Engaging with religion at the local level for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing following humanitarian crises

People affected by forced displacement and humanitarian disasters often consider that their psychosocial wellbeing and spiritual needs are as significant as their physical survival. Through supporting mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, religious communities, narratives, beliefs and practices can play an important role in supporting the abilities of individuals and communities to manage trauma and crises.…

In God We Trust: Faith communities as an asset to refugee youth in the United States

Faith plays a crucial role for many displaced people, providing spiritual sanctuary in contexts of overarching insecurity. Whether this comes in the form of organised, local level faith groups - such as those that may gather in mosques or churches - or in the stories and ceremonies of faith-based practices, faith can enable spiritual resilience…

How to Overcome Religious Prejudice among Refugees

Religious tensions between diverse refugee communities in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon present challenges to those affected by displacement, exposing some to faith-based discrimination. In other instances, (perceived) markers of religious identity expose refugees to discrimination, both from state officials, and members of the host community too. However, as Kat Eghdamian (UCL) argues in this piece (originally…

Does Faith-Based Aid Provision always Localise Aid?

Attempts to localise humanitarian responses have resulted in a growing awareness on the part of international actors of the opportunities that come from working with local faith communities (as explored on Refugee Hosts here, here and here). However, as Estella Carpi argues, there is a need to reflect on local contexts to ensure that engagements with…

Photographing Religion and Displacement: UNHCR’s 30 Days of Faith

Introductory reflections by Prof Alastair Ager, Refugee Hosts Co-I (Queen Margaret University) and Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Refugee Hosts PI (UCL) Humanitarianism is marked by a commitment to principles of impartiality and neutrality. Agencies have often shied away from engagement with religion and its role in the lives of refugees for fear of compromising these principles. However, religion is not just…

Seeking Evidence to Provide Protection: How Can Local Faith Communities Support Refugees?

We need more nuanced evidence to help policymakers and practitioners better understand the roles that faith-based actors already play, and have the potential to play, in supporting refugees and forced migrants. Summarising existing evidence and key remaining questions presented in a policy note issued by our project partner the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith &…

Engaging with Faith Values to Reshape Responses to Forced Migration

In this piece, Sadia Kidwai of Islamic Relief argues that greater engagement with local faith communities by international humanitarian organisations will allow for more sustainable responses to global forced migration to be identified and implimented. This is an area which is being examined by the JLI Hub on Refugees and Forced Migration, of which Sadia is a Co-Chair,…

Visualising Faith, Trauma and Conflict Through Art: The Work of Marcello Silvestri

By Marcello Silvestri In a fast-paced world saturated by flashy images and by the monotonous black and white colour of the written words of experts or pseudo experts, I have opted to pause and stay away from the frantic international travel and glamour of my early career. I like to observe and meditate and then…

Faith-Based Humanitarian Corridors to Italy: A Safe and Legal Route to Refuge

Based on her research in Italy, in this piece Susanna Trotta argues that Italian FBOs' responses to the needs of peoples displaced around the Mediterranean are helping to counteract troubling trends in refugee status recognition, whilst also offering a model of 'replicability' capable of challenging the growing securitisation of refugee protection in the Global North. In…

Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees

Major international agencies including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have moved towards partnering with faith-based actors to support displaced persons. Despite this, concerns – and suspicions – remain about the nature and impact of faith-based responses to displacement, often stemming from negative assumptions about the relationship between religion and gender. These assumptions…