Posts Tagged ‘partnership’

Working with faith groups: What can donor agencies learn from Germany?

September 6, 2016

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.

Photo 1 - Graham Gordon is Head of Policy at CAFOD

Graham Gordon is Head of Policy at CAFOD

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.

Find out more about CAFOD’s Policy work

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…)

A day in the life of an advocacy accompanier

April 29, 2013

Accompaniment

As an Advocacy Accompanier, I probably have one of the strangest named, but most interesting jobs in CAFOD. I support CAFOD’s partners to do advocacy on issues like children’s rights, economic justice, land grabs, extra-judicial killings and climate change and in the last year I’ve worked in six different countries. But how can you be an expert on so many different places and issues, my friends often ask me? The short answer is that I’m not. And nor do I need to be. The local organisations on the ground have a wealth of knowledge gained from the work that they do every day that is different from mine. My role is to support them think through the how of advocacy and together we grapple with questions such as: How can you make sure that your land grabs report lands you in the Minister’s office and not in jail? How can make the public buzz about budgets? Why would a sceptical politician choose to attend Stakeholder Dialogue meeting at your community centre and not steak barbecue lunch at the 5* hotel corporate lobbying fest ? I ask these questions because effective advocacy always requires a strategy: it’s not enough to be passionate about a cause, to publish a lengthy report or spend your time convincing those who already agree with you.

The kind of support I give varies: workshop facilitator, mentor, critical friend, sounding board, or researcher – everyone has different needs so there is no one size fits all approach to this job! Perhaps it would be a lot less work and cheaper to run a generic advocacy course in order to disseminate a CAFOD approach to advocacy. However, I suspect that this would be ineffective, out of touch with local reality and risky in the long-run.

So, why this word accompaniment in my job title? (more…)