers, practitioners and academics with the knowledge, resources and expertise, with particular responsiveness to their wants and needs, to understand the activity and contribution of faith communities
Goal 3: Support broader global initiatives to catalyse the understanding of the contribution and activity of faith groups
Outcomes from the meeting will be posted to our website shortly.