The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency began a research collaboration in 2018.

Generously funded by the European Commission Department for International Cooperation and Development, the project, titled “The Roles of Faith and Local Faith Communities in Supporting Refugees” aims to examine the ways in which local communities provide different forms of support to, and advocate for the protection of refugees.

The project is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh at University College London and Atallah Fitzgibbon at Islamic Relief Worldwide, the co-chairs of the JLI Refugee and Forced Migration Learning Hub. Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Dr. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research.

In 2018, JLI conducted research involving interviews and focus groups with approximately 180 refugees, members of host communities, and faith leaders. JLI- UNHCR published case studies on the UNHCR Good Practice CRRF site on local faith community-led responses to refugees in Honduras: CASM – Mennonite Social Action Committee, Mexico -La 72, Uganda -Lutheran World Federation, Germany -Refugee’s Church,  and Lebanon -MERATH.



Further project activities will continue in 2019 focusing on developing training and online modules. These will be open access and for adaptation and use by the wider advisory group. This advisory group is led by Islamic Relief Worldwide and ACT Alliance with Caritas Internationalis, DanChurch Aid, Lutheran World Federation, Tearfund, World Vision, and World Evangelical Alliance – IAFR

  • to build capacity and raise awareness between local faith actors and international partners
  • Provide recommendations to improve partnerships AND
  • the effectiveness of humanitarian response to people affected by displacement