Fiji

Focus On The Intersections: Roles of Churches and Church Organizations - In Localization Of Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management And Humanitarian Actions In Fiji

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1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Localization of humanitarian action is a priority in Fiji and other Pacific Island Countries. Churches and church-based organizations play significant roles in localization actions. However, the breadth and depth of churches and church-based organizations roles in localization are not clear and widely recognized and appreciated. This research was commissioned by CAN DO and ADRA to 1) document the roles of churches and church-based organization in climate change, disaster risk management and localization of humanitarian action. But the reality of COVID-19 lockdowns has brought to the fore that localization is not only for humanitarian action but in all actions related to climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian action – hence, we refocused the report on the roles of churches and church-based organizations in localization of climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian actions. 2) The research synthesizes the roles and partnerships of the churches and church-based organizations and present valuable recommendations for CAN DO, ADRA, national and international actors working on climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian actions. To understand the roles of churches and church-based organizations and develop recommendations, a qualitative research approach using focus group discussions with church members, key informant interviews with church-based organizations and partners. This research including the method has been built on CAN DO partnerships and PIANGO and HAG tools such as the Localization Evaluation Framework. Information including in this report were collected from Communities and organizations based in the Central Division of Fiji.

All participants (from the community, church-based organizations, government, and NGOs) strongly agreed that churches and church-based organizations play a significant role in preparing for, and responding to, climate change, disasters, COVID-19, and the localisation of humanitarian actions in Fiji. However, the roles, partnerships, resourcing, and capacity to carry out the roles effectively and efficiently are perceived differently, depending on community location, denominational membership, and availability of supporting resources and networks.

The main roles of the churches and church-based organizations in the localization agenda is based on their ability to reach everyone, everywhere, every time. In Fiji, the critical roles the churches and church-based organizations are involved in localization of climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian actions are:

  1. Consultative agents to identify needs of communities
  2. Accountability to donors
  3. Increasing the education and awareness of everyone
  4. Engaging and mobilizing communities and partners to act climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian action priorities

Churches and church-based organizations are working with many partners in Fiji (both local and international partners) to implement their roles in localization of climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian actions. Key lessons from working with partners include.

• The need for Monitoring and Evaluation skills from a faith-based approach to evidence and sharing lessons between partners – room for learning and improvements.

• Sharing resources and learning from one another

• Sharing of maps and the value of GIS

• Transforming the roles of first responders

The recommendations from the study focused on addressing the intersections between the breadth and depth of churches and church-based organizations’ roles and partnerships in delivering and reporting of activities related to localization of climate change, disaster risk management and humanitarian actions in Fiji, and lessons learnt from the actions.