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Governmental donor agencies and faith-based organizations

30-06-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 858, by Anne-Marie Holenstein

Religions and faith communities can be effective as “angels of peace” and as “warmongers.” This ambivalence of the religious factor has a lot to do with the fact that the relationship of the world religions to violence is equivocal.


Anne-Marie Holenstein
works as a consultant in the field of organizational development and is mandated by Swiss NGOs and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation 

For decades it has been taboo to mention the role played by religious organizations in development cooperation. Today, however, there is growing awareness of the contribution that these organizations can make to sustainable development, just as there is of the risk they pose of abuse and conflict aggravation. Those involved in development therefore have to learn to cope with the double-edged nature of these organizations. Government donor agencies and faith-based organizations should jointly monitor their work in conflict-prone areas to ascertain whether it fosters peaceful settlement of conflict or whether, in fact, it aggravates the violence.  

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