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September Updates
Upcoming Events
September 15: AidEx Webinar on MEAL and Faith 
The JLI are co-organizing an AidEx Webinar on MEAL and faith. Speakers include JLI Senior Research Associate Jennifer as well as representatives of International Care Ministries (ICM), Soka Gakkai International, and World Vision International.

Click here to register
October 27: MEAL Hub Learning Exchange
Join us for the next MEAL Hub meeting to share resources, events and faith & MEAL-related work.
Click here to Learn More
October 14: Academic Reading Group
Book Launch of 'Political theologies and development in Asia: Transcendence, sacrifice and aspiration'. Book authors Philip Fountain, Till Mostowlansky, and Edoardo Siani will present.
Click here to Register
Fair and Equitable Initiative
Over recent months, JLI has made significant progress in the Fair and Equitable Initiative. The Fair and Equitable Initiative seeks to shift power,  resources, and leadership to local and national levels, through the establishment of regional joint learning hubs on faith and local communities.
East Africa
JLI has partnered with a regional research and development organization (TAABCO) to develop a regional joint learning hub on Governance, Peacebuildng & Local Faith Actors. JLI is now working together with TAABCO to reach out to relevant actors in the region, inviting them to join a Hub Development Group - which can oversee the scope, outreach, and initial activities of the Hub. JLI and TAABCO aim to host a Listening Dialogue by the end of October, with a wider group of potential hub members in the region, and formalize the East Africa Hub on Governance, Peacebuilding & Local Faith Actors in early November.
Middle East
The JLI MEAL Hub is working to establish a regional hub in the Middle East, with an initial focus on Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Based on findings from the JLI MEAL Compendium, it was recognized that greater investment in sharing evidences and good practices on MEAL and faith was needed in the Middle East region. Approximately, 13 local organizations have been recruited to the Regional Hub Development Group, which will convene in mid-September. The aim is for the Listening Dialogue to take place in October 2021, with the Middle East Hub launched in November 2021.
Southeast Asia
The JLI AHT-MS Hub is developing plans to establish a regional South East Asia Hub on Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, to be hosted by Human Rights Law Centre of Payap University, Thailand.
Webinars Working Group
Alongside the regional hubs, JLI is convening a Fair & Equitable Webinar series. The series will act as a platform for discussions about challenging unequal power dynamics in the humanitarian and development sector, and the specific role of local faith actors in those changing dynamics. The series will also provide a space to share progress and reflections on JLI's Fair & Equitable Initiative, such as the regionalization efforts. A Webinars Working Group has been convened to deliver the series.
Faith Dialogues Group
JLI is working with John Blevins (Emory University, USA) and Esther Mombo (St Paul's University, Kenya) to convene a Faith Dialogues Group to examine different faith beliefs and spiritual traditions of relevance to decolonization. The Group will host a number of online discussions - both private meetings and online webinars - to reflect on different theologies, teachings, spiritual insights and lived experiences relating to decolonization, oppression, and the challenging of power. The group currently includes 22 members representing 15 countries and four faith traditions.

For more information about the Fair and Equitable Initiative, or get involved in the Regional Hubs, Faith Dialogues Group, or Webinars Working Group, please contact Sadia Kidwai at
Member Spotlight
Getting to know ICF Cambodia!

We will feature a member of the JLI Network in each Newsletter. This quarter's feature is on ICF Cambodia. The post highlights the organization's work, how they found out about JLI, what made them decide to join the JLI as a member, and how could JLI support ICF Cambodia in their work.
JLI 2020 Annual Report

We are pleased to share with you JLI's 2020 progress on goals in Evidence, Research and Knowledge Partnerships, and Communications, while highlighting projects and learning hub work. Read the report here.
How has the International Anti-Trafficking Response Adapted to COVID-19?

The aim of this report is to share findings from a project that was carried out by the International Anti-Human Trafficking Network (IAHTN), the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), and the University of Leeds (UoL) to gather evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the international anti-trafficking response. Read the report here.
Scoping Study: Looking Back to Look Forward - The Role of Religious Actors in Gender Equalit since the Beijing Declaration
The PaRD Gender Equality and Empowerment work-stream commissioned the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) to undertake research to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Read the Scoping Study here by Dr. Nora Khalaf- Elledge.
Research & Projects Advancing Evidence Capacity
1. Framework for Strategic Faith Engagement
This project aims to deliver a more strategic framework for faith engagement. This is achieved through the creation of:
  • a background conceptual framework that updates our theoretical understanding of religion and development
  • strategic faith engagement paper that analyses previous faith engagements/strategies that makes recommendations for changes.
  • self-reflection guide that helps humanitarian and development professionals analyze their own position in order to minimize their biases and build their understanding for better faith engagement.
2. State of the Evidence in Religion and Development
JLI will debut a new State of the Evidence in Religion and Development package for application within and between secular and faith actors. A State of the Evidence report will summarize our knowledge base across all existing and former learning hubs areas. It will make the case for "why" religions have an important role in development and "how" religions effectively exercise their leadership in development.

3. Understanding Religious Diversity in Humanitarian Response
JLI has partnered with the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID) to publish a report on understanding religious diversity in humanitarian response, with a focus on assessment, monitoring and evaluation. The report, which was co-authored by the JLI research team, is due to be published as a joint JLI/CREID paper later this month. It contains a discussion of the state-of-the-art in research, policy and practice on considering religious diversity in humanitarian action, followed by an analysis of exisiting tools for practictioners and policy-makers.
Hub Updates
JLI MEAL Hub Activities
The JLI team has continued to disseminate the findings of the MEAL Compendium at academic and practice-focused conferences and workshops.
The latest MEAL Hub Learning Exchange can be viewed here.

Click here to Join the MEAL Hub
JLI Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Salvery Hub
The AHT-MS Hub supported the publication of the report - How has the International Anti-Trafficking Response Adapted to COVID-19? by Tribeni Gurung, Emma Tomalin, and Hannah Elyse Sworn. Read the report here.

JLI Co-Hosts Policy & Practice Plenary
Roundtable: "Tensions of Transdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange Between Development Practice and Research
Click here to view Event
JLI participates in Poverty and COVID-19: Challenges and Solutions Webinar
The webinar focused on the G20 Summit, coming up in late October, and the G20 Interfaith Forum in September, which draws on religious communities and their advocacy and support for bold, ambitious, mulitlateral action. The conversation centered on the link between financial and moral challenges that poorer countries face as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly path around the globe.
Kirsten Laursen Muth, JLI CEO, spoke at the webinar.

Click here to view Event
JLI participates in G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy
Kirsten Laursen Muth, JLI CEO, participated at the Religious Commitments to SDGs panel on September 14. The central questions the Forum addresses is if and how religious actors can revamp and revitalize agendas focused on vulnerable communities that have halted with COVID-19 emergencies, and how a religious community's different interests can overcome the "globalization of indifference".
New Religion and Development JLI Editorial Role

JLI's Research Director and Senior Research Associate have been invited to become part of the Editorial Committee for Religion and Development, a journal of Humboldt University's Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development. Olivia and Jennifer will be editors responsible for the Policy and Practice section of the journal.

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