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What would make an Atheist spend a day discussing Faith and Development?

October 19, 2023
Had a good chat last week about one of my enduring hobby-horses: the role of faith in development, and the aid sector’s massive secular blind spot. The conversation was with Christian Aid’s Lila Caballero Sosa, who (with Islamic Relief, the Joint Learning Initiative and the University of Leeds) is putting together a big event on faith and development for next

FoRB and inequality on the grounds of religion or belief: practitioner dilemmas

March 30, 2022
Cathy Shutt, with the second of her two posts (first one here) In my first post I compared key elements of theories of action and change for the two main schools of thought on the links between faith and social change: faith in development and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).  Here, I examine some of the dilemmas associated with

Tackling Inequality on the grounds of religion or belief: more than ‘add religion and stir’

March 29, 2022
Guest post by Cathy Shutt Last year the Coalition of Religious Equality and Inclusion in Development  (CREID) contracted me to conduct research in support of mainstreaming inequality on the grounds of religious belief or non-belief in international development. Having taught on ‘faith in development’ for over ten years, I was naturally curious and accepted. Despite being an atheist, I was

6 ways Aid Donors can help harness Religious Giving for Development

June 5, 2018
One of the consequences of writing a blog that covers some off-beat topics is that when someone’s organizing an event on one of them and can’t find qualified speakers, you get invited along to make up the numbers. So it was that I, a lifelong atheist, ended up on a panel at DFID last week on religious giving for development.

Can religion play a role in evidence-obsessed governance strategies? Lessons from Tanzania

March 21, 2018
Next up in the Twaweza series, Aikande Clement Kwayu reflects on the development sector’s blind spot with religion When it comes to social change, religion is a double-edged sword. It can be both a force for good and/or for bad. The world-wide positive contribution by religious organisations in providing public services such as health and education is undisputed.  The role

Why the disconnect between Aid and Buddhism in Myanmar?

December 8, 2017
Back from Myanmar today, and still processing an intense week of conversations. Here’s a first instalment. A week in, I was struck by the gulf between the aid bubble and the deep religiosity of people throughout the country. So I dashed off this vlog on a weekend visit to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, in the heart of Yangon. In it

Why Faith-Based Organizations are particularly well suited to ‘Doing Development Differently’

May 18, 2017
Last week, I went in to talk How Change Happens with a bunch of CEOs and other senior staff from major Catholic aid agencies, including CAFOD, the first development outfit foolish enough to give me a job back in the 90s. We covered a lot of the standard ground – the results agenda, private sector approaches to innovation, the future

Religion and Development: what are the links? Why should we care?

October 27, 2011

10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

August 18, 2011

Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

May 13, 2010
Should Oxfam’s emergency relief money be used to build mosques? That was the fascinating question that cropped up in a recent internal discussion on faith and development. And it’s not a purely academic one. In Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Oxfam said no to one request.  But two years later, after the big Java earthquake of  2006, we said

Faith and development – what’s the connection?

October 6, 2009
I’ve worked in and with many faith-based organizations over the years and have long argued that development organizations can’t afford to be blind to the importance of faith. Research shows that people living in poverty trust their churches more than any other institution, and faiths are vital in forging the attitudes and beliefs that underpin (for good or ill) the