March 11, 2019

By Olivia Wilkinson and Susanna Trotta on the Georgetown University Berkley Center blog

This blog post highlights Education and Refugee Response from the JLIFLC policy brief on the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees with faith actors.

“In the Global Compact on Refugees’ program of action, education falls within a section on meeting needs and supporting communities. The main provision within the compact is for the support of national education systems, which in many cases will include schools that are run by faith-based institutions and operating within national laws and policies. However, refugee children can struggle to gain places (especially in over-burdened systems) and integrate into new education systems. Issues related to which curricula to follow and to accreditation between home, host, and destination curricula have caused problems. Instead, children on the move may seek non-formal education opportunities, which can also be run by faith actors, such as sessions in religious buildings with provisions funded by the faith community.”

See full Georgetown Berkley Center Post Here

The JLI Peace & Conflict Hub in 2018 looked at ‘what’s next’ for the JLI Peace & Conflict hub, in particular if there was a way to have a face to face meeting of members in order to facilitate sharing of learning and evidence. Unfortunately, the fundraising for such an event was unsuccessful and therefore as co-chairs feel that it is now time to formally close the hub. If additional funds are found, an in-person workshop or meeting could be possible, see the attached concept note.

We would like to celebrate the activities the hub has managed to do, most notably the scoping paper!

The JLI’s work on peace and conflict will continue through support of the PaRD SDG 16 workstream and will draw on the work of the hub to inform that. Please let Stacy know if you are interested in being involved.

On behalf of the JLI Peace & Conflict Hub Co-Chairs

Dr Alpaslan Ozerdem, Dr Christopher Shannahan, Lucy Salek and Sarah Pickwick

 

Introduction and discussion moderated by JLI Coordinator, Jean Duff

Guest Speakers:

  • Missionary Approach to Development, Seamus O’Leary, Learning and Development Manager, Misean Cara
  • The fire from above, and the fire from below- Peacebuilding approaches in the Philippines, Rick van der Woud, CEO, Mensen met een Missie

 

 

 

Relevant Resources

Misean Cara Missionary Approach to Development Interventions (MADI)     Misean Cara Brief Missionary Approach to Development Interventions     Missionary Responses to Ebola Virus Crises- Misean Cara
This joint webinar features two of KAICIID’s interreligious dialogue programs:
The Network for Religious Muslim and Christian Faculties and Institutes in the Arab World and the partnership in Nigeria to build inclusive and sustainable platforms for interreligious and intra-religious dialogue.

 

Agenda

  • Introduction by Dr Katherine Marshall at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center.
  • Regional experts Cosette Maiky (Arab Region), and Joseph Tanko Atang (Nigeria) will discuss the process success and challenges of platform development. Experts will also share how platforms can effectively increase engagement with local communities.

Main points

  • Role of youth, women, religious communities in peace and conflict; how to incorporate them in discussions
    • importance of inclusive representation when convening dialogues globally
  • Why religious voices matter & how global institutions can support working more effective work with, for and through local communities
  • Lack of documentation of religious leaders activities
  • Why interfaith/ intra faith relationships is important as well as relationships between religious and non-religious groups matter
    • challenge of addressing hate speech
  • Ownership is needed from local faith communities not just leadership

 

Relevant Resources

Faith and Development in Focus: Nigeria    

About KAICIID Dialogue Knowledge Hub (DKH)

The DKH provides a virtual learning and networking environment for individuals and institutions, in order to increase the transmission of Interreligious Dialogue/ICD knowledge and skills through capacity-building. The ten e-tools provide users with both theoretical and practical knowledge, information and recommendations on IRD/ICD engagement.

Speaker Bios

Cosette Maiky

Arab Region Field Expert

Cosette Maiky is the KAICIID field expert for Iraq and Syria and is stationed in Beirut, Lebanon. Her professional experience consists of 10 years of hands-on work in conflict and post-conflict governance in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. Her clients included numerous international and humanitarian organizations (IOM, UNRWA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCWA, UNFPA, UNOPS, GIZ, World Vision, ISWAN, JRS, Save the Children, Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam), as well as national, regional and inter-governmental bodies. She holds a PhD and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in clinical psychology in addition to an Executive Master of Education in Psychosocial Intervention in War-Torn Societies.

 

Joseph Tanko Atang

Nigeria Field Expert

Joseph Tanko Atang is the KAICIID Field Expert for Nigeria. He has been involved in interreligious peace work in Nigeria since 1999. He is an experienced mediator and facilitator who has worked with several national and international organizations in Nigeria such as Search for Common Ground, United Nations Development Program, the Nigerian National Peace Committee, Presidential Reconciliation Commission for the Ogoni/SHELL Corporation Conflict and the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The focus of Joseph’s work lies in conflict-sensitive approaches to reconciliation and peace efforts. He holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, U.S., and certificates in public information and personnel management. In addition, he has attended many academic and professional training workshops in the United States, Kenya and Nigeria.

Katherine Marshall Dr Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service. She is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.
Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments. She was Country Director in the Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa and led the Bank’s work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. In 2000 the World Bank’s president appointed her to a newly created post of liaison with faith-based development charities, with the objective of clarifying shared objectives and building trust and coordination.

Good Practices with Local Faith Communities Submission

DEADLINE EXTENDED, 30th April 2018

The JLI Refugee Hub is working alongside UNHCR to undertake an analysis of Good Practice Examples of Local Faith Community Responses to Refugees as part of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and Global Compact on Refugees processes.

The first stage of the research will identify and examine one or more examples of good practice in each of 7 case study countries:

Honduras, Mexico, Central African Republic, Uganda, Lebanon, Germany, and Bangladesh.

The good practice case studies will be communicated to UNHCR. We will also be working with local researchers to conduct up to 30 interviews with refugees, hosts, and faith leaders in each country to provide evidence from primary research on the good practice case studies. In order to identify good practice case studies, we invite you to submit for consideration good practice examples and recommended interviewees from the 7 countries.

The form will ask you to provide some brief information on the case as well as interview recommendations in the country. The initial findings will be presented at the UNHCR NGO consultations at the end of June.

Please complete the form by COB Eastern Standard Time on the 30th April 2018.

We hope to invite key religious leaders from the case study countries to the events in late June/early July. Please add suggestions to the interview recommendations on the form, identifying them as a religious leader.

We would be grateful if you could circulate this invitation to your colleagues and networks in or with knowledge of the 7 countries.

Again, the link to the form

We will be in touch again in due course to provide further information about the next stage in this 18-month action-research project. This will include capacity building and training elements.

With many thanks and all best wishes,

Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh                             Atallah Fitzgibbon
University College London                               Islamic Relief Worldwide

JLI Refugee Hub Co-chairs

USAID call for proposals for the implementation of people-to-people activities that mitigate conflict and promote reconciliation by bringing together individuals of different ethnic, religious, or political backgrounds in  Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Colombia, Honduras, and Jamaica.

 

The total amount available is 16 million US dollars and will be distributed along two competitive categories:

  1. Between 100 000 USD and 800 000 USD for Local Entities Only and
  2. Between 800 000 USD and 1 500 000 USD for Local Entities and Non-Local Entities (except for Colombia and Kosovo).

Closing Time: April 23, 2018.

See Detailed Request for Applications (RFA)

 

Application documents:

Event Date

Monday 12 March

  • Women of Faith Speaking to Structural Change: Empowering Rural Women
    Temple of Understanding (Armenian Convention Center, Guild Hall)
  • Empowerment Stories and Interfaith Actions, United Religions Initiative (URI) (Armenian Convention Center, Guild Hall)

Tuesday 13 March

Wednesday 14 March

  • Faith and Feminism: Voices of Affirmation National Public Radio (NPR) Interview with Randy Cohen – Person, Place (Must RSVP)
  • 8:30 am: Frontline Leadership: Rural Women in the Anti-Fracking Movement, Mining Working Group (Salvation Army,  221 E. 52nd Street)

Thursday 15 March

Friday 16, March

  • 10am: Launching the Global Consultation on the Islamic Gender Justice Declaration, Islamic Relief Worldwide (RSVP Required)
  • 12:15pm: Policy Roundtable of the Faith-Based Community of Praxis on Gender Justice, ACT Alliance (Invite only)
  • 6pm: 4th Annual CSW Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude, . Sponsored by United
    Methodist Women, NGO CSW, URI, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Temple of Understanding, International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (Church Center for the
    United Nations, Tillman Chapel 44th St and 1st Ave)

Monday 19, March

  • 10am: Building Bridges: developing effective partnerships between faith and secular actors to
    challenge discriminatory gender norms and secure rural women’s rights. Co-sponsors: Danish Mission, ACT Alliance, UNFPA (Ex-Press Bar, UN Secretariat (Entrance on East 46th street
    and 1st Avenue)

    • Presentation from JLI GBV Hub
  • 2:30pm: Human Trafficking in America– Risks for women and girls in rural areas and collaborative prevention by Faith-Based Communities, UNICEF USA, Arigatou International, NY Board of Rabbis (Salvation Army  221 E. 52nd Street)

Wednesday 21, March

 

Repost from Refugee Hosts 

Efforts to bring local faith actors (LFAs) into the wider humanitarian apparatus have been a key aim of the localisation of aid agenda. In this piece, Olivia Wilkinson (Director of Research of Refugee Hosts’ research partner, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities) argues that there is a need to ensure that such engagements provide space for LFAs to remain faith actors, while also aligning them with international humanitarian principles. This requires us to reflect on the histories and values underpinning humanitarian principles, as well as the agency, complexity and nuance of local faith actors and refugees. For suggested readings on this theme, see the reading list at the end of this article, as well as our ongoing series, Contextualising the Localisation of Aid Agenda, for more. 

When Local Faith Actors Meet Localisation: Understanding the Space between the International and the Local in relation to Humanitarian Principles and Religion

By Olivia Wilkinson, Trinity College Dublin and JLI Director of Research 

In late 2016, the Joint Learning Initiative’s Refugee and Forced Migration Learning Hub -a Hub co-chaired by Refugee Hosts’ PI, Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Islamic Relief’s Sadia Kidwai – began scoping out what is known about the place of religion in refugee response. The overarching project was split into two studies: the first analysing religion and refugees in regards to localisation and urbanisation, in recognition that refugees increasingly live outside camp settings and that local faith actors (LFAs) are active in aiding refugees in urban settings; and the second to examine the stages and spaces of refugee experience in relation to religion, to understand the moments at which religion and religious actors play a role in the trajectory of refugee journeys and the places in which these interactions happen. The first part of the scoping study was launched in October 2017 at the “Localizing Humanitarian Response Forum: The Role of Religious and Faith-Based Organizations” in Sri Lanka, which Estella Carpi wrote about in an earlier post in this series. The second part of the study will be launched towards the end of this year.

Echoing Estella’s post, in addition to other pieces published on Refugee Hosts (herehere and here), the study speaks to the opportunities and challenges of engaging with local religious actors in refugee response. The state of the art literature review and the interviews with key experts that underpinned the study found that religion adds immediate complexity to the localisation debate, often in ways that can be controversial and are therefore sidelined. While we found a multitude of ways in which local religious actors provide services for refugees, it is a struggle to find mention of these actors in any of the main documents tied to the localisation of aid (see page 14 of the report for some examples). While the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) includes faith-based organisations (FBOs) as stakeholders, the specificities of LFAs in their different contexts requires detailed analysis that is not included in the use of the broad-brush term, “FBO”.

The challenges faced in engaging local faith actors in refugee response are not new just because localisation is the current buzzword. The reasons why LFAs are not more involved in international humanitarian response for refugees have always been the same: religious actors can be party to the conflicts that drive forced migration; they can be partial in their assistance, prioritizing those of the same faith and overlooking those of other faiths; they can enforce cultural and gendered stereotypes; they proselytize, using their assistance to convert vulnerable people to their religion; and they are overburdened and lack the capacity to comply with humanitarian standards. Some of these points are common to other local actors as they are politically and socially embedded and equally lacking in capacity to keep up with the demands of international humanitarian donors.

Yet LFAs continue to respond to refugees around the world, including in urban environments. If we are to believe in the earnestness of the call to localise from the international humanitarian community, then this must naturally include LFAs. To be involved in localisation, LFAs must overcome, and international actors must equally find ways to overcome, these barriers so that equal partnerships can develop.

From the research, there were several examples of ways in which these challenges were encountered, yet had been, to greater and lesser extents, overcome. To dive in the deep end, it is often held that for LFAs to be fully inducted into the international humanitarian community, they must not proselytise their faith. This standard is of course crucial, allowing humanitarian actors to ensure that assistance is given freely and without conditions.

The literature paints a more nuanced picture however. First, it is often dangerous, or highly disadvantageous to convert. In research from Kaoues in Lebanon, it was found that Muslim converts to Christianity were doubly rejected, both from the Muslim refugee population of which they had previously been part, and the Lebanese Christians in their new religious community. This demonstrates that in many cases the short-term material benefits linked to conversion are soon outweighed by the social disadvantages. In particular, this example shows the important need to recognise the intersections of ‘minority’ and ‘majority’, and how this is ‘read’ and ‘ascribed’ by observers on the basis of ethnicity and other identity markers.

Second, local religious leaders are not necessarily playing a short-term numbers game to gain converts, but aiming to build prolonged relationships within their broader community. In comparison to short term missionary trips from various external countries, local religious leaders embedded in communities do not want to pressure people to convert through their assistance, as noted by research from Kraft, also in Lebanon.

Finally, as Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh has pointed out in much of her research, the agency of beneficiaries has been overlooked. In the Sahrawi refugee camps (in Southwest Algeria), she found that refugees’  political representatives, “mobilized religiously-related claims to maximize diverse short- and long-term benefits both inside and outside the camps,” accessing both material resources and the political support provided by Evangelical American actors in the camps and in the USA.

While this demonstrates a need to recognise the complexity of proselytisation and the nuances of the contexts in which it takes place, it does not do away with the fundamental concern of faith actors tying their assistance to conversion. Most of our interviewees reported having seen or heard about such practices. However, interviewees also explained the ways in which they had still managed to successfully partner with LFAs who had initially included types of proselytisation in their assistance. One interviewee described a negotiation with a local faith actor in which they held a meeting with refugees about their religion, but only after all distributions had been made so that attendance was a choice and not tied to assistance. In their opinion, the method maintained dignity on both sides, recognising that the refugees and local faith community involved in distribution were able to uphold their identities without compromising the distribution. This was a one-off solution, but in another example from the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), they conducted training on humanitarian principles for LFAs. They reported some initial missteps in explaining the concepts behind the humanitarian principles to LFAs and described how they had learned that specific examples were more effective than providing an abstract description of concepts such as impartiality and neutrality.

On one hand, there is the fear that LFAs will be “NGO-ised” through the localization agenda, to the point that they lose any identity as faith actors, becoming instrumentalised sub-contractors for international humanitarian organisations instead.

On the other hand, there are sensitive ways to conduct trainings that allow organisations to remain faith actors, while also aligning them with international humanitarian principles. This element of complexity in engagement with LFAs shows that international humanitarian organisations must be committed to capacity building in humanitarian principles, standards, and compliance with LFAs, while recognising the agency of refugees and LFAs to interact around and about their faiths, without assuming it is proselytization.

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Featured Image: Baddawi refugee camp in North Lebanon has been hosting refugees from Syria since the outbreak of the conflict. The Masjid al-Quds mosque – in the background – is at the geographical and metaphorical core of the camp. Masjid al-Quds overlooks the cemetery, the camp’s ultimate shared space in life and death for new and established refugees alike. (c) E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh 

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For more readings on the themes explored in this piece

click here for the Refugee Hosts Faith and Displacement series, here for other contributions to our Refugee Hosts ‘Contextualising the Localisation of Aid‘ blog series

Recommended readings:

 

 

JLI’s Partner the GHR Foundation is seeking a Senior Program Officer- Initiative Faith and Development.

The senior program officer is part of GHR’s Program Leadership Team whose primary responsibility is to lead GHR’s Initiative on faith and development. This person will be responsible for designing and implementing a strategic portfolio of grants and non-grant activities to both inform and advance the catalytic effect that faith can have on positive change in the world.

As lead for GHR’s Initiative on Faith and Development, specific qualifications sought include:

  1. General Subject Matter Knowledge
  2. Strategy and Learning
  3. Relationship Builder
  4. Links with Private Development Funders and Organizations

To Apply
Send cover letter and CV to [email protected]. Position will remain open until filled.

More information at the GHR Foundation website