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Hello

 

I don't see how, in the terms being discussed, faith-based-organisations are
logically any different from politics-based-organisations or
economics-based-organisations or culture-based-organisations or
ecology-based-organisations; all organisations have their own bases; they all
face the same kind of dilemma in seeking and getting support from other
individuals or groups or institutions that do not entirely (or at all) have
the same basis, ie: because they are not like us, and cannot fully understand
us, there is a risk that our engagement with them will change what we do or
who we are, so we have to be careful about how we deal with them.

 

To caricature the point, I have encountered people committed to environmental
organisations of various types who see what they do as special, and what
everyone else does as belonging to a single other category of
not-so-special-because-not-planet-saving. They have to do deal with those in
the other category, and so have to consider, continually, how far they can do
business with partners who, for example, emit lots of carbon, and therefore
who they get in to bed with, and on what terms, etc. 

 

How is this different from the dilemma faced by FBOs?

 

What is the difference that makes a difference between faith and any other
kind of basis? Aren't they all just bases, which, however varied, have
similar effects? 

 

Evidence may exist about FBOs' uniqueness in the effects of their basis on
how they behave; but it may be a helpful first step to identify what kind of
evidence would support this hypothesis of uniqueness.

 

Jon

 

From: VSSN [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Alan Robinson
Sent: 14 September 2011 14:19
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Faith Based Organizations

 

Paul - good to see the discussion continuing.  Some very helpful reflections
and sources of information being contributed.

 

I probably have more questions than answers.  From my understanding the
theory goes - in very simple terms - you have a Faith Based Organization with
a particular mission receiving funding from like-minded people or
grouips/organizations.  The FBO, by its very nature, often has a grass-roots
network which connects with the most vulnerable in society and is trusted by
the communities it serves.  Government is often keen to fund such efforts -
with the qualifier that you mustn't proselytize using government monies - and
are happy to support such FBO with grants.  As the money from this source
increases, there is concern within the FBO and maybe from some of its
traditional supporters - with questions being raised:

*	Will this money skew our mission?

*	Are we on the road to losing our faith identity?

*	Will we have to review our recruitment policy?

*	Are we going to be drawn into achieving national and foreign policy?

*	Should we set a limit on government funding - an individual donor
limit or overall government donor limit?

These are real concerns and real questions - but are these founded in any
evidence?  I have no answer.  Some FBOs will indeed review and change mission
according to changes in aid architecture and trends - others may move away
from being faith explicit - but whether this is because of funding sources
isn't clear.  I suspect there are many other factors.

 

In my experinece, key institutional donors recognize the worth of FBOs and
the work they do - it would be self-defeating for them to want them to lose
such an identity.  The US Govt is clear on this with the guidance they issue
- http://www.in.gov/ofbci/files/GuidanceDocument.pdf - and the British
Government currently have a Faith Working Group lpositively ooking at the
role of FBOs in international development - with results due soon.

 

However, it will always remain a matter of debate until there is firm
evidence - and even then this healthy debate will inevitably continue.

 

There are many references to the issue of Faith in Development from a
Christian perspective on: http://www.faithindevelopment.org/8.html

 

 

Happy to continue off-line.

 

Regards

Alan

-- 

 

Alan Robinson

Head of Programme Funding

Tearfund

100 Church Road

Teddington

TW11 8QE

United Kingdom

 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8943 7769

www.tearfund.org <http://www.tearfund.org/> 

 

 





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