229 - Churches on a Mission - Values Which Humanitarians Can Relate To
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Churches on a Mission; Values Which Humanitarians Can Relate To

Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations have a long history of responding to the needs of vulnerable people around the world. They play a significant role in the international community’s response to emergencies and calamities.

Humanitarians Can Relate To These Values

Even though secular humanitarians can present themselves in an entirely different way compared to the way a faith-based organization identifies itself, there are still plenty of values to relate to.

Faith-based humanitarians are motivated by their religion, and they have a constituency which is broader than humanitarian concerns. However, faith-based aid workers share many characteristics with their secular counterparts. Generally, they are influenced by the same political, social and economic contexts.

A couple of years ago, a coalition of leading faith-based organizations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) developed guidance to promote tolerance, compassion, and respect for refugees, migrants, internally displaced and stateless persons. Three themes were outlined that draw upon principles and values shared by the world’s major religions.

  • Hospitality: Local faith communities are often the first to respond in the hallmark stage of any humanitarian crisis. They provide help to individuals, families, and communities. Through their faith, these communities respond based on their local knowledge, networks, and assets in some of the most isolated and remote areas.
  • Respect: Faith-based aid workers around the world have respect and compassion for the diversity of identities and traditions. This is important to enhance the protection and resilience of vulnerable, displaced individuals and communities.
  • Equality: Cooperation with communities should be based on a common set of objectives. It needs to be based on mutual respect and partnership. World religion teaches equality that should also translate into equal treatment and the right to equal protection according to humanitarian standards.

These three principles can help guide secular humanitarians that may wish to establish dialogue with their faith-based counterparts. Great collaborations of secular and faith-based organizations are possible if it is based on these three major principles: hospitality, respect, and equality.

Now that we've established that humanitarians share important and necessary values with faith-based organizations, we would recommend that you learn more about the faith-based work we do for church groups, missionaries, and clergy. Please take a look at our collection of other blog posts with a new addition every day.