Effective Inter-religious Action in Peacebuilding

 

7

At a time when religious differences are often used to fan the flames of violence, the role of faith-based initiatives in building peace can be pivotal. Religious communities have been working to stem sectarian violence, drawing on principles of faith to create more just, peaceful, and equitable societies. However, inter-religious action—as a key approach to sustainable peace—still has not recognized its full potential as a force for sustainable peace. There is a lack of linkages and synergies across various efforts in inter-religious action and other secular-based peacebuilding initiatives that may undermine the overall effectiveness of inter-religious peacebuilding and hinder greater impact.

With funding from the GHR Foundation, the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP)  is continuing its work on the Effective Inter-religious Action in Peacebuilding Program (EIAP II). This ground-breaking initiative seeks to foster an evidence-based approach to develop more effective inter-religious action as an important contributor to the peacebuilding and development sectors. To achieve this goal, there will be many exciting opportunities in the coming 3 years, for which you and your organizations may be eligible to apply.

  • Research Grants: The EIAP II program will also work with key partners and researchers to address research gaps previously identified in the field. AfP will seek out researchers and organizations through an open RFP process who are conducting work within these areas and help support them, through small grants, to provide more robust evidence and evaluation.

 

  • In-person Training: EIAP II involves a comprehensive formative approach to training and building capacity with faith-based and secular organizations through in-person, multi-day training on DM&E for inter-religious action. This training will include participants from their respective organizations, including M&E and programming staff members, to build the capacities, competencies, and understanding of all staff working on a project to institutionalize evaluative practices at all levels of the program and organization.

  • Mentorship: To encourage participants to practice what they have learned and apply their knowledge directly, a follow-up to the in-person trainings will be an EIAP II mentorship program. Participants in this program will become mentors to other organizations working on inter-religious action seeking to improve their DM&E practice of inter-religious action. Applicants will have the opportunity to apply to multiple rounds of mentorship.

  • Proposal Review Accompaniment: Through an open RFA, organizations can apply for a one-week proposal review process where technical experts work on the DM&E aspects of selected organization’s proposals. Selected organizations will submit a proposal that includes a DM&E plan to subject matter experts and professional consultants who will review the initial plan and make suggestions and comments to improve the proposed DM&E plans.

  • Direct Organizational M&E Accompaniment: A select number of organizations will be designated to participate in an intensive, multi-year accompaniment process to develop and implement their own bespoke DM&E plan and work with a technical expert to carry it out internally.

 

Participation within these events will be determined based upon open RFP processes and both secular and religious organizations are encouraged to apply. The program will begin with the first round of In-person Training to be held in Washington, DC in mid-November alongside the first call for proposals for research grants.

This process will be shepherded in part by experienced and respected inter-religious leaders from around the world, the Effective Inter-religious Action in Peacebuilding Global Advisory Council:

– Amineh Hoti, Dr.

Co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations; Executive Director of the Society for Dialogue and Action and an Adviser to the Three Faiths Forum, Pakistan

– Dishani Jayweera

Co-founder, Executive Director, Centre for Peacebuilding & Reconciliation, Sri Lanka

– Leonel Narváez Gomez, Father

President of the Fundación para la Reconciliación, and creator of the Methodology of ESPERE, Columbia

– Myla Leguro

Senior Program Manager for Peacebuilding, CRS, Philippines

– Richard Ndi Tanto

Peace and Governance Consultant, Cameroon

– Rick Love, Dr.

President and Co-Founder of Peace Catalyst

– Sarah Bernstein, Dr.

Director-General of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, Isreal

– Shamsia Ramadhan

Program Manager, CIRCA at Catholic Relief Services, Kenya

– Somboon Chungprampree

Program Director of Spirit in Education Movement, and the Executive Secretary of International Network of Engaged Buddhists, Thailand

– Sumaye Hamza

Permanent Secretary Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. Plateau State. Nigeria Former Plateau Chairwoman of FOMWAN, Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria

– Susan Hayward, Reverend

Interim Director, Religion and Peacebuilding Center, United State Institute of Peace


In generating evaluation guidance, the EIAP will begin to address important questions regarding the fundamental criteria for assessing the effectiveness of inter-religious action and how inter-religious programming links with other peacebuilding efforts and related sectors such as development and diplomacy.

The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium (PEC) published its “Meta-Review of Inter-Religious Peacebuilding Program Evaluations” on the DM&E for Peace website. This report is a foundational first step in understanding how the field currently measures inter-religious peacebuilding. Moreover, as a baseline of sorts for our inter-religious evaluation practices, this report also provides insights on how to improve inter-religious evaluation. It identifies five key recommendations for improvement:

  1. The evaluands and/or intended users should be specific about the evaluation foundations to ensure that the evaluator(s) produce high quality findings that serve the intended purpose;
  2. Evaluators, working with evaluands, should increase the robustness of evaluation design for more valid and reliable data and, therefore, more credible evidence;
  3. Methodologies that go beyond self-reported data and actually independently measure changes in attitude and behavior should be implemented;
  4. Include conflict- and gender-sensitive evaluation designs and processes and clearly describe them in the evaluation report; and
  5. Build the evaluation capacity of relevant parties such as evaluators and implementing organizations. These recommendations can be utilized by evaluation commissioners, evaluands, and evaluators to improve the evaluation of inter-religious action in support of peacebuilding.

The Alliance for Peacebuilding would like to thank CDA Collaborative Learning Projects for their hard work and dedication in producing this report. AfP and CDA would like to acknowledge the organizations that contributed their program evaluations for this effort – and actually practicing the principal of transparency for the sake of better peacebuilding practice: Catholic Relief Services, the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Nansen Dialogue Center, Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association, and Search for Common Ground.


Read the EIAP Press Release


For more information on EIAP or to explore how to become involved in EIAP, please contact Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik, Director of Learning & Evaluation at jessica@AllianceforPeacebuilding.org.