MHPSS.net Webinar: "Faith Matters in Humanitarian Response"
MHPSS.net was pleased to host the webinar "Faith Matters in Humanitarian Response : How sensitivity to religious and spiritual identities can contribute to mental health & psychosocial support" on 13th December 2018, with presentation from Alastair Ager (Queen Margaret University and Columbia University) and Michael French (Lutheran World Federation), and Peter Ventevogel (UNHCR) and Marcio Gagliato (MHPSS.net) as moderators.
About the webinar: The vast majority of people lay claim to some form of faith or religion, and they do not leave it behind in a humanitarian crisis. Taking people’s faith identity seriously in shaping humanitarian response is simply part of a people-centred approach. This means that humanitarians need to be ‘faith-sensitive’. This term (as opposed to ‘faith-based’) ensures a focus on the faith, identity and dignity of people affected by conflict, disaster and displacement, rather than on the faith allegiance (or non-faith allegiance) of humanitarian organisations and agencies. MHPSS is a key entry point for this, based as it is on a cross-sectoral approach, and seeking to respond to people at all levels. Working out how to be ‘faith-sensitive’ – how to navigate the sometimes complex waters of faith and faith identity and decide what to do and not to do - requires the insights of all humanitarian actors, non-faith as well as faith-based. A people-centred approach to faith and faith identity can then lead on to consideration of how best to act in a faith-sensitive way by engaging faith communities and faith actors, to build understanding and to work in partnership. To do all this, humanitarians require tools, and this Webinar presents one such tool intended for use by all humanitarian actors, regardless of their faith or ideology: the manual ‘A Faith-sensitive approach in humanitarian response: Guidance on Mental Health and Psychosocial Programming’, with illustrations and examples from practice which highlight the real challenges and opportunities.