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 behaviors, 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 neighborhood 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 neighborhood 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.

Panelists 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
  • Dr Estella Carpi, Research Associate, Southern Responses to Displacement Project, Migration Research Unit, University College London