Do faith-based organizations face specific challenges or criticisms regarding the impartiality of their actions and policies in active or post-conflict situations? What are some examples of how such organizations have effectively responded to these challenges/criticisms?
Senior Political Officer at MONUSCO (DRC)
Answer posted: 8 August 2015
Yes they do.
I think there is always a (mis)perception about faith-based organizations (FBOs) and what they do or do not do. While it is true that there are some who engage on issues and matters that are not keeping with humanitarian principles, a large portion of the FBOs are professional organisations motivated by their faith to respond to the people in need.
If you look at organisations such as Muslim Aid, working in places like Sri Lanka, they work across faiths working on many different programs and also engage in partnerships with other organisations.
Christian Aid is another organization that has transcended religious divides. The recent initiative by Islamic Relief and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) in the Central African Republic working in partnership is a great example of trying to counter this criticism.
About the author
Amjad Mohamed-Saleem is a free-lance consultant from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and was born in Nigeria. In this capacity he has advised the Commonwealth Foundation, International Alert, among others. In this capacity, he also worked as the Head of Communications and manager of Conflicts Programme for the Cordoba Foundation. He has been country director of the NGO Muslim Aid in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He has also worked in Myanmar, looking at the role the private sector could have in reaching people that humanitarian organizations have trouble reaching themselves, and on issues of peacebuilding and the role of faith in conflict reconciliation in Asia.