Unlocking the Power of Faith-Based Partnerships: Enabling the Right to Social Protection
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary, Act Alliance
- Social protection is the theme of CSW and is linked to gender
- ACT Alliance – it is the responsibility of the government to have social protection however it is important for governments to talk to faith actors who are often at the forefront of social protection and are the ones reaching those who are most at risk of being left behind
- Faith actors can hold governments accountable
- There needs to be an enabling society
- Faith actors in some situations perpetuate patriarchy, and social norms can also challenge these
- Faith actors are in a position of power and are instrumental in ending gender biases
- Governments have a responsibility to design, implement and finance social protection frameworks
- In ACT Alliance we want to set the bar high for gender quality – global campaign “created equal” (https://actalliance.org/act-news/the-created-equal-campaign-on-the-move)
- ACT Alliance is ready to work hard on this, being bold and humble at the same time, speaking up on injustices and understanding the issues that might divide the faith community
- We cannot put these topics under the table. We need to play an important role and act for gender justice
Dr. Elisabet le Roux, Research Director at Unit for Religion & Development Research, Stellenbosch University Religion, development and GBD.
- Produced a document to empower gender workstream, the report was prepared looking at data published in the last few years. What do we know, where are the gaps and where to now?
- What do we know – interest in religion and development is growing but evidence is lacking. The influence of patriarchy is a major challenge.
- Religious leaders are critical, it is important to work with all levels of religious hierarchy.
- Much of existing research on religion and development is lacking causality. The gap is due to the lack of experimental research.
- In practice there are many faith-based interventions but there is no monitoring of the work happening, often due to lack of funding.
- Intervention programming is rarely evaluated for sustainability.
- Majority of research is on Christianity, leads to a misrepresentation. The diversity of religious voices should be included.
- We need to make a case for research.
- Research should be approached as an indispensable tool for figuring things out, the good and the bad, it’s a robust learning process. We need to build development for faiths to understand and use research and promote the use of ethical research.
- Research can be strengthened by collaboration.
- Need to develop focused research agendas, which are linked to addressing gaps.
Rabbi Diana S. Gerson, Associate Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis
- Women are taking leadership, leading conversation, finding pathways of change.
- Faith leaders are welcomed inside to the UN to have a seat at the table. They used to be outside protesting for a voice.
- It is important for young girls to know that there is nothing they cannot do. They need examples of women in leadership to look up to.
- Faith leaders are first the responders in times of crisis. We need to know who to call, who to send people to, what to do, we need to know our resources.
- Was a Rabbi for 6 years before had to learn what to do with people experiencing partner abuse.
- We need to be talking to each other about how to make big brush stroke changes that makes changes in a family.
- We all have responsibility.
- People go where they feel there is someone safe and open. Someone who is talking about these issues from the pulpit.
- We are all bound by our love for our children, our work for the good, for the love of the place where we live, and our shared responsibility.
- 84% of the world identify with a faith tradition – that’s a lot of people. When they are in crisis, they come to faith leaders for counsel and leadership.
- We need to teach our faith communities to look for the resources in our faiths. We need to help poor young women flourish – that is our sacred task.
- New Jersey was on track to be the first state in the US to outlaw child marriage –The Governor however vetoed it stating it put an undue burden on faith communities. There is not a faith text or tradition that requires child marriage.
- We have so many opportunities to work together, we have to be partner. We can be protectors and defenders of all, that is our sacred task.
Suzy Ismail, Founder and Director, Cornerstone
- Regardless of which faith, social status, job, gender you are this topic matters.
- People always ask why is there no men’s days or men’s studies?
- The World Health Organisation reports that every 15 seconds there is a young woman sexually assaulted.
- There are places in the world where a girl is more likely to be raped than complete high school.
- Women make up 60% of workforce, earn less than 30% of the income and own less than 1% of the property.
- Many faith communities have experienced great tragedy in the last few days. Every day we see tragedies within faith-based spaces, in areas which are supposed to be the safest, are supposed to represent peace.
- For social protection, partnerships are so critical.
- When working at the Syrian border, in a refugee camp a young woman in her teens would follow her around, she had no birth certificate. She asked the young woman ‘what are your dreams?’ ‘what are your goals?’ ‘what are your hopes?’ she said she wanted to be a Doctor but she said ‘I can’t, I’m getting married, my wedding is next week’. She said she must take care of her siblings, they were living in Syria, her father was killed, her mother and her siblings escaped and went to a refugee camp. The children started to become very ill, especially the youngest siblings, so they decided to leave the camp, as they tried to cross the border they were stopped. The mother was told if she left her eldest daughter and her and the other children could go. So, her eldest sister was left behind, she did it to save the rest of the family, so now the young woman feels it is her time to help the family. She is going to be a second wife to a rich business man.
Building faith-based partnerships is critical, it starts with education, knowledge and understanding, then it goes to action.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- As faith leaders are often seen as first responders in a crisis situation, it is vital that all officers and Salvation Army employees are informed about services in their local communities and know who to contact in different situations.
- We need to use research as an indispensable tool to inform policy and to monitor and evaluate programmes. We need to also promote the importance of and ensure the use of ethical research.
- It is essential to collaborate and partner with different faiths to strengthen education, knowledge, understanding and increase action.