Our Reboot Campaign is all about building a better post-coronavirus world. In this blog series, we’re focusing on the steps we need to take to make this happen. The third step we’re calling on the UK government to take is ‘Recognise’: include local faith groups in the response and recovery.
With all the talk around large-scale response and economic recovery, it can be easy to lose sight of the local groups who provide vital support to their communities. But to build a world that truly is better, community organisations and faith groups must be a key part of the strategy.
In response to the pandemic, we’ve seen churches mobilise to distribute essentials, check in with the elderly or those at risk, connect people with essential services, and demonstrate God’s love to their neighbourhoods. If their contribution has been important in the UK, it’s been life-saving in many remote, marginalised communities overseas where there is no social security or safety nets. Faith groups are already there at the heart of the crisis, already connected with the most vulnerable, already serving their community. They are deeply committed and invested in bringing about change: their neighbours’ problems are their own.
As one Tearfund colleague commented on their recent experience in Ethiopia, ‘We are seeing that the poor and most vulnerable people have new-found hope as the church has reached out to their neighbours. The amazing transformation that is taking place in communities because churches are being a catalyst for change astounds me!’
Faith-based groups such as the church can also foster good relationships between communities and local authorities – crucial for improving accountability and promoting the rights and voices of those in need. Although the role of faith-based groups is often overlooked by donors and international agencies, they can play a transformational role.
Early in the pandemic, Tearfund’s CEO wrote: ‘I am daring to dream that this could be the opportunity in our generation for the church to be known globally for its brave and compassionate response, putting the needs of others before our own, just as Jesus did. We know this is possible.’
The step we’re calling on the UK government to take
In our Reboot Campaign, we’ve called this step ‘Recognise’. The UK government should recognise that faith groups often have the most extensive networks and long reach into communities. It should forge new partnerships with genuinely representative faith groups in low- and middle-income countries to:
- organise and build resilient communities that understand who is most at risk and develop ways to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from crises
- build movements that can shape social norms, amplify the voice of the poorest and most marginalised, and increase government accountability.
For more detail, take a look at our policy paper.
Join the Reboot Campaign
This is one of five steps to a better world that we’re calling on the UK government to take. Will you add your voice to call for a fairer, greener world that works for everyone?
Read the rest of this blog series on our five Reboot steps:
Respond: Share vaccines and resources
Reset: Cancel debt
Recognise: Include faith groups in recovery
Recover: A better world for everyone
Renew: Walking the talk