Religion is an institutionalized system of beliefs and practices concerning the supernatural realm, whereas spirituality refers to the personal beliefs by which an individual relates to, and experiences the supernatural realm (Lunn, 2009). These terms give us a concrete background on the key notion that my essay will be focused on; Faith based organizations and the implications they come with on development, both negative and positive. The concept of ‘faith,’ which refers to the human trust or belief in a supernatural reality is also linked with the above mentioned terms, and all form the key values that Faith Based Organizations are grounded on.
There are different views on the weight these Faith Based Organizations carry on development, there are both negative and positive implications that my essay will be centered on. I will also discuss the different perceptions I have deducted and gathered from the readings I have engaged with, presenting a clear description of what Faith Based Organizations are, how they emerged and the role they play in society, as well as in development. I will then point out the negative and positive implications they have, then give my overall analysis before I sum up the key points that mark concretion in my essay.
Burchardt (2013) defines FBOs as “a voluntary non-profit organization based on principles of a particular faith, working towards collective goods, embedded in civil society, and modeled along the lines of its secular sibling, the NGO.” In simpler terms, Faith Based Organizations can be best understood as a group of people that have come together on a religious basis and shared spiritual belief. FBOs have set out to direct their efforts towards the needs of their members; this includes cultural, spiritual and social needs of their members.
Another aspect that the Faith Based Organizations work hard to enhance is that of health, this is achieved when these organizations encourage physical and mental well-being of the members by dismissing negligent behavior. Faith Based Organizations have found a link between religious belief and health, thus have started establishing health ministries. They are also broadening those ministries to not only accommodate their own members but also, to accommodate the communities as a whole.
Recently, there has been greater identification, acknowledgement and value given to the contributions of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in supplying social services. Historically, FBOs have been particularly eminent in providing food, clothes, and shelter the people in need. Faith-based organizations have also played a role in helping promote housing and community development. Some fourteen percent of community development corporations (CDCs) are faith-based.
Faith-based organizations are engaged in a wide variety of activities beyond worship, most of which provide services and immediate benefits to needy individuals and families. More than half of all congregations participate. The approach they take most frequently is to support with donations and volunteer labor service delivery conducted by other types of organizations. The likelihood that they will become involved in this way appears to depend on several factors, including whether the congregation’s house of worship is in a poor neighborhood; whether the congregation has or can raise adequate resources, which depends importantly on its size (especially whether it is very large), and possibly on congregant income; its racial composition; its theological and political orientation; and pastoral leadership. Taken together, these factors suggest that independent participation in community development (i.e., without partners) is likely to be attractive to only a small fraction of congregations. To engage with maximum effect, they will generally need to work through a separately incorporated nonprofit entity, and fostering such an entity makes special demands on congregations. Despite their limited numbers, however, those congregations could make significant contributions to community development.
The exercises of Environment for Mankind in giving homeownership openings are outstanding. Almost 50% of all backers of lodging for the elderly created by HUD are religious. The significance of religious associations in our networks is underlined by the Hedge Organization’s making of another Office of Religious Exercises. The activity will exploit the vitality, experience, and responsibility of such religious associations by growing their job. As a government organization with a long history of working with FBOs, HUD has a lot of enthusiasm for this activity. Not just have FBOs been profoundly associated with the advancement of lodging undertakings, for example, those demonstrated above, FBOs are vital to the attachment of neighborhoods and the improvement of nearby networks.
Shockingly, the degree to which these associations have attempted social administration, network improvement, and lodging programs isn’t surely known. With the end goal to address this basic absence of data about the exercises of religious associations, HUD supported research on FBOs which was led through the span of the previous year. As result, the report ‘The Job of Religious Associations in Network Improvement’ can be distributed.
This gives some helpful direction as this current Organization’s drive advances. The report discloses to us some critical, simple data. As a matter of first importance, network advancement exercises managed by religious associations are going on, and will go on. We are given working meanings of various sorts of FBOs, and the report spreads out obviously a few points of interest and impediments of FBOs doing network advancement and lodging work. The report likewise affirms what numerous as of now comprehend—we don’t have the foggiest idea about a great deal of fundamental realities about what these exercises involve, who they serve, or what their effects are.
Larger faith-based organizations, notably those attached with major denominations, have some expertise in housing and community economic development, each directly and through their social investments. However, the extent of their participation is unknown. Among the separate faith-based nonprofits, faith-based CDCs are the best community development participants to spot, however a scientific analysis of their characteristics and activities remains to be done.
In her article, Tomalin (2012) has highlighted some of the key positive implications of FBOs that I will also discuss. FBOs are distinctive; this means that they have features that make them stand out and different from other organizations. This puts them in a better position compared to the others in line with it. They have objectives that convince donors to fund them. Their services are efficient as they motivate action and also, they reach poor communities; these services include the consistent provision of education, social needs and health facilities. Another remarkable thing that FBOs have is that they are more trusted and have long-standing roots in communities than secular organizations. “FBOs have comparative advantages that enable them to undertake selected development activities and help them operate in some contexts more effectively” (Tomalin, 2012).
Clarke has also highlighted some of the positive key values of the FBOs in his article (2007) and explained that FBOs are important factors, using idioms of spiritual beliefs to provide practical support to the poor and to mobilize the popular moral energy needed to effect political change. Faith Based Organizations add value to development in the following ways; they provide efficient development services; this includes making health and education centers accessible, even to the poor. They take it upon themselves to extend their services to the poorest communities and also; they reach areas that government services do not reach and provide physical infrastructure in those areas. They have long term sustainable presence, there never comes a situation whereby one wonders that when they go somewhere for quite a lengthy period, when they return the organization will not be there.
Faith Based Organizations are legitimate and are valued by the poorest communities. This means that throughout the lengthy period their organizations have been operating for, they have never proved to be unauthorized, they have always been conforming to certain rules. They also encourage civil society advocacy and play a huge role in political and social justice. Religious institutions have an influential voice in the village and in the nation as a whole.
There are also certain ways that these Faith Based Organizations provide a spiritual fuel for development, discussed in Burchardt’s article. FBOs give spiritual teachings that are essential for development; teachings about justice and reconciliation. They also give teachings about supernatural power, the power that goes beyond human might. This divine power energizes human spirits, while many believe that this divine power is greater than human effort can ever be. So in relevance, prayer can bring extra-ordinary power that will fuel change in development, when exercised correctly, with faith exerted.
There are also negative implications of Faith Based Organizations that were also discussed in the above cited articles that I have engaged with. There is nothing that only has a good side, no matter how good that particular things can be said to be, it is highly impossible for it to meet all its objectives without delay or absolute fail at some point, so below, I will be discussing the negative implications of FBOs.
Faith Based Organizations are said to be passively involved in the fight against global poverty, by the World bank. They avoid the challenges that are faced globally and become more involved in the struggles of those they regard to as being ‘faithful.’ In other words, they do not use their influence to demand fair and better governance and public accountability, hence this causes them to not be regarded as agents of transformation by possible donors. They are divisive; they somehow cause division and conflict in the society. Also, they are regressive, in a way that their norms can be interpreted to promote and maintain injustices such as slavery and apartheid.
These organizations are sometimes presented in ways that are highly insensitive to local cultures. Other FBOs have used their control over resources to manipulate people and covert their faith, and as a result, they start imposing their norms on people. Some of them fail to meet the donors’ accountability requirements, they lack skilled personnel in contexts of poverty and low literacy rates.
Summing up, I have discussed both negative and positive implications of Faith Based Organizations, to which I can conclude that they are for a good cause as they, without a doubt, add value to development. They do not only have the influence but also, they have the potential to enhance development (which makes it a good initiative) and this can be achieved through finding ways that can help minimize the negative implications efficiently and effectively.