Local faith communities and resilience in humanitarian situations
Joint Learning Initiative on Local Faith Communities
Local Faith Communities (LFCs) engage in a range of activities across the humanitarian spectrum and are often central to strengthening resilience and reinforcing the local processes of identity and connection that comprise the social fabric of communities disrupted by disaster or conflict. There is increasing recognition of LFCs’ roles by the mainstream humanitarian community, as evidenced by emerging research and international dialogues on faith, such as the UNHCR Dialogue on Faith and Protection in December 2012. However there are a number of challenges to establishing partnerships with LFCs. The Joint Learning Initiative (JLI) on Faith and Local Communities has sought to understand the role of LFCs in strengthening resilience, as well as addressing three challenges to full engagement with LFCs: a lack of evidence regarding the impact of LFCs on individual and community resilience; a lack of trust, knowledge and capacity for such engagement; and the need for clear, implementable actions to improve partnership and the effectiveness of humanitarian response. Under the auspices of the JLI on Faith and Local Communities, the Learning Hub on Resilience, made up of 20 practitioners, academics and policymakers expert in humanitarian services and faith community, has guided a scoping report on the question of evidence for LFC contribution to resilience. This note abstracts from that report, and summarises available evidence.