Introduction: Sexual, intimate partner and other forms of gender-based violence (SIGBV) are a violation of human rights and a cause of morbidity and mortality in conflict settings. Faith based organisations often have access and influence in communities that few others have and may be in a unique position to respond to SIGBV. There is a need, however, to better understand the nature of interventions involving Faith Based Organizations (FBO), the extent to which they have been evaluated been found effective and the ways in which FBOs can positively affect change and improve outcomes for survivors of SIGBV in conflict settings.
Methods: A systematic search and Critical Interpretive Synthesis of qualitative and quantitative was conducted. Papers were included if they examined the role of FBOs in responding to sexual or gender-based violence in conflict settings and if they peer-reviewed, written in English, and published between 2004-2014.
Findings: Six papers met the inclusion criteria and three key themes emerged in our review. First, collaborative partnerships at the local level and across borders were essential to effective, culturally competent and locally relevant service delivery. Second, varied and multi-faceted programs in the areas of education, justice, and health were believed to be effective in responding to SIGBV in conflict settings. Third, group based interventions were both a feasible and a beneficial approach to addressing SIGBV and have the additional advantage of fostering solidarity and community support. Our review was limited by the relative paucity of peer-reviewed literature on the subject.
Conclusion: More rigorously conducted, peer-reviewed and ethical research is needed to define, document and evaluate the role for FBOs in responding to and preventing SIGBV in conflict settings. Questions remain about ways to negotiate effective partnerships with FBOs and strategies for managing the potentially divergent agendas of different partners.