Local faith communities and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations - A scoping study

from Refugee Studies Centre
Published on 15 Feb 2013 View Original


Executive summary

Local Faith Communities (LFCs) are groupings of religious actors bonded through shared allegiance to institutions, beliefs, history or identity. They engage in a range of activities across the humanitarian spectrum. Resilience – defined as the ability to anticipate, withstand and bounce back from external pressures and shocks – is increasingly a central construct in the shaping of humanitarian strategy by the international community.

Faith groups 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.

This Joint Learning Initiative (JLI) on Faith and Local Communities is seeking to understand the role of LFCs in strengthening resilience, and to address 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.

This scoping document investigates the evidence for LFC contribution to resilience under the guidance of the JLI Resilience Learning Hub, membership of which is made up of 20 practitioners, academics and policymakers expert in humanitarian services and faith communities.