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The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Development

Past Event: 04.23.2015 @ 12:00 pm

While traditional donors promote a secular approach to development assistance, a parallel universe of faith-based development exists in which Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and other faith-based organizations provide local or even global services to poor and disadvantaged communities. What questions does this raise? A panel of master's students from the Sanford School will present their research and explore these and other related questions. Their research was conducted as part of Frank Webb's "NGO Roles in Development" class. Religion is important to a majority of people in most developing countries and many local organizations are based in, or associated with, a major world religion. Recognizing that faith is a powerful motivating force, and that FBOs bring many advantages, donor interest is increasing and many are trying to become "faith literate." However, while some are enthusiastic, others want to maintain the clear separation of institutional and spiritual elements of aid and are fearful of the erosion of their traditional secularism. Just how valid are these concerns? What advantages and added value do FBOs bring? And are the risks of their closer involvement in the secular development arena outweighed by their potential as agents of transformation, using their moral authority to demand better governance and public accountability?

Contact:
Vail, Julia - julia.vail@duke.edu

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