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Working for God and Sustainability: The Activities of Faith-Based Organizations in Kenya

  • Joanne M. Moyer
  • A. John SinclairEmail author
  • Harry Spaling
Original Paper

Abstract

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have long played a role in international development, and are increasingly involved in environmental sustainability initiatives. Despite these contributions they have, until recently, been largely ignored in scholarship and by secular agencies. This article adds to the growing recognition of FBOs, exploring the identity and function of FBOs doing environmental and development work in Kenya through document review, qualitative questionnaires and participant observation. A diverse group of FBOs with varied identities and engaged in a broad range of activities revealed several strengths and challenges of faith-based environmental and development work. Of particular note is the key role churches and faith-based agencies can play in effecting sustainable and holistic change in Global South countries, due to their rootedness in the community, the social capital they help to produce, and the respect they receive from the people.

Keywords

Faith-based organizations Environmental sustainability Development Kenya 

Résumé

Les organisations confessionnelles (FBO—Faith-based organizations) ont depuis longtemps joué un rôle dans le développement international, et s’impliquent de manière croissante dans les initiatives pour une gestion durable de l’environnement. En dépit de ces contributions et jusqu’à récemment, elles ont été en grande partie ignorées par la recherche et les organisations laïques. Cet article confirme la reconnaissance croissante des FBO. Au moyen d’analyse de documents, de questionnaires qualitatifs et d’observations des participants, il explore l’identité et la fonction de FBO accomplissant un travail environnemental et de développement au Kenya. Un groupe diversifié de FBO aux identités différentes et engagées dans une vaste gamme d’activités, a mis en évidence plusieurs atouts et défis des initiatives confessionnelles en matière d’environnement et de développement. Le rôle clé que peuvent jouer les agences confessionnelles et les églises a une dimension particulière pour mettre en œuvre un changement durable et holistique dans les pays du Sud Global, en raison de leur enracinement au sein de la communauté, du capital social qu’elles contribuent à produire et du respect qu’elles suscitent chez les populations.

Zusammenfassung

Glaubensbegründete Organisationen spielen seit langem eine Rolle in der internationalen Entwicklung und sind zunehmend in Initiativen zur ökologischen Nachhaltigkeit involviert. Trotz ihrer Beiträge wurden sie bis vor kurzem von der Wissenschaft und nicht kirchlichen Einrichtungen weitestgehend ignoriert. Diese Abhandlung trägt zur wachsenden Anerkennung glaubensbegründeter Organisationen bei und untersucht mittels Dokumentenrevision, qualitativer Fragebögen und teilnehmender Beobachtung die Identität und Funktion glaubensbegründeter Organisationen, die Umwelt- und Entwicklungsarbeit in Kenia leisten. Eine diverse Gruppe glaubensbegründeter Organisationen mit unterschiedlichen Identitäten, die in zahlreichen verschiedenen Bereichen tätig sind, zeigte die Erfolge und Probleme glaubensbegründeter Umwelt- und Entwicklungsarbeit. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die wichtige Rolle, die Kirchen und glaubensbegründete Einrichtungen spielen können, um nachhaltige und ganzheitliche Änderungen in Ländern der südlichen Hemisphäre zu bewirken, was auf ihre Verwurzelung in der Gemeinschaft, das von ihnen produzierte Sozialkapital und den ihnen entgegengebrachten Respekt seitens der Menschen zurückzuführen ist.

Resumen

Las organizaciones basadas en la fe (FBO, del inglés Faith-based organizations) han desempeñado desde hace tiempo un papel en el desarrollo internacional, y cada vez se implican más en iniciativas de sostenibilidad medioambiental. A pesar de estas aportaciones, hasta hace poco, han sido ampliamente ignoradas por los eruditos y por las agencias seculares. Este documento contribuye al creciente reconocimiento de las FBO, explorando la identidad y la función de las FBO que realizan trabajos medioambientales y de desarrollo en Kenia mediante la revisión de documentos, cuestionarios cualitativos y observación participante. Un grupo diverso de FBO con identidades variadas e implicado en una amplia gama de actividades reveló varias fortalezas y desafíos del trabajo medioambiental y de desarrollo basado en la fe. Es de particular importancia el papel clave que pueden desempañar las iglesias y las agencias basadas en la fe efectuando un cambio integral y sostenible en los países del Sur, debido a su arraigo en la comunidad, el capital social que ayudan a producir, y el respeto que reciben de la gente.

摘要

信念组织(FBO)在国际发展中始终发挥着一定的作用,现在,它们也越来越多地参与到环境可持续发展行动中。直到最近,他们在这方面的贡献才被学术结构和普通民众所了解。通过文件查阅、问卷调查和参与者观察访谈,本文介绍了信念组织在参与肯尼亚环境和发展工作中的身份和作用,旨在进一步加深对信念组织的了解。信念组织是一个多元化群体,拥有各种不同的身份,广泛参与各种活动,在基于信念的环保和发展工作中拥有优势和挑战。由于教会和信仰机构的社会渊源性、社会资本筹集能力和人民的尊重,必须特别关注教会和信仰机构对全球南方国家的可持续发展和历史性转变所起到的重要作用。

要約

宗教的倫理に基づいた団体(FBO)は長い間、国際的な発展の中で役割を果たしてきたが、次第に環境維持のイニシアチブに関わるようになってきた。これまでこの団体は貢献をしてきたにもかかわらず、近年まで研究機関と世俗的な政府機関によって、多くの場合無視されてきた。本論文では、FBOの認識の高まりに加えて、ケニアでの文書審査、質的なアンケート、参与観察から、環境と開発業務におけるFBOの活躍とアイデンティティについて調査する。様々なアイデンティティを持ち、広範囲にわたる活動を行うFBOの様々な団体では、宗教的倫理に基づいた環境と開発における業務の長所と問題点が明らかになった。特に注目すべきなのは、重要な役割を持つ教会と宗教的倫理に基づいた政府機関が、根付いた共同体、生産を助ける社会資本、人々から受ける敬意によって、グローバル・サウス(南半球の発展途上国)の国々における持続可能な総合的な変化に対して役割を果たすことができるといえる。

ملخص

لقد لعبت المنظمات القائمة على العقيدة الدينية (FBOs) لفترة طويلة دوراً في التنمية الدولية، وتشارك بشكل متزايد في مبادرات الإستدامة البيئية. على الرغم من هذه المساهمات التي لديهم ، حتى وقت قريب ، تم تجاهلهم إلى حد كبير في المنح الدراسية و الوكالات العلمانية. هذا البحث يضيف إلى الإعتراف المتزايد بالمنظمات القائمة على العقيدة الدينية (FBOs)، إستكشاف الهوية و الوظيفة التي تقوم بها المنظمات القائمة على العقيدة الدينية(FBOs) في العمل البيئي والتنمية في كينيا من خلال مراجعة المستندات، إستطلاعات الرأي النوعية و ملاحظات المشاركين. مجموعة متنوعة من المنظمات القائمة على العقيدة الدينية (FBOs) ذات الهويات المختلفة والتي تشترك في مجموعة واسعة من الأنشطة كشفت عدة نقاط القوة وتحديات العمل البيئي والتنمية القائم على إيمان العقيدة. تجدر الإشارة إلى الدور الرئيسي الذي يمكن أن تلعبه الكنائس والوكالات العقائدية في إحداث تغيير مستدام وشامل في بلدان جنوب الكرة الأرضية، نظرًا لأن لها جذور في المجتمع ، ورأس المال الاجتماعي الذين ساعدوا في إنتاجه والإحترام الذي يتلقونه من الناس.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to offer special thanks to the people who took the time to participate in this study. This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne M. Moyer
    • 1
  • A. John Sinclair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harry Spaling
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Geography and Environmental StudiesThe King’s University CollegeEdmontonCanada

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