Religion and Humanitarianism
Since the 2000s in particular, humanitarian actors and agencies have begun to investigate the implications of religion for humanitarian assistance and development. Due to the informal and decentralized nature of much faith-based assistance, it remains difficult to establish precisely how much humanitarian work is undertaken by locally-based religious communities, ranging from providing shelter during an emergency, mediating conflict or facilitating transitional and durable solutions for displaced populations.
Indeed, the interplay between religion and modern humanitarianism can be complex. Key questions include whether the involvement of local faith communities and both national and international religious groups in humanitarianism necessarily contravenes basic humanitarian principles such as impartiality, independence and neutrality? Furthermore, are religious actors and stakeholders a sector present in virtually all humanitarian contexts that must therefore be constructively engaged with?
This resource summary has been prepared in conjunction with the RSC/JLI Working Paper, "Local Faith Communities (LFCs) and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations", and aims to provide an introduction to this increasingly debated issue. The summary includes a sample selection of references selected from FMO, and a range of full-text documents, journal articles, web resources and relevant organizations.
- Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Ager, A. (eds) (2013) "Local faith communities and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations: a scoping survey", RSC/JLI Working Paper, Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre
- Joint Learning Initiative on Local Faith Communities (2012) "Local faith communities and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations", RSC Forced Migration Policy Note, Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre.
- RSC Research Project. "Faith-Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement".
Selected resources from FMO (for more, search in the Digital Library)
- Refugee Studies Centre (2010) "Workshop Report: Faith-Based Humanitarianism", September 2010
- Ferris, E. 2010. "Address at the RSC’s September 2010 workshop on Faith-Based Humanitarianism", Podcast
- Forced Migration Review (2009) "Islam, human rights and displacement", supplement, January 2009.
Selected web-based information resources (for more, search in the Digital Library)
- Ferris, E. (2005). "Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations." International review of the Red Cross 87(858): 311-325.
- Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011). “The Pragmatics of Performance: Putting ‘Faith’ in Aid in the Sahrawi Refugee Camps. ” Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 533-547.
- Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011). "Introduction: Faith-Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement." Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 429-439.
- Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012). “Conflicting Missions? The politics of Evangelical humanitarianism in the Sahrawi and Palestinian protracted refugee situations.” Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Working Paper, April 2012.
- Forced Migration Review (2009) "Islam, human rights and displacement", supplement, revised 2012.
- Hovey, G and Saleem, A. "Faith, relief and development: the Sri Lanka experience." Forced Migration Review 30.
- Islamic Relief, (2012). “Feeling the Heat.”
- Journal of Refugee Studies (2011) "Special Edition on Faith-Based Humanitarianism", 24(3).
- Religions for Peace/UNICEF (2010). “Conflict, Child Protection and Religious Communities.”
- Samuels, F. Geibel, R. and Fiona Perry, F. (2010) “Collaboration between faith-based communities and humanitarian actors when responding to HIV in emergencies” ODI Project Briefing 41, Overseas Development Institute.
- Social Science Research Council (2011). “Religion, Development and the United Nations.”
- UK Department for Communities and Local Government, (2008). "Key communities, key resources engaging the capacity and capabilities of faith communities in civil resilience."
- UK Department for International Development (2012). “Faith Partnership Principles.”
- UNAIDS, (2011). “Partnership with Faith-based Organizations: UNAIDS Strategic Framework.”
- UNFPA. "Guidelines for engaging Faith-based Organizations as agents of change."
- UNICEF, (2012). “Partnering with Religious Communities for Children”.
- World Bank, (2008). “Working for God? Evidence from a change in financing of not-for-profit healthcare providers in Uganda.”
- Ager, A. and J. Ager (2011). "Faith and the Discourse of Secular Humanitarianism." Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 456-472.
- Barnett, M. and J. Stein (2012). Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism. Oxford: OUP.
- Berger, P. (1999). The Desecularization of the World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
- Cain, D. S. and J. Barthelemy (2007). "Tangible and Spiritual Relief After The Storm: The Religious Communities Response to Katrina." Journal of Social Service Research.
- Casanova, J. (1994). Public Religions in the Modern World. Chicago: UCP.
- Chester, D. K. and A. M. Duncan (2010). "Responding to disasters within the Christian tradition, with reference to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes." Religion 40(2): 85-95.
- Clarke, G. (2007). “Agents of Transformation? Donors, Faith-based Organisations and International Development.” Third World Quarterly 28: 77-96.
- Clarke, G. (2008). Trans-Faith Humanitarianism: Muslim Aid and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Swansea university. Centre for development studies.
- De Cordier, B. (2009). "Faith-based aid, globalisation and the humanitarian frontline: an analysis of Western-based Muslim aid organisations." Disasters 33(4): 608-628.
- De Cordier, B. (2009). “The ‘Humanitarian Frontline’, Development and Relief, and Religion: What Context, Which Threats and Which Opportunities?” Third World Quarterly 30: 663-684.
- Eby, J., E. Iverson, et al. (2011). "The Faith Community’s Role in Refugee Resettlement in the United States." Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 586-605.
- Falk, M. L. (2010). "Recovery and Buddhist practices in the aftermath of the Tsunami in Southern Thailand." Religion 40(2): 96-103. Fernando, C. and
- M. Ferrari (2011). "Spirituality and Resilience in Children of War in Sri Lanka." Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health 13(1): 52-77.
- Ferris, E. (2011). "Faith and Humanitarianism: It’s Complicated." Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 606-625.
- Gaillard, J. C. and P. Texier (2010). "Religions, natural hazards, and disasters: An introduction." Religion 40(2): 81-84.
- Gozdziak, E.M. and D.J. Shandy (2002). “Editorial Introduction: Religion and Spirituality in Forced Migration.” Journal of Refugee Studies 15: 129.
- Greeff, A. P. and K. Loubser (2008). "Spirituality as a resiliency quality in Xhosa-speaking families in South Africa." Journal of Religion and Health 47(3): 288-301.
- Holton, M. J. (2010). "Our hope comes from God": faith narratives and resilience in Southern Sudan. Journal of Pastoral Theology 20: 67-84.
- Hurst, J. and J. George (2009). “Preparing Communities: The Critical Integration of Faith-Based Organizations into Emergency Planning and Response.” Journal of Emergency Management 7(3): 11-20.
- Jennings, M. and G. Clarke (2008). Development, Civil Society and Faith-based Organisations: Bridging the Sacred and the Secular. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Kirmani, N. and A. A. Khan (2008). "Does Faith Matter: An Examination of Islamic Relief's Work with Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons." Refugee Survey Quarterly 27(2): 41-50.
- M Hum, T. A., H. B. PhD, et al. (2011). "Spirituality and Faith-Based Interventions: Pathways to Disaster Resilience for African American Hurricane Katrina Survivors." Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work 30(3): 294-319.
- Palmer, V. (2011). "Analysing cultural proximity: Islamic Relief Worldwide and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh." Development in Practice 21(1): 96-108.
- Parsitau, D. S. (2011). "The Role of Faith and Faith-Based Organizations among Internally Displaced Persons in Kenya." Journal of Refugee Studies 24(3): 493-512.
- Smillie, I. (2001). “Patronage or Partnership: Local Capacity Building in Humanitarian Crises.” International Development Research Centre. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian.
- Wessells, M. and Strang, A. (2006). “Religion as Resource and Risk: The double-edged sword for children in situations of armed conflict.” In Boothby, N. et al (Eds.), A World Turned Upside Down: Social Ecological Approaches to Children in War Zones. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press. p. 205.
- Wisner, B. (2010). “Untapped potential of the world's religious communities for disaster reduction in an age of accelerated climate change: An epilogue & prologue.” Religion 40 (2): 128-131.
Relevant Research and Policy Initiatives
- Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities in Humanitarian Situations
- UNHCR Dialogue on Faith and Protection
- ICRC Resource Center
- World Bank's Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics
- Religions And Development Research Programme at Birmingham University
- Berkley Center For Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Religion and Global Development Program
- Knowledge Center on Religion and Development
- Anglican Alliance
- Archbishop of Canterbury's Office
- Center For International Faith Action
- Christian Aid
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
- Interfaith Hindu Forum of Britain
- International Catholic Migration Commission
- Islamic Relief
- Islamic Relief UK
- Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)
- Lutheran World Federation
- Muslim Aid
- Soka Gakkai
- Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
- TAG Development
- United Sikhs
- Washington Global Health Alliance
- World Council of Churches
- World Vision