The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities is a knowledge partner with the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development/PaRD workstreams to conduct research on partnerships/collaboration between religious/faith actors, NGOs, governmental, and inter-governmental agencies on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services and information (SDG 3 Workstream).

The first stage of the research is a survey. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and it is anonymous to protect your identity with potentially sensitive information (unless you purposefully choose to opt-out of anonymization and give your name, for which there is a question at the end of the survey). 

After the survey, we will conduct key informant interviews. There is space provided at the end of the survey to recommend potential interviewees. Please circulate this survey to your other colleagues and networks. 

The JLI will communicate initial results at the PaRD General Assembly of Members in May and finalize the report by the summer.  



We request that you complete this survey by Friday 5th April.  In case of any questions about the survey or research process, please contact Dr. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research ([email protected]

The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities is a knowledge partner with the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development/PaRD workstreams to conduct research on partnerships/collaboration between religious/faith actors, NGOs, governmental, and inter-governmental agencies on peace justice and strong institutions (SDG 16).
The first stage of the PaRD SDG 16 Workstream research project is to collect and share good practices and models of violence prevention and peacebuilding processes in which religious and traditional actors have been involved in SDG 16. The JLI will conduct research to gather a series of good practice case studies, the focus is on partnerships between faith actors, NGOs, governmental, and inter-governmental agencies and in the following countries:
  • Africa: Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Central African Republic
  • Asia: Myanmar, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
This should only take 5 minutes to complete and will allow us to follow-up with you or your suggested partner organizations to conduct the research interviews and build the case studies. The research is expected to be completed by July, with initial results communicated at the PaRD Annual Meeting in May.
We request that you complete this form by Friday 22nd March. If you have any questions about the form or case studies, please contact Dr Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research ([email protected])

Editors: Emma Tomalin and Caroline Starkey

The University of Leeds is looking for contributors to a new and exciting handbook on the topic of Religion, Gender and Society. Underpinning the volume, is an awareness that it is impossible for scholars, activists and policy makers to understand and explain contemporary societies and to contribute towards positive social change unless attention is paid to the role that religion plays in shaping gender identities. This handbook will provide a survey of the current state of research on religions, gender and society. Its aim will be to make a major contribution to the research agenda for the next 5-7 years, to redefine existing areas within the context of international research, and to highlight emerging and cutting edge areas.

If you are interesting in being considered, please send a short abstract/chapter outline to Dr Caroline Starkey ([email protected]) by Monday 1st April 2019. Final chapters will be due in autumn/winter 2019, with publication planned for mid-2020.

See more information and topics here

March 11, 2019

By Olivia Wilkinson and Susanna Trotta on the Georgetown University Berkley Center blog

This blog post highlights Education and Refugee Response from the JLIFLC policy brief on the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees with faith actors.

“In the Global Compact on Refugees’ program of action, education falls within a section on meeting needs and supporting communities. The main provision within the compact is for the support of national education systems, which in many cases will include schools that are run by faith-based institutions and operating within national laws and policies. However, refugee children can struggle to gain places (especially in over-burdened systems) and integrate into new education systems. Issues related to which curricula to follow and to accreditation between home, host, and destination curricula have caused problems. Instead, children on the move may seek non-formal education opportunities, which can also be run by faith actors, such as sessions in religious buildings with provisions funded by the faith community.”

See full Georgetown Berkley Center Post Here

The ADRA General Council held in Jordan in February 19-23 featured a number speakers, including Jean Duff, JLI President. Jean spoke on the Role of Faith Based Organizations and co-led three workshops.

  • Towards scaling up engagement of faith-based organizations in achieving Sustainable Development and Humanitarian goals
  • ADRA as a Faith-based Organization
  • Religion and Sustainable Development at the United Nations: Learning from Legacies of Decades of Partnership

The Council ended presenting the new global campaign: Every Child Everywhere in School

The World Council of Churches (WCC) posted the following News article:

21 February 2019

In remarks during a workshop on HIV among migrants and refugees, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé spoke of the challenge of HIV in what has become a rapidly changing and very unpredictable world.

“We believe you will never be able to reach people when you are born privileged,” Sidibé reflected. “Your job is to cross the road and reach people who are not privileged. What we need are bridges connecting us all to reach other.”

The workshop was organized on 20-21 February by UNAIDS, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Catholic Migration Commission.

“We are living in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world,” said Sidibé. “From my country of Mali to Eastern Europe to South America, the right to health and the right to education is not being upheld in conflict-affected settings.”

We simply cannot think of the challenge of HIV in isolation, he continued. “We need to understand the bigger picture, and the role of faith-based organizations is very critical.”

As more and more people are on the move, faith-based organizations are critical in ensuring people have access to healthcare, said Sidibé, because faith-based groups reach people at the grassroots and know what people are facing in their daily lives.

“We are facing massive political upheaval everywhere, and a lack of economic opportunity for young people, mixed with democratic fatigue,” he said. “We have a divide today and it is a lack of trust, and if people don’t have jobs, they don’t have hope.”

HIV is linked to inequality and to lack of opportunity, Sidibé noted. “What I’m seeing as the biggest problem is social inequality. If you have a breakdown, what will happen is that people will not stay there.”

With 68 million people forced from their homes across the world due to violence, war and conflict, in many places the bulk of health services are being provided by faith-based organizations. “What is happening to people on the move? They are becoming victims of violence, and we really need to understand that. We need to think in a more integrated and practical way.”

Link to WCC News post

Date(s) - 01/03/2019
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber


The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief cordially invite you to:

International Religions Freedom: A new era for advocacy in response to a new age of challenges and threats.

All are invited, a UN guest pass is required.

RSVP here by 12:00 PM on 26 February

Click here for more event details 


Date(s) - 28/03/2019
9:00 am - 10:00 am


Part of ALNAP’s ongoing webinar series on urban crises

This is a joint webinar with ALNAP and JLI on local faith actors in urban response


Urban areas are home to a diverse range of stakeholders, from civil society to first responder groups, academics and many levels of government. Local faith groups/leaders are one of several different urban stakeholders that humanitarians often fail to engage with effectively. Reflections on recent humanitarian crises, such as the Ebola response in West Africa, have highlighted the critical role local faith actors can play. In particular, when sharing information and changing mindsets and behaviours, both of which are incredibly difficult to do. Secular organisations often do not know how to engage with these local faith actors, and miss opportunities as a result.

In urban areas, diverse populations live side by side. Each neighbourhood may contain people from a range of different faith backgrounds, and faith groups may be just one sort of community people identify with. Faith groups, just like all forms of community, take a different form in urban areas than they do in rural. Even a single neighbourhood will likely contain many different faith actors, and faith communities are not always geographically bound. These dynamics pose challenges for humanitarians trying to understand which faith actors they should engage with and how to do so effectively.


Panellists include:

  • Olivia Wilkinson, Director of Research, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities
  • Nobuyuki Asai, Programme Coordinator, Soka Gakkai International
  • Silvia Correa, Faith and Development Manager, World Vision Mexico


New Knowledge Partnership between Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) and the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD)


On October 27, 2018, JLI and PaRD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at JLI’s Annual Board Meeting. Jonathan Duffy, JLI Board Chair and Jean Duff, JLI President and Thomas Lawo, PaRD Secretariat Coordinator signed for their respective organizations. The PaRD Steering Group ratified the MOU at its meeting in Toronto in November 2018.


The JLI and PaRD seek full and appropriate engagement of the capacities of faith-based and religious groups in the achievement of the SDGs through effective partnerships with public sector and secular entities, as well as among religious groups themselves. JLI brings knowledge partner capacities, a proven track record in preparing evidence reports, briefs, calls to action, conference programs, peer-reviewed article, and journals. PaRD focuses on joint  joint activities in its three areas of engagement knowledge exchange, capacity building, and joint advocacy.


JLI will provide evidence support to PaRD’s three work streams:

  • SDG 3 Health with a focus on faith and adolescent sexual and reproductive health,
  • SDG 5 Gender Equality and Empowerment with a focus on the role of faith-based partnerships in preventing and addressing gender-based violence and
  • SDG 16 Sustaining Peace with a focus on effective peacebuilding


The studies and evidence briefs will be co-designed and will draw upon PaRD and JLI members’ information and experiences, which will, in turn, inform joint research and advocacy agendas. Each of the three workstreams will present preliminary reports for discussion during the PaRD annual meeting on May 2 and 3 in Copenhagen.


Please visit and read more on PaRD and its members’ activities! Read about the JLI’s work through learning hubs and partnerships at

The Role of Local Faith Actors In Implementing The Global Compact On Refugees

February 18, 2019

Amman, Jordan


On February 18th, local and regional and international actors from all sectors met in Amman, Jordan for a half-day seminar. The meeting attendees included government agencies, think tanks, community-based and humanitarian organizations including faith-based organizations. The Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization, World Vision International, Anglican Communion, Muslim Aid, Middle East Council of Churches, Caritas Jordan, ICMC, Syria Relief, Tearfund and Mennonite Central Committee were among the organizations represented.

The seminar facilitated discussion on opportunities for increased engagement with local faith actors, examples of current programs and recommendations for better policies and practice to address refugee response in the region.


Seminar Goal: To continue and strengthen partnerships and programs to implement the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) by sharing and discussing the critical ways of faith actors respond to refugees and forced migration.

Attendees and speakers at LHL Amman Seminar

Attendees and speakers at LHL Amman Seminar


Speakers included:

  • Mr. Mohammed Kilani, Secretary General Deputy, Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization – Welcome
  • Douglas DiSalvo, Senior Protection Officer, UNHCR – Faith and Protection: partnering with religious and FBOS to implement the Global Compact on Refugees
  • Dr. Zakaria Al Sheikh, Trustee and Country Director, Al-Imdaad International (Jordan) – The religious imperative to care for the stranger—examples from Jordan.
  • Jean Duff, President, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities – Roles of faith actors in implementing the Global Compact on Refugees

Amanda Rives, Regional Policy and Advocacy Director, Middle East and Eastern Europe Region
External Engagement Sr. Advisor, Child Protection & Participation, World Vision International chaired a panel on local faith refugee response with:

  • Fr Mihai Pavel Director Faith and Development Middle East Region, World Vision International
  • Inshirah Mousa – Director of JSR
  • Dr. Kawas, Middle East Council of Churches
  • Sheikh Zayed Hammad, President, Kitab wa Sunneh

Amanda Rives and Marwan Al Hennawi, JHCO chaired the final Q&A Session


Co-hosts and Speakers at the LHL Amman Seminar

Co-hosts and Speakers at the LHL Amman Seminar

Key points discussed by the speakers, panels and participants:

  1. The Facts about Local Faith Actors’ care for refugees on the move and in place

The possibility for significant engagement of local faith actors can have much greater depth and scope.  This is seen by the many examples and ways local faith actors help refugees throughout their journey around the world. There are still many unmet possibilities for better ways to care for refugees from local actors, including local faith actors.

“Faith can play a key role in refugees’ experiences and rebuilding their lives. Stakeholders should help make connections with local faith leaders and facilitate spiritual support across all stages and places if desired by refugees. “ –Jean Duff, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities


2. Better ways to work collaborate better together across sectors

The attendees discussed recommendations for joint burden and responsibility sharing and the areas of support (Reception and Admission, Meeting Needs, and Supporting Communities), and solutions. These are based on JLI’s analysis of faith actors’ strengths and weaknesses, the current examples of programs, and ways to better work across sectors together for a joint response.

“Refugees often find comfort in being able to continue their prayer and religious duties. Faith sensitive providers like JHCO can help link refugees with faith leaders and place of worship and provide psychosocial support.” -Ayman Al Mufleh, Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization



Co-Hosts: The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, World Vision, and the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development








Other news:

Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization release in the Jordan Times


This event is part of a larger series of dynamic events on the intersection of faith actors and the Global Compact on Refugees. Other events will be held in Beirut, Brussels and Geneva funded by the Henry Luce Foundation


Read more about JLI’s research on the roles of local faith actors and the Global Compact on Refugees. Brief available in English and Arabic.








Accompanying Resource Brief