Three main types of faith-based responses were identified by the scoping study, which span the prevention and care continuum. These range from small, informal grassroots responses to structured organizational programs and the formal role that faith actors often play within the delivery of key social services to children such as health, welfare and education.

  1. Informal small-scale grassroots local responses: These emerge from visible needs, are often care and support driven and part of community-based approaches, as well as focused on families or communities. Robust documentation is needed to demonstrate causality and to ensure root causes are tackled strategically.
  2. Semi-formal top-down approaches with a prevention focus: These capacity-building models utilize the social networks of faith communities, often driven by international agencies, developing high-level research, toolkits, and global campaigns. Further research post-intervention is needed to see sustained evidence of change at the local level.
  3. Formal provision of social services: These – specially in fragile, conflict, or rural areas – are sometimes tied to religious mandates. Religious organizations hold long-established social roles in many societies of service provision to vulnerable children. They hold significant institutional power with schools, health facilities, and care institutions reaching many children.

Read more about promising faith practices on EVAC in JLI’s 2019 Scoping Study (Palm, S. 2019, p. 26)

“Many religious leaders have moral standing, power and influence in their communities, and they are in touch with people throughout the lifespan. They often have access to isolated communities not served by others. Most religious leaders profess respect for the human dignity of the child, compassion, equality, justice and non-violence. These values are incompatible with violence against children and can form a unifying base for working towards ending violence against children. Religious leaders have unique opportunities to promote non-violence through their diverse roles as teachers, theologians, leaders of worship, chairs of organisations and as community activist”s (AZ, Practitioner in faith-based network focused on child-related non-violence, United Kingdom).

Practice Examples:

Example 1: Children in Islam, Their Care, Protection and Development

  • Organization: Al-Azhar University (Egypt) and UNICEF
  • Timeline: 2010-ongoing
  • The Project: Al- Azhar University and UNICEF produced a manual, entitled “Children in Islam, Their Care, Protection and Development” in order to emphasize that the protection and development of children are central to Islam. The manual references the the Qur’an, Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), Sunnah (practices of the Prophet Muhammad) and Islamic Sharia (legal traditions).
  • The Results: Key messages from the manual include “the view that children are a blessing, the equality of girls and boys, sexual abuse as violation of children and ‘covenant with Allah’, the mandate to care for orphans and that discipline is required but that harm against body and soul is prohibited”
  • Find the manual here and see JLI’s 2019 Scoping Study (Rutledge, K and Eyber, C. 2019, pg. 30) for more information

Example 2: Faith-based support for prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment

  • Organization: Churches Network of Non-Violence
  • The Project: The guides and advocacy pieces from The Churches’ Network for Non-Violence (CNNV) are among the most prominent. CNNV, along with such groups as the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, focuses broadly across religious communities, seeking to mobilise an interreligious and ecumenical movement to end corporal punishment.
  • Results: The work produced by The Churches’ Network for Non-Violence refers to the core foundations of the Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu faiths and underscores each faith’s teachings that reject violence against children and call for non-violence. For example, the documents refer to excerpts from Sikh scriptures such as “God cherishes all children, and reaches out with God’s hand” and reflections on the Baha’i Faith by Dr. Moojan Momen, a Baha’i scholar, that the norm for all relationships is intended to be loving fellowship and consultation and mutual respect, and that families should reflect this.
  • See JLI’s 2019 Scoping Study  (Rutledge, K and Eyber, C. 2019, pg. 31)  and CNNV’s global overview of  ‘Faith-based support for prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment’  for more information.

 

Related resources:

Al Azhar University & UNICEF The Islamic Perspective in Protecting Children From Violence and Harmful Practices
Al Azhar University, UNICEF & Coptic Orthodox Church Peace. Love. Tolerance. Key Messages from Islam & Christianity on Protecting Children From Violence And Harmful Practices
Arigatou International Faith and Children’s Rights: A Multi-religious study on the rights of the child
Churches’ Network for Non-Violence (CNNV) and Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children Ending corporal punishment of children – a handbook for worship and religious gatherings

 

 

See Scoping Study’s next key message.