Graham Gordon is Head of CAFOD’s Policy Team. Here, he reflects on what development agencies can learn from a new strategy published by the German Development Ministry for working with faith groups in development.
Religious beliefs and practices are complex and often intertwined with culture. Faced with this complexity, many international donors tend to underplay religion’s role in development, or to use faith groups as instruments for advancing their agendas or reaching the most remote groups.
BMZ, the German Development Ministry, seems to be making a genuine attempt to do things differently and to engage with the complexity and tensions. Earlier in 2016, it published a strategy on working with religious communities as partners for development.
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The political drivers of the strategy are clear: the worldwide rise in religiously-motivated violence; increased migration to Europe and new migrant communities with strong religious beliefs and practices; and the rise of anti-immigrant political rhetoric across Europe and countries such as Australia and the US.
However, the strategy cannot simply be seen in the political context of migration and extremism, but also as a genuine attempt to think more deeply about the role of religion in development.
What can other donor agencies learn from Germany’s approach? (more…)