The British Government and all faith communities - led by the Church of England - will work with a real sense of joint purpose in the field of overseas aid, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said yesterday.
For the first time, groups from across the faith spectrum have been brought together to sign up to new principles for collaborating with the UK Government on aid, including an agreement to work in three priority countries.
The Faith Partnership Principles paper marks a new era of understanding and cooperation between government and faith groups on global development.
Faith groups are crucial to development. They offer services and support to poor people that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access or afford.
They also give valuable and trusted advice to their communities. In some African countries 70% of health services are provided by faith groups.
Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
Faith plays a vital role in development. Faith groups are often the first place poor people turn in times of need. They are a source of compassion, generosity and succour to many in the developing world.
I am proud to be launching the Faith Partnership Principles paper today. This new partnership will see closer working and understanding between DFID and groups from across the spectrum of faiths, working towards the same common purpose.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said:
I welcome the launch by the Department for International Development of its Faith Partnership Principles paper and look forward to reviewing its implementation. The distinctive contribution of faith-based organisations and faith communities in the humanitarian and development arena is increasingly recognised.
I believe that there is great potential in promoting mutual understanding, critical engagement and collaborative action between governments, civil society and faith communities in promoting global justice and sustainable development.
DFID has brought together faith groups from across the spectrum to agree a new partnership. It includes:
- Identifying three priority countries to work in together. These will become examples of good practice for aid agencies and faith groups working together
- Establishing a forum to discuss issues and agree areas for joint working
- Ensuring faith groups are informed about funding opportunities, so we can ensure a diverse range of organisations make an effective contribution to development. For example, ten faith groups are now accessing DFID funding for the first time. These include: the Karuna Trust, Tearfund and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.
The following organisations have joined a working group with the Department for International Development: CAFOD, Christian Aid, Church of England, Guru Nanak Nishkan Sewak Jatha, Lambeth Palace, Muslim Charities Forum, Progressio, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Tearfund, Volunteer Missionary Movement, World Jewish Relief, World Vision.