Faith to Action Network organises conferences and other events and encourage mutual learning and exchanges.
This galvanizes dialogue among faith organizations, decision-makers and other development stakeholders. It increases exposure to different interpretations, methodologies and approaches. Ultimately, we want to increase consensus and ownership. We recognise that faith organisations need a joint space to discuss common values and areas of consensus.
As a platform for inter- and intra-faith dialogue, Faith to Action Network has proven capacity to facilitate such exchanges. An independent evaluation (Veldkamp et al, 2016) testifies that “F2A Network is a strong forum and effective platform for dialogue and advocacy”. The study emphasizes that offering “space for expression as well as transparent dialogue on divergent views has led to common engagement.” Safe space is an especially significant requirement, allowing people to get to know one another and to engage privately, as opposed to holding discussions in the full glare of publicity.
These events blend the following methodological elements:
Faith to Action Network offers safe spaces for intra- and inter-faith dialogue processes between faith leaders and representatives of faith organisations on different topics. Dialogues are facilitated by eminent theologians from respected faith authorities. Faith leaders are exposed to trends and evidence and learn about religious interpretations and practices within their faith thus reducing misconceptions. This gradually builds consensus and ownership on different issues, ultimately sparking greater commitment and constructive action.
Learning and innovation: Often interesting, sometimes inspiring interfaith engagement in local communities is rarely documented and shared, so that it does not appear to be building towards common approaches (Marshall, Katherine (February 2017). Faith to Action Network events allow to identify learnings and provide access to experiences through resources and tools, drawn from the experience of conference participants.
Exposure: Without much exposure to other contexts and beliefs, faith leaders and representatives of faith organizations lack understanding of alternative contexts and viewpoints. With their own culture as unique reference point, they often cannot discern whether a standpoint is grounded in culture or in religion. Faith to Action Network events take participants out of their own context, and exposes them to other cultures, opinions and approaches. This is likely to promote empathy for the feelings and needs of people with differing opinions, and prompt reflexions on their personal faith, for example on family health and wellbeing, gender equality and women’s rights and pluralism.
Networking: Research (Marshall, 2017) on inter-faith work notes that “many organizations and approaches overlap, interlock, and blend. However, a more common feature is separate, largely uncoordinated action.” Faith to Action network events offer faith actors a platform for collaboration. It creates opportunities to engage in policy discussions, and effectively nurtures dialogues between religious and non-religious organisations.
Faith to Action Network's recent experience sharing activities
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