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December 2021

We are excited to announce new JLI Board Members! 

The JLI Annual Board Meeting was held virtually on November 17-18 where JLI's future directions were discussed and new board members were elected.
  • Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama, Speak One Voice
  • Jayeel Cornelio, Ateneo de Manila University
  • Somboon Chungprampree, International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Bangkok
  • Elisa de Benedetto, International Association of Religion Journalists
  • Mara Manzoni Luz, International Cooperation and Organisational Development
  • Ezra Chitando, University of Zimbabwe
Learn more about our new board members here
Fair and Equitable Initiative
Over recent months, JLI has made significant progress in the Fair and Equitable Initiative. The initiative seeks to shift power,  resources, and leadership to local and national levels, through the establishment of regional joint learning hubs on various aspects related to faith and local communities. 
Fair and Equitable Regional Hubs

East Africa
(Governance, Peacebuilding, and Local Faith Actors)
JLI and TAABCO convened the first meeting of the Hub Development Group in late November. The Hub Development Group consists of researchers and faith actors from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from diverse backgrounds. It will be responsible for creating and convening the East Africa Learning Hub on Governance, Peacebuilding, and Local Faith Actors.

The Hub Development Group will be responsible for reaching out to potential Hub members, inviting them to participate in national Listening Dialogues to share their experiences of evidence creation and evidence use in the region.
Middle East
(Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) and Faith)
The JLI Hub Development Group met for the second time in November. It will be responsible for creating and convening the Middle East Learning Hub on MEAL and Faith. Over the next few months, the group will organize five national Listening Dialogues—with the help of local facilitators—in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, bringing together local faith actors to share reflections on the state of evidence on MEAL and faith in the region.
Fair and Equitable Dialogues Working Group
The JLI recently launched the Fair and Equitable Dialogues—a webinar series that will explore the experiences of local faith actors in challenging unequal power dynamics in the humanitarian and development sector.
The JLI hosted its first Webinar, in partnership with KAICIID, on Friday 3rd December, bringing together speakers from Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Pakistan, the UK, and the USA, from diverse faith and professional backgrounds. 

If you missed the first webinar, you can catch up on it on the link below.
Faith Dialogues Group

The Faith Dialogues Group bring together theologians, faith actors, and researchers to reflect on faith teachings and spiritual traditions relating to decolonization and oppression.

In October, the group invited members to share their own personal experiences of colonialism and decolonization in faith and development spaces.
Share your experience here!
In November's discussion session, group member Anupama Ranawana shared her experience of developing decolonised research methodologies in her work with Christian Aid.
To learn more about the Fair and Equitable Initiative, or to get involved in the Regional Hubs, Faith Dialogues Group, or Webinars Working Group, please contact Zainab Chamoun, JLI's Projects Officer, at
Member Spotlight
Getting to know Adyan Foundation!

We will feature a member of the JLI Network in each Newsletter. This quarter's feature is on Adyan Foundation.
This interview on JLI's website 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 Adyan in their work.
Understanding Inclusivity of Religious Diversity in Humanitarian Response

This paper focuses on inclusivity of religious minorities and religious diversity in humanitarian response. Questions on inclusion of religious diversity will usually arise during assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of humanitarian response but are relevant to any and all stages of the humanitarian programme cycle. This paper was authored by Olivia Wilkinson and Jennifer Philippa Eggert.

Read the full paper here. Read JLI's blogpost on the paper here
Religion and gender in donor policies and practice

In December 2020, DanChurchAid, Side by Side Faith Movement for Gender Justice, Act Church of Sweden and Christian Aid approached the Joint Learning Initiative on Local and Faith Communities (JLI) to assist in a research project exploring the stances (both formal and informal) of government ministries, intergovernmental agencies (IGAs) and donors towards engaging with religious actors on gender justice, gender equality and/or ending gender-based violence (GBV). The report was authored by Lisa Le Roux, Unit for Religion and Development Research, Stellenbosch University.

Read the report here
Partner Publications
Faith Communities’ Contribution to Ending Violence Against Children
A research study to test effective ways of engaging faith communities. Its goal is to understand how Channels of Hope for Child Protection—World Vision's attitude and social behavior change project model—equips faith leaders and faith communities to take action to reduce violence in their local communities at higher levels of society. 

Read the research study
Domestic Violence, Faith, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The article discusses the role of faith, theology and the clergy in the experience of domestic violence and its resolution with reference to a literature review completed recently together with Professor Parveen Ali and previous long-term anthropological research in Ethiopia. The second part presents the work of project dldl/ድልድል with Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo clergy in Ethiopia, the workshop content and approach used and some preliminary assessment findings.

Read the article
Research & Projects 
Donors' Attitudes towards MEAL and Faith
The research on donors’ attitudes towards MEAL and faith in contexts of development, humanitarian response and peacebuilding that JLI conducted in collaboration with Alliance for Peacebuilding has now been completed and is in the final stages of being analysed and written up. We are currently exploring opportunities for dissemination with AfP and other key partners in 2022.

World Resources Institute (WRI)
JLI signed a new agreement with the WRI Faith and Sustainability Initiative to deliver research that aims to shed light into faith actors' contribution to sustainability efforts by measuring their greenhouse gas emissions. The research will be piloted in early 2022 with the Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE), Development, Gender, Race, Faith and Coloniality
A research project on PVE and development, with a focus on gender, race, faith and coloniality, for which the JLI has secured funding from the University of Warwick has now started. The team will examine how the increasing dominance of PVE frameworks in development spaces affects civil society actors such as women’s groups and faith-based organisations.

Faith and COVID-19 Learning 

JLI partnered with eight FBOs: Islamic Relief Worldwide, Humanitarian Forum Indonesia, Corus International, Soka Gakkai, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and Anglican Alliance, to learn together what really works in terms of faith responses to COVID-19.

The learning process began with a document review and key informant interviews with each organization followed by internal feedback sessions in September 2021 on the key themes emerging. After a short presentation, these sessions created space for organizations to reflect on their own learning.   

In December 2021, representatives from all eight organizations and some of their partners came together for a virtual session to reflect on their shared learning and to craft a message for external audiences. Participants asked themselves how they could contribute to building and sustaining trusted relationships that empower local faith actors to increase their resilience and lead responses effectively in their context. They considered internal changes to their own structures and processes as well as those they would like to see within external partners (WHO, UN agencies, governments) to better sustain mutually respectful partnerships with faith actors.

Upcoming on January 13: Academic Reading Group  
Discussion topic: Working with religious communities to address domestic violence in peace and war-time: Insights from project dldl/ድልድል in Ethiopia. Speaker: Dr. Romina Istratii, SOAS University of London.

Register Here
Upcoming on January 26-28: The PeaceCon@10, COVID, Climate, and Conflict, Rising to the Challenges of a Disrupted World
From promoting social cohesion online, to sharing best practices for trauma-informed programming, to building faith-sensitive design, monitoring, and evaluation, PeaceCon@10 will feature 50+ outstanding panel conversations, interactive workshops, and keynote addresses sharing how the peacebuilding community can #RiseToBuildPeace. Click here to view the event agenda. 

Register Here
JLI in the IF20 G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy
(12-14 September, 2021)

Kirsten Laursen Muth, JLI CEO participates in the 2021 IF20 as a panelist in a thematic session on religious commitments to SDGS – children, hunger, water and sanitation, one of 13 thematic sessions centered around several of the working group themes.

Read more about the event here.
Report Launch: How Has the International Anti-Trafficking Response Adapted to COVID-19?
(28 September, 2021)

The JLI Anti-Trafficking and  Modern Slavery Hub, University of Leeds, and the IAHT Network co-hosted a conversation with researchers, international practitioners and participants on how international anti-trafficking practitioners have adapted their responses to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and in particular, the role of faith actors during a time of crisis.

Read more about the event here
The Generating Respect Project Conference 2021: Religious Actors & Humanitarian Norms Compliance in Armed Conflict
(9-10 December, 2021) 

Olivia Wilkinson, Jennifer Philippa Eggert, and JLI Board member Emma Tomalin presented at the conference. Olivia Wilkinson and Emma Tomalin presented on “Secular-religious dynamics and their effect on humanitarian norms compliance.”

Jennifer Philippa Eggert presented on “Countering Violent Extremism, Humanitarian Response and Faith: Practical Insights from a Research Capacity-Building Project.”

Read more about the conference here

Faith in the Story: Hindsight is 2020 Workshop
(December 13-15, 2021)

Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research, participated as a guest at the Ansari Institute's Faith in the Story: Hindsight is 2020 Workshop. On Day 1: Religious Responses to Coronavirus, Olivia spoke about "Communicating on COVID-19 between Global Religion and Development Actors."

Read more about the event here
JLI in Panel Discussion in AidEx East Africa Webinar Series—MEAL and Faith: Beyond Western Approaches
(15 September, 2021)

JLI Senior Research Associate, Jennifer Philippa Eggert organized a panel discussion in AidEx Nairobi webinar series on 15 September 2021.

The series had a wider focus on East Africa, and the theme was: ‘The impact of COVID-19 on East Africa, the need for better healthcare systems, lessons learnt and building future resilience’.  As part of the series, JLI co-organized the following webinar on MEAL and faith. Read more about the event here

Religion & Development Journal Launch 
(11 November, 2021) 

JLI participated in the recent launch of the Religion and Development Journal. Olivia Wilkinson and Jennifer Philippa Eggert are the Policy & Practice editors on the journal's editorial board. Kirsten Laursen Muth presented at the journal launch event at the PaRD General Assembly of Members in South Africa.
Read more about the journal here

PaRD Annual Forum and General Assembly in South Africa
(8-11 November, 2021) 

Kirsten Laursen Muth attended the forum and moderated a roundtable on  Localising Aid, focusing  on the funding challenges for local actors during their COVID-19 response, and recognizing how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process. 

In another session, the new JLI report, A reflection on government ministry and intergovernmental agency engagement with religious actors in pursuit of SDG 5, was presented by Dr. Lisa LeRoux. 

Christian Aid Front Row in Development  
(8 December, 2021) 

Olivia Wilkinson spoke at Christian Aid’s Front Row in Development staff meeting on COVID-19 and the role of faith actors with focus on faith engagement and links to localisation.

International Studies Association (ISA) 2022 Annual Conference
(28 March - 2 April) 

JLI is hosting a panel on “Bridging Research, Practice and Policy in Religion and International Development,” with speakers Jeffrey P. Haynes, Serri Mahmood, new JLI Board member, Jayeel Cornelio, and Loreen Maseno. Registration is open until January. Sign up here

There is also a Religion & International Relations Section Global South Scholars Travel/Registration Award open till 31 December.
JLI's Partnership with the University of Leeds
The JLI's partnership with the University of Leeds (UK), home organisation to our board member Emma Tomalin, has reached a new stage. Since November, Leeds and the JLI co-host the position of JLI Senior Research Fellow, held by Dr Jennifer Philippa Eggert.

We look forward to continued collaboration in the next year! 

FPCC Mind-Heart Dialogue Training
In November and December, over 80 Inter-Religious Council (IRC) and Faith-Based Organization (FBO) nominees from eight countries were trained as national Mind-Heart Dialogue teams and equipped to support the Faith and Positive Change for Children (FPCC) initiative in their country. 
Mind-Heart Dialogue is an evidence-based, reflective and experiential learning process exploring faith convictions, lived experiences and knowledge to influence positive social and behavior change. 
Facilitators were from diverse faiths and included male faith leaders, women of faith and youth. Their role is to support their IRC to set up a Multi-Faith Advisory Committee on Children that brings faith leaders, FBOs and UNICEF together to find shared priorities and partner to support positive change for children. 

They will integrate Mind-Heart Dialogue into its internal structures and mechanisms; as well as being deployed to facilitate diverse groups around the Committee's priorities.
The four-day, non-residential trainings already evidence attitude change among participants. They did not primarily train people in an approach, but created an experience of a safe space to have fun, explore deeply and shift mindsets that participants could replicate for others. 

They could clearly express what made Mind-Heart Dialogue different from other approaches and were eager to integrate it into other work and facilitate as a team. 
Participants shared testimonies of personal shifts in behavior within the training, and many immediately used activities in the spaces that they could easily access, demonstrating their confidence, ability and commitment to the approach.

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