An international collaboration on evidence for faith groups’ activities, contribution and challenges to community health and wellbeing.

JLI formed in 2012 and initially funded by a broad collaboration of international development organizations, UN agencies, academic institutions and religious bodies. This group was drawn together by a single shared conviction: that there is an urgent need to build our collective understanding of the potential of local faith communities for improving community health and well being.

Our Vision:
Full and appropriate engagement of the capacities of faith-based groups in the achievement of the SDGs through effective partnerships with public sector and secular entities, as well as among religious groups themselves.

Our Goals:

  • Build cross-sector, multi-religious, interdisciplinary, collaborative learning platforms to gather robust evidence for capacities, activities and contributions of faith groups
  • Understand the drivers of attitude and behavior change for policy makers and practitioners re engaging with faith groups
  • Deliver smart communication to policymakers and practitioners transform the quality, effectiveness, and impact of partnerships between faith groups and the development community

The initiative is guided by a Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Advisory Group, with support from Coordinator, Jean Duff and Knowledge Manager, Stacy Nam. International stakeholders are engaged both as ‘Partners of the JLI’ and as working members of Learning Hubs. Our Learning Hub approach was inspired by the experience of the Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS. Read about their work here,

JLI Leadership and Key publications here.

Questions we ask:

JLI works through Learning Hubs, publications, and conferences to fully engage the capacities and assets of faith groups to realize a world without poverty, JLI asks what data about them

  • What evidence for their activity and impact is required, and by whom?
  • What do policy makers and practitioners want and need to know?
  • What do we already know?
  • How can what we know be better communicated?
  • How can we collaborate to fill critical research gaps?

Major Publications

  • Lancet Series on Faith-based Health Care Delivery
  • Scoping Studies on HIV and Maternal Health, Resilience in Humanitarian andDisaster Situations, Immunization, Peace and Conflict
  • Evidence briefs including five relating to Humanitarian Need
  • Review of Faith and International Affairs special issue on Religion and Development
  • JLI website

Major Dissemination Events 

  • Religion and Sustainable Development Building Partnerships to End Extreme Poverty, July 2015 at World Bank
  • Religious Groups’ Contributions to Humanitarian Response, May 2016 at World Humanitarian Summit
  • Religious and FBOs: Localizing Response to Humanitarian Need, October 2017

Our funders and contributors:

JLI is funded by contributions from its Board members and other organizations, and from Foundation Grants. Since its inception, JLI’s activities have been supported by diverse faith-based organizations, UN agencies, Governments, and Foundations including: ADRA Australia, American Jewish World Services, Anglican Alliance, CAFOD, Christian Aid, CMMB, CRS, UK DFID, Episcopal Relief & Development, German BMZ, GHR Foundation, IMA World Health, Islamic Relief, The MacLellan Foundation, Samaritan’s Purse, Tearfund, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, and World Vision International. McKinsey & Company and other partners contribute pro bono expert advice and support.


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