August 2015 Update
Faith-Based Partners in Transformation
We are at a historic crossroads, and the direction we take
will determine whether we will succeed or fail in fulfilling our promises....
Transformation is our watchword....I urge Governments and people everywhere
to fulfil their political and moral responsibilities.
Synthesis Report on Sustainable Development
Ban Ki-Moon, 4 December 2014 (Paragraphs 2, 4, 25)
We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty;
just as we may be the last to have a chance at saving the planet.
Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
United Nations, 1 August 2015 (Paragraph 60)
The sunrise over the Bay of Bengal, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India (c)MLOD
This Update focuses on the transformational role of the faith-based sector within Global Integration (GI). Religion and faith, as we know, have a central place for most people in our world—including many “persons and communities of concern,” staff, organizations, governments, and donors. Faith-based people are thus often mainstream contributors and partners--and not marginal players-- when it comes to the efforts to transform the world. The emphasis on personal transformation (including virtue and moral integrity) is often an important added contribution from the faith-based sector. Other materials in this Update include the latest United Nations’ sustainable development agenda (crucial to review!) and several global mental health resources.
The GI Updates are designed to help us integrate our skills and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity--global integration (GI). They help to shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to pursuing "common ground for the common good."
Warm greetings from Geneva,
Kelly and Michèle O'Donnell
Faith-Based Health Care, The Lancet, (7 July 2015)
“An estimated 84% of the world’s population is religiously affiliated. Faith is a powerful force in the lives of individuals and communities worldwide. This Series argues that building on the extensive experience, strengths, and capacities of faith-based organisations (e.g., geographical coverage, influence, and infrastructure) offers a unique opportunity to improve health outcomes.” (journal website) The series draws together the experiences of a range of authors and includes a podcast featuring a discussion of some of the controversies in faith and a-care. Articles include Faith-based delivery of science-based care, Religion and ebola: Learning from experience; Strengthening partnerships between the public sector and faith-based groups, etc.
Faith and Religion in Humanitarian Action: Improving Cooperation and Effectiveness (June 2015)
This superb online learning session is part of a series of webinars en route to the World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul 2016). You can access the 30 minute overview session (by Dr. Alastair Ager, Columbia University) and brief presentations for free (click on the first link above and then scroll down the opening page to the "event recording" section). Organized by Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection
Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis (June 2015)
This is the Pope’s compelling encyclical on the care for our common home--the environment, climate change, stewardship of the earth, etc. It is available in eight languages. Many news sources carried it, one example being Time online, 18 June 2015. Here are a few paragraphs from the encyclical.
“1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. 2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.
23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system….25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades….43. Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture….93. Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone….107. We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups….111. To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.”
Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, edited by Michael Barnett and Janice Gross Stein (2012)
“The global humanitarian movement, which originated within Western religious organizations in the early nineteenth century, has been [one of the] most important forces in world politics in advancing both human rights and human welfare. While the religious groups that founded the movement originally focused on conversion, in time more secular concerns came to dominate. By the end of the nineteenth century, increasingly professionalized yet nominally religious organization shifted from reliance on the good book to the public health manual. Over the course of the twentieth century, the secularization of humanitarianism only increased, and by the 1970s the movement's religious inspiration, generally speaking, was marginal to its agenda. However, beginning in the 1980s, religiously inspired humanitarian movements experienced a major revival, and today they are virtual equals of their secular brethren.
From church-sponsored Aids prevention campaigns in Africa to Muslim charity efforts in flood-stricken Pakistan to Hindu charities in India, religious groups have altered the character of the global humanitarian movement. Moreover, even secular groups now gesture toward religious inspiration in their work. Clearly, the broad, inexorable march toward secularism predicted by so many Westerners has halted, which is especially intriguing with regard to humanitarianism. Not only was it a highly secularized movement just forty years ago, but its principles were based on those we associate with "rational" modernity: cosmopolitan one-worldism and material (as opposed to spiritual) progress. How and why did this happen, and what does it mean for humanitarianism...? That is the question that the eminent scholars Michael Barnett and Janice Stein pose in Sacred Aid, and for answers they have gathered chapters from leading scholars that focus on the relationship between secularism and religion in contemporary humanitarianism throughout the developing world. ”
Global Member Care: Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity, edited by Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell (2013) (kindle version)
--Chapter 8: Spirituality and Mental Health in Humanitarian Contexts
Alison Schafer, World Vision Australia
Spirituality and mental health in humanitarian contexts: An exploration based on World Vision’s Haiti earthquake response. Intervention 8 (2), 121–130 (2010).
--Chapter 13: Faith-Based Humanitarians
Wilfred Mlay, World Vision International
Some myths about faith-based humanitarian aid. Humanitarian Exchange 27 (July): 48–51 (2004).
--Chapter 15: Human Rights and Religious Freedom
United Nations, General Assembly
Resolution 36/55. Declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief. (25 November 1981)
--Chapter 17: Primary Healthcare and Faith-Based Organizations
Geneva Global, and World Health Organization
Building from common foundations: The World Health Organization and faith-based organizations in primary healthcare. Geneva: World Health Organization. (2008)
Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative
This is a concise inter-faith Statement by various religious organizations, resulting from a recent gathering convened by the World Bank Group (April 2015).
Faith, Secularism, and Humanitarian Engagement: Finding the Place of Religion in Support of Displaced Communities, Alastair Ager and Joey Ager (2015)
“Strengthening local humanitarian engagement requires stronger partnership with faith groups and communities. This demands not only rethinking dominant understandings of religion but also revisiting the principles and practices of humanitarianism. This book articulates key aspects of the ‘transborder discourse’ necessary for the dialogue that must characterize in 21st century humanitarianism. “
Is this the End of Christianity in the Middle East? New York Times, Eliza Griswold (22 July 2015)
“ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.”
Progressive Pentecostalism, Development, and Christian Development NGOs: A Challenge and an Opportunity
, Bryant Myers, IBMR (July 2015).
Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. United Nations (1 August 2015)
This is the final draft of the outcome document for the Post-2015 Development Agenda to be adopted by the UN General Assembly, September 2015. It includes at the core the 17 sustainable development goals and their 169 targets for social, economic, and environmental development. The entire document is conceptualized as involving five overlapping areas: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships. Sustainable development, especially via the ongoing macro efforts of the UN and civil society, is a crucial process with which to connect and contribute. More information on the sustainable development process is on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
. Paragraphs 2-.4 are below (91 paragraphs total).
“2. On behalf of the peoples we serve, we have adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Goals and targets. We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We are committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner. We will also build upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business.
3. We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.
4. As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first. “
Global Mental Health
Mental Health Atlas 2014, World Health Organization (2015)
“This new edition of Mental Health Atlas…is providing much of the baseline data against which progress towards the objectives and targets of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 is to be measured.” (website). Click here to access the press release and podcast which overview the findings (on the Mental Health Innovation Network website). Below are some excerpts from the press release, summarizing some of the challenges and progress.
“Huge inequalities in access to mental health services exist depending on where people live. On average globally, there is less than one mental health worker per 10 000 people…In low and middle-income countries rates fall below 1 per 100 000 people, whereas in high-income countries the rate is 1 per 2000 people….global spending on mental health is still very low. Low and middle-income countries spend less than US$ 2 per capita per year on mental health, whereas high-income countries spend more than US$ 50. The majority of spending is going to mental hospitals, which serve a small proportion of those who need care. High-income countries still have a far higher number of mental hospital beds and admission rates than low-income countries at nearly 42 beds and 142 admissions per 100 000 population….The Atlas finds countries are making progress on creating policies, plans, and laws for mental health, which provide the bedrock for good governance and service development. Two-thirds of countries have a policy or plan and half have a stand-alone mental health law. However, most of the policies and laws are not fully in line with international human rights instruments, implementation is often weak, and persons with mental disorders and family members are frequently only marginally involved in their development.”
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Advocacy Document
, IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (July 2015)
This brief advocacy document was submitted recently to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). The focus is on how MHPSS contributes to the four themes of the WHS: 'Humanitarian Effectiveness', 'Reducing vulnerability and managing risk', 'Transformation through Innovation' and 'Serving the needs of people in conflict'. The main messages: “MHPSS should be integrated into all humanitarian responses. All people affected by disasters, conflict and chronic adversities should have access to appropriate MHPSS to restore day-to-day functioning and recovery.” The WHS will be held in Istanbul 23-34 May 2016.
Global Mental Health: Tracking and Trekking Across Sectors, Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell, Psychology International (June 2015)
“This is the latest in a series of overview articles in Psychology International on the expanding domain of global mental health (GMH). Mental health colleagues continue to play key roles in leveraging their skills, interests and character strengths as they connect and contribute across sectors on behalf of the well-being of people and our planet. The article is organized into two main sections: Context resources (six representative reports on global issues) and core resources (six representative lists of GMH materials). Collectively, the resources are designed to help you “track” (stay current) and “trek” (collaborate together) with GMH, especially in view of the major efforts underway to promote comprehensive sustainable development.”
Click here to access WHO’s two-page infographic summarizing some of the major statistics for global mental health
Global Mental Health
—new online journal from Cambridge University Press
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit organisation working internationally from the USA and Geneva. MCA's work in Global Integration focuses on personnel wellbeing and effectiveness for mission/aid/development workers and global mental health, all with a view towards supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications. MCA is a member of the Movement for Global Mental Health and the NGO Forum for Health.
Actively integrating our lives (connecting and contributing) with global realities
(skillfully addressing the major issues facing humanity and promoting wellbeing)
in light of our core values (e.g., ethical imperatives, commitment to humanity, faith-based).
The current set of weblog entries on CORE Member Care looks at the characteristics of GI people—aka global integrators. Topics so far include GI affiliations, core values, personal transformation, pathways for preparation, charting your GI course, prayer for the UN/world, taking the world pulse, global disintegration, and sector connectors.