Writer - Researcher - Speaker
Making Sense of Faith
Have you ever wondered what the 'faith' bit of
Faith-Based Organisation (FBO) actually means?
I have, even though for many years I worked as a communications professional within FBOs.
As a person of faith myself, I felt deep in my gut that FBOs were – or should be – distinctive.
But there was also a nagging thought... were they, as suggested once to the Director of Christian Aid, just 'Oxfam with Hymns'?
My work had been primarily to communicate the work of FBOs within the Christian community.
Not surprisingly, we shared many unspoken assumptions about the impact of faith in our own lives,
and that of FBOs. So when I needed to shift gears and talk about FBOs to those outside the
community of faith, I found it incredibly hard.
I struggled to put the distinctive contribution of FBOs into words...
What was it that FBOs contributed that was more than 'Oxfam with Hymns?'
But if it's just vocabulary...?
But if vocabulary was the problem, surely I could just invest in a good thesaurus and this would sort it out?
Well, I did (invest …) but it didn’t (sort it out)…
So for the past few years I have been on a quest...
My Quest ...
My quest was to discover what the ‘faith’ bit of ‘faith-based organisations' (FBO) actually meant in practice, especially for international development organisations.
And – as with any quest – I have covered quite a few miles in my travels. This culminated in several years of academic research which involved interviews and archive research of both faith-based and secular agencies.
Deep down I had expected, or hoped, to discover a magic bullet – something very clear and obvious that would answer the questions nagging at me – and often asked of me as a communications professional and fundraiser:
Are FBOs distinctive? Do they bring anything to international development that we can’t get elsewhere?
Spoiler Alert – the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ – but not necessarily in ways we may expect.
This website is my way of sharing the spoils of that quest and is dedicated to all those seekers and searchers, believers and doubters, who want to know, or better understand, how, and why faith makes a difference... [Cont'd]