Writer - Researcher - Speaker
I’ve always been a very curious person…
It turns out this was a rather useful trait to have in my 25+ years as a communications and fundraising professional.
Asking questions about why some communications resonated more than others led to much deeper insight into how and why different audiences responded in the ways they did.
But one question kept nagging at me as I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer:
What does the ‘faith’ bit of ‘faith-based organisation' (FBO) actually mean in practice, especially for international NGOs?
In other words, do FBOs bring anything distinctive to social change and social progress?
Or were they, as suggested once to the Director of Christian Aid, just 'Oxfam, with Hymns'?
My frustration at not being able to answer this question, led to a bit of a hand-brake turn in my career as I shifted to academia so I could find out for myself.
This began with a Masters in Political Communication and Society, where I explored the role of faith in the abolitionist movement. I built on that research with a Doctorate in International Politics which focussed on the distinctive nature of faith organisations in international development.
The outcome of all this was clear: tragically, to the detriment of the most vulnerable people on the planet, the role of faith in global crises, emergency situations, international development and social change has been, and sadly often continues to be, significantly underestimated and misunderstood.
...and what gets me up in the morning
Because so much of the impact of faith organisations and communities is underestimated and misunderstood, my goal now is to help raise the voices of people of faith, especially those local faith actors whose quiet faithfulness in serving their communities so often goes unnoticed.
It is imperative that people of faith and faith organisations must have an equal seat at the table if we are to maximise the efforts of all of the dedicated and committed local, national and global institutions that are working to address emergencies and crises (like the Covid pandemic) and strategising longer-term development initiatives (eg: to see accelerated progress in the SDGs).
So, I now wear a couple of different hats.
Firstly, I am a freelance researcher and writer on these topics without affiliation to any one organisation or institution. My current research is focused on collating compelling evidence, especially from local faith actors, to support the need for FBOs to have a seat at the table.
Alongside this, I am an Honorary Research Fellow at City University. looking to further the work I began during my doctorate.
Finally, my experience in communications and fundraising combined with my academic research gives me a fairly unique understanding of the needs and interests of NGOs, both secular and faith-based. I can therefore provide consultancy and advice to any organisation or institution interested in furthering their understanding of the role of faith, and FBOs in international development, emergency relief and global crises.
And as a person of faith myself, I can also help faith organisations to understand and articulate their own distinctiveness in the current cultural moment, via seminars, workshops or one-to-one advice and support.
Why not get in touch?