Embeddedness : the paradox of development through the grassroots of churches

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/231813

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Alava , H L 2016 , Embeddedness : the paradox of development through the grassroots of churches . in R Odén (ed.) , For Better for Worse : The Role of Religion in Development Cooperation . Swedish Mission Council , Halmstad , pp. 177-188 .

Title: Embeddedness : the paradox of development through the grassroots of churches
Author: Alava, Henni Leena
Editor: Odén, Robert
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Global Development Studies
Publisher: Swedish Mission Council
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: For Better for Worse The Role of Religion in Development Cooperation
ISBN: 91-85141-25-9
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/231813
Abstract: What should development organisations take into account when considering whether to provide funding to a long-established church in the Global South, or to an organisation affiliated with such a church? Drawing on research in Northern Uganda, this article suggests that the key to addressing this question is in recognition of churches’ unique historical, social and religious embeddedness in local societies. From the point of view of donor organisations, this embeddedness is paradoxical: the same things that enable churches to ‘deliver development’ in an unusually effective and meaningful way, make churches appear as challenging grassroots partners for development. This is because the spiritual, historical and political embeddedness of churches makes the effects of their activities greater than of organisations lacking such embeddedness – whether those effects be ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. The notion of embeddedness draws attention to the need for donors to cease to think of churches in negative terms, as foreign impositions. The history of missionary churches is inseparably embroiled in the history of colonisation. However, the religious faiths and practices initially brought by missionaries to many parts of Africa are now an integral part of the life of many local adherents. Church members experience churches as their own – often much more so than they do the UN, NGOs, or secular discourses of human rights and development.
Subject: 5203 Global Development Studies
NGO development co-operation
faith-based development
Uganda
Religion
Politics
Ethnography
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