Lambeth Palace yesterday hosted a launch of the Department for International Development’s 'Faith Partnership Principles' by Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell.
The document has been produced by DFID in consultation with a working group from faith-based development organizations across the faith spectrum. The paper sets out principles to guide DFID’s relationship with faith groups, to build greater common understanding, mutual respect and cooperation in overcoming poverty.
This initiative represents a significant moment in inter faith relations with faith based development organisations bringing together resources of their different traditions in the service of the world's poorest people. As the Archbishop said, "What we share with each other as faith communities is a vision of humanity that speaks not just of rights but of the honour due to human beings, an honour that informs and drives our commitment to international development." The launch was followed by a panel discussion and debate, convened by Dr Rowan Williams, on the subject of ‘Faith, Poverty and Justice’, with an audience of senior leaders from across the faith communities and faith-based development organizations.
The Archbishop welcomed the launch of DFID’s paper, saying:
“The distinctive contribution of faith-based organisations and faith communities in the humanitarian and development arena is increasingly recognised. I believe that there is great potential in promoting mutual understanding, critical engagement and collaborative action between governments, civil society and faith communities in promoting global justice and sustainable development.”
In putting its Faith Partnership Principles into Practice, DFID will work with faith groups to: identify three priority countries for collaborative learning and action; facilitate an inter-faith forum for open and frank debate; and keep faith groups informed about funding opportunities. The paper states: “In many countries, and for many people, faith and religion are central to development… Faith enables them to understand and relate to the world.”
In the foreword, Andrew Mitchell wrote:
“Faith makes such an important contribution to development…. Faith groups are doing excellent work in providing not only humanitarian relief, but delivering health, education and other services in some of the most troubled parts of the world… I look forward to the closer partnership with people of faith who play a unique role in fighting poverty.”
Notes to editors:
The 'Faith Partnership Principles' document, along with speeches and photographs from the launch event can be found here:
Faith groups play a central role in tackling poverty. They are often the first line of support to the poor. They remain serving communities before, during and after times of crisis and conflict. They provide health and education services. In some African countries, faith groups provide up to 70% of health services.
The Archbishop of Canterbury was joined on the panel discussion by Professor Gurharpal Singh, Professor in Inter-Religious Relations and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Dr Severine Deneulin, Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, and Mr Fuad Nahdi, Executive Director of Radical Middle Way.