ACT Alliance and Soka Gakkai International held an interfaith session on the role of faith based organizations in reducing disaster risk. John Nduna, Secretary General of ACT Alliance opened the session that overfilled the room and forced us to turn away many.
The session highlighted the strength of FBOs, especially on their outreach capacity, material and social assets they posses, and mobilizing power during the first hours of responding to disaster. Participants expressed that beliefs allow them to posses an altruistic mind, which leads to proactiveness in disaster preparedness and response.
The power of faith is more than what we can measure. How do we capture the qualitative impact we deliver to people’s hearts? The question was raised from the floor. As a representative from a FBO, it is indeed a good reflection to see how we measure CWS impact uniquely from any secular organization.
Faith-based organizations were recently removed from the list of stakeholders in the post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction framework. Instead, the draft places FBOs as part of community groups. Some expressed strong dissatisfaction against this deletion, but others said that what matters is how we implement good DRR programs at the community level. “If we are truly unique, then we should be able to show uniqueness in the impact we achieve”, one participant said. This may require continuous sharing of best practices, deeper research into people’s psychology and constant inter-faith collaboration.
It does require time and resources to do this, but it is worth the investment. CWS will continue to engage in such inter-faith DRR initiatives with ACT Alliance, and its partners.