Global Report on Reports
Overall goal: Religious actors participate actively in peacebuilding processes contributing to sociopolitical changes in local and national contexts
NCA has established and strengthened interfaith peacebuilding structures, which have advocated for sociopolitical change and contributed to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Faith actors have established interfaith structures for cooperation and peacebuilding
Under this programme NCA has contributed to the establishment and strengthening of 44 formal and informal inter- and intra-faith structures. These structures are currently functioning both at national level, like in India, Pakistan, Haiti, and Ethiopia, and on local and intermediate levels in most of the countries where this programme has been implemented. Through regular dialogue on faith issues, the relationship between representatives from different faith communities has improved. The trust built between the members of these structures has furthermore enabled them to jointly engage government bodies on local and national level on issues related to fulfilling citizens’ basic needs, protecting women and minority groups, and taking action to address underlying causes of violent conflict. This has been done through emphasis on mediation, advocacy and lobby. Particularly in contexts where religion is used to mobilise for violence, such as in the case of Pakistan, inter- and intra-faith structures have successfully intervened at an early stage in situations of interreligious tension in order to prevent escalation of conflict.
The implementation of this programme was halted by strict civil society laws in Sudan and Ethiopia, while in most other contexts the programme was implemented as planned. Achieving equal or at least minimum participation of women in the different levels of NCA supported peace work has been a challenge and the results are not satisfactory. In some contexts, NCA’s focus on working with religious leaders has almost per design made it very difficult to include women, since female Imams and in some areas female pastors and bishops are non-existent. Over the period NCA has started focusing more on the broader group of religious actors, including any resource person - men, women or youth - having some kind of affiliation with larger or smaller faith community structures. This has made it easier to find ways of including women, since women often do hold formal and informal positions in their respective faith communities, although they are not formal religious leaders. These experiences are stepping stones for the NCA’s upcoming strategy, where we will focus on women’s participation in peacebuilding. Furthermore, the work with interfaith structures will be continued, with an increased focus on utilising faithbased methods and resources for peacebuilding.
Achieved in Kenya (East Africa), DRC and Pakistan, while not fully achieved in Haiti, Sudan and Ethiopia. The focus under this outcome has been on establishing and strengthening sustainable interfaith structures as a first step to enable joint action from faith-based actors. Investing in relationship building between the actors in question has been important to achieve this. Between 2011 and 2014, NCA contributed to establish and/or strengthen 44 formal and informal interfaith structures (including in India and Zanzibar).
Achieved in Kenya (East Africa), DRC and Somalia, while not fully achieved in Ethiopia. NCA has empowered women through for example capacity building on conflict transformation and UN’s women, peace and security resolutions, networking between women involved in faith-based peacebuilding, strengthening of regional faith-based actors’ gender/women’s desks and support to women’s participation in mediation teams. With the exception of DRC (see main report), it has, however, so far proven difficult to document the exact effects of this empowerment.
Achieved in Kenya (East Africa) and Somalia. Through collaboration with province, national and regional faithbased bodies in East Africa, NCA supported an array of peacebuilding initiatives involving religious leaders. For example, in Somalia, the Puntland religious leaders secretariat reached approximately 1,200,000 women and 800,000 men, i.e. 75% of the total Puntland population, with awareness-raising messages on piracy, contributing to an increased awareness on the negative effects of piracy and a reported decrease in community support to pirate groups.
Achieved in Middle East and Pakistan, where different measures were taken to accompany minority groups. For example, in Pakistan, NCA supported different partners working with Madrassas (religious schools) to promote intra/interfaith harmony and rights of religious minorities based on Islamic teachings. One of the partners facilitated the development of a peace textbook for 9th and 10th grade students which has been endorsed for use in Madrassas of different schools of thought in Islam. In the Middle East, the Ecumenical Accompaniment programme has secured stable access to education for more than 4,000 Palestinian children each year.
Achieved in Kenya (East Africa), Middle East and Pakistan, while not fully achieved in Haiti. For example, in East Africa regional faith-based bodies were supported in building linkages to other key civil society actors or decision-making bodies, and the All Africa Council of Churches developed and MoU and set up a liaison office with the African Union.
Achieved in Somalia, Middle East and Pakistan, while not fully achieved in Ethiopia. The nature of the interventions has varied according to context. For example, in Pakistan, religious leaders have regularly participated in TV shows, press conferences, facilitated dialogues between religious groups, engaged in situations of religious tension etc, all in order to discourage religious extremism and sectarianism, which are drivers of conflict in Pakistan.Back