The UK’s faith groups joined Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell last week for the release of a new paper, Faith Partnership Principles, at Lambeth Palace.
The paper, produced by the Department for International Development with a working group of faith leaders, looks to work effectively with faith groups to fight global poverty.
The Faith Partnership Working Group was formed in June 2011 to strengthen the DfID’s collaboration with faith groups to transform poor people’s lives.
At the launch, the Secretary of State said: “Faith groups are an important part of the fight against poverty.
“I have been encouraged by the response of small faith groups to GPAF (Global Poverty Action Fund).”
He added this paper has very practical ideas to share with mosques, churches and places of worship, and the response to the promise he made at Synod, committing him to work of this kind.
His speech went on to cover the changes his administration had made to the dispersal of funding through the GPAF, meaning it is now results based rather than being based on the faith groups and charities bidding for the money.
He said taxpayers needed to see their money being used wisely, and is department was committed to getting 100 pence of value for every pound spent.
“That is the basis of this paper – to give real direction to faith groups to ensure their aid is as effective as possible through practical principles.”
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, attended the launch, with the opening introduction conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Rowan Williams said this paper brought together two worlds; the world of the faith community and the world of international development.
Tearfund, one of the groups the DfID spoke to during the paper’s production, told The Church of England Newspaper they were excited by the recognition of the value and potential of faith groups, after working through local churches for 40 years.
Chief Executive of Tearfund Matthew Frost said: “Unlike some aid operations who parachute in and then disappear, the local church is already there and won’t disappear when life gets difficult.
“It’s a truly sustainable way to bring communities out of poverty and see lives transformed.”
Mr Frost now hopes this recognition will be continued and these guidelines will help DfID staff to work alongside faith groups in developmental aid.
For further information on this document, watch our short video of Rev Dr Toby Howarth, Secretary for International Development for the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he explains the purpose of the paper, on our YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/churchofenglandnews?feature=results_main