“When the essence of religion and spirituality are universal human values, it is vital that we drop our minuscule identities, join hands and take bigger responsibilities to make this world free of disease, stress, and social evils.”
Mr. Anish Dua, on behalf of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, India (Global Forum of Faith-Based Organizations for population and development)
Time has proven that religion has a strong influence on people. This cuts across all aspects of their lives as people’s life centers around the values of their different faiths. Hence, FBOs can actively and effectively enhance community development. The problems and challenges that emerge in communities are not decreasing, and FBOs can be useful in tackling this.
What FBOs Must Do
An FBO has to understand the community it wants to impact. An estranged father who was never there for his child cannot have a smooth or cordial relationship until he puts in the effort necessary for bonding. So it is for FBOs who want to help with community development. They have to know the communities, be part of them, be present in their daily lives, and among grass-root communities. They should understand peculiar needs and how exactly they can meet them.
Also, FBOs can help develop communities by devising realistic goals and an achievable plan. What makes a goal practical? It is considering the purpose itself, the existing resources, how to carry it out, and the time frame set for its achievement. After considering all of this and putting them side by side, the question “is this achievable?” should be asked.
FBOs need to focus on specific current problems that are facing communities. It is germane to discover the cause of a problem and solve the reason behind the cause of the problem. For example, instead of giving money and food alone to address poverty and hunger, empowering the people would be more valuable. To achieve this, FBOs can adopt toolkits to evaluate their planning process
Gun Violence: A Major Concern
One issue that is becoming pervasive is gun violence. It’s no news that people continuously table the calls for reviewing gun laws before the presidency, the leaders in government, and social media. Activists and concerned citizens continue to voice out each day.
Take a cue from a Faith-Based Organization, Faith United, who took some practical steps towards stopping gun violence. From them, we can also draw possible ways on how to help with community development.
Faith United and other faith leaders wrote a letter to Congress in 2013. It happened after a shooting occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. FBOs can join forces with other faith leaders for community development, and they can partner with the government by providing funding for community development projects. However, while doing this, the FBO must have the proper technical assistance and advice.
To promote new gun laws, Faith United joined other networks to improve background checks and ban assault weapons. Take a look at the second amendment of the Bill of Rights:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. It means that there is a right of citizens to possess a gun. Gun safe reviews should, therefore, conform to citizens’ rights.
However, introducing this should come with a high sense of responsibility – a bid to protect the vulnerable and not to destroy others. The rate of how well people have been able to balance this cannot be 100%. The life of everyone matters, no matter who they are. Therefore, FBOs must collaborate with other organizations to promote the right use and views on guns. They have to regularly create a sensitization and awareness of the use of firearms and how lives are essential.
Collaboration is Key
Unless FBOs and Faith leaders join hands together and partner with the government after understanding the communities, there would be no change. Faith-based organizations are firstly faith-based before they are organizations. It means that they can influence the minds of the people in religious centers and worship houses and promote development. Development can be supported through faith and by faith itself. Faith leaders can talk and encourage people to do the needful in community development.
In conclusion, there’s a lot that FBOs can do in community development. When they are committed to the cause, there would be apparent results. FBOs can help with community development by understanding communities, devising realistic goals, partnering with faith leaders and other Organizations, and partnering with the government.