Tag: religion

6 ways Aid Donors can help harness Religious Giving for Development

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Why the disconnect between Aid and Buddhism in Myanmar?

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 […]

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Book Review: Eden 2.0: Climate Change and the Search for a 21st Century Myth, by Alex Evans

In his new book, Eden 2.0 (just 68 pages, published today, but currently only available on Kindle, which is bad news for technophobes and tree killers like me, or people who dislike Amazon), Alex Evans asks a question that has been uppermost in every Remainer’s mind in recent days ‘if evidence and rational arguments aren’t […]

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Why we should be interested in the rise of the Pentecostals

Maybe it’s my Latin America background, but I’ve always been fascinated by the rise of evangelical Christianity, and its potential social and political impact. Religion in general is an inexcusable blind spot for a lot of the aid business, and activists are particularly alarmed by the kind of happy clappy Protestant churches who go in […]

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Harnessing religion to improve education in Africa

The Africa Power and Politics Programme is thought-provoking, innovative and infuriating in equal measure. ‘Religion and education reform in Africa: harnessing religious values to developmental ends’, a fascinating new APPP paper by Leonardo A. Villalón and Mahaman Tidjani-Alou, examines recent educational reforms in Mali, Niger and Senegal, three overwhelmingly Muslim, francophone countries in West Africa. […]

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Religion, making babies and 'peak child': brilliant new Hans Rosling video

Break out the champagne, the sword-swallowing data guru is back, with a brilliant performance on religion and fertility, delivered, as far as I can tell, in Qatar. Conclusion: ‘religion has very little to do with the number of children in the world’, and fertility is falling rapidly, everywhere (due to women’s education and paid jobs + […]

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

Wilton Park is a wonderful place for a conference – a stately home nestling in glorious English countryside. These days it is used for high minded seminars on global governance, foreign policy etc, linked to the British Foreign Office, but the hosts take care to ‘fess up to the irony that the aristocratic pile was […]

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

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity […]

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Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

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 […]

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Hell is Good for Growth (or maybe vice versa)

The Protestant Work Ethic is back, this time supported by econometrics….. A recent article in the Boston Globe summed up research showing that a belief in hell is good for growth, and other linkages between religion and development. Highlights: ‘A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying […]

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Faith and development – what's the connection?

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 […]

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