Effective Inter-religious Action in Peacebuilding
Tapping into the Power of Faith and Communities
At a time when religious differences are often used to fan the flames of violence, the role of faith-based initiatives in building peace is crucial. Religious communities have powerful potential for making significant contributions toward preventing conflict, mitigating violence, and building reconciliation. 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 and its partners in the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium—CDA Collaborative Learning, Mercy Corps, and Search for Common Ground (SFCG)—began the Effective Inter-religious Action in Peacebuilding. This ground-breaking, three-year initiative seeks to improve the evaluation practices of inter-religious peacebuilding by addressing three specific gaps in inter-religious peacebuilding efforts – measurement, cooperation, and policy.
With the highly-collaborative approach of the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium, the goals of the EIAP are two-fold: 1) to generate guidance on how to evaluate inter-religious action and 2) to develop a framework for ongoing learning regarding what constitutes effective inter-religious action. Along with key AfP members such as the American Friends Services Committee, Catholic Relief Services, the Salam Institute and World Vision International, the PEC will ensure the EIAP is driven by a whole-of-field and stakeholder-intensive process. 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.
Meta-Review of Inter-Religious Peacebuilding Program Evaluations
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:
- 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;
- Evaluators, working with evaluands, should increase the robustness of evaluation design for more valid and reliable data and, therefore, more credible evidence;
- Methodologies that go beyond self-reported data and actually independently measure changes in attitude and behavior should be implemented;
- Include conflict- and gender-sensitive evaluation designs and processes and clearly describe them in the evaluation report; and
- 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.
For more information on EIAP or to explore how to become involved in EIAP, please contact Caroline Sarkis, Senior Manager for Learning and Evaluation at caroline@AllianceforPeacebuilding.org.