Evidence 9: Programs of faith-based organizations

For our last post of the serie dedicated to the exploration of faith-based organizations, we will analyse faith-based organization’s programmatic focuses.

The graph below explores the extent to which faith-based organizations included in our database (293) develop programs addressing the needs of specific groups of people. The will to address these groups may be linked to their vulnerability in specific contexts or to the mandate of the organization. For example, some analyses of Muslim organizations have explained the specific attention given by these organizations to orphans and migrants by the fact that the Prophet was an orphan and experienced migrating from one country to another 1.

We consulted the activity report and website for each organization in our database to check for specific programs addressing the needs of vulnerable people. Our analysis was inductive: each time an organization mentioned having a specific program for a group of affected people, we included this group in the database. Thus, we included programs targeting women and girls, children, disabled persons, internally displaced persons and refugees, old people, prisoners. This coding showed that only two organizations out of 1795 claim to focus specifically on the needs of their co-religionists 2.

Targeting may be more or less intense for each organization: some organizations have a mandate specifically targeting certain groups of affected people, whereas others may only develop a program for a specific group. Our mapping does not reflect this difference in the number of programs focusing on specific groups.

The graph below shows for each religious group the organizations which have at least one program specifically aimed at a target group.


What insights are provided by this mapping?

First, faith-based organizations do not exhibit specificities in the tendency to develop specific programs addressing the needs of a certain group of people. Other factors need to be taken into account, such as the specific contexts of intervention, the history and mandate of the organizations.

Second, there is no major difference between the different religious groups. Overall, between 20 and 23% of the faith-based organizations included in our database so far target a specific group of people in at least one of their programs.

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