Faith Based Conflict Prevention
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
£71,189.92 with an additional 100% provided by partners
Professor Alpaslan Ozerdem, Principal Investigator
Laura Payne, Co-Investigator
The Anglican Alliance
Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace
The aim of the project is to answer three questions about the role of churches and other faith groups in helping to spot early signs of violence and stop it from happening.
- What is distinctive about faith-based approaches and what makes them different from the activities that are carried out by people who are not working from a faith point of view;
- What are the dilemmas that emerge when faith groups get involved in trying the prevent violence and what possible tensions can we foresee with people who do not share their beliefs;
- What scope is there for improving the work that churches and faith groups do to help prevent violence and what changes do we need to make for this to happen.
To answer these questions we will conduct research visits to Nigeria and Solomon Islands with our partners from the Anglican network of churches. We will bring our observations from the visit to an international consultation of church leaders from Africa, Asia and the Pacific in order to collaboratively generate research findings. The consultation will take place in November 2014.
We expect that this research will contribute towards building the body of knowledge and tools which provide pathways to resolving conflict situations before they become violent. Where successful conflict prevention and early response mechanisms are able to deescalate conflict situations, the serious social harms that violence brings can be avoided. Damage to economies, infrastructure and social relations can be successfully avoided. Rather than being diverted towards war and conflict, resources can be used for provided public services and improving quality of life. This is the overall purpose of conflict prevention activity, and our expectation is that by researching the scope for new community actors like faith groups to mainstream conflict prevention in their work we can expand the range of contributors to conflict prevention enterprises.
Our particular user and beneficiary communities will benefit in specific ways. The Anglican network of churches will benefit from evidence-based insights regarding the distinctiveness, dilemmas and scope of faith-based conflict prevention activities. This responds directly to a call made by the church to build its conflict prevention capacity during a series of global consultations in 2011. The project also works at the intersection of two key priorities highlighted by UK government agencies working overseas: to ramp up conflict prevention activity and to engage more with faith groups in delivering development goals.
The immediate impacts of this research project will be generated through our impact generation activities, a programme of activities designed to engage with senior leaders and influence their decision making. However, we also expect other benefits to accrue over the longer term as changes in policy and programming begin to yield results.
Research Councils UK - http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/1A2DD437-45A6-4DEA-8ED6-DE482CA46015