New Project Archive Launched: How Religious Actors Respond to COVID-19
What started as an online document has evolved into a professional online platform: the Faith and COVID-19: Resource Repository. This collaborative project was supported by the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) and other organisations. It collects information about religious actors responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), and the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) introduced the new Faith and COVID-19 Repository to the public on 11 March 2022. It was presented during an online seminar called “Looking back to look forward: COVID-19 and Faith Reflections on 2020-2021”.
From a Collaborative Online Document to an Online Resource Repository
During the past 20 years there has been a growing amount of research on the role of religious actors in humanitarian and development aid. The role of religion in many cultures also puts religious actors in a position to influence behaviour that will help achieve sustainable development goals. With well-established networks, familiarity with local conditions and cultural competencies, religious organizations are often the most efficient and agile actors when a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, occurs. The efforts of religious actors in the pandemic continue to be widely acknowledged. However, formal structures to cooperate with governments and non-governmental organisations still have not been created by policy makers.
In March 2020, the cornerstone was laid for the Faith and COVID-19: Resource Repository. The Berkley Center, WFDD and JLI launched a joint project to research the responses of religious actors to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal: organising information and making it accessible to policymakers, practitioners, and faith-based actors who want to work together to address the COVID-19 crisis.
The project started as a collaborative online document and developed into one of the most comprehensive databases of resources on the subject. However, as the database grew larger and larger, it was not easily accessible. In 2021, the information was transferred into a digital collection.
Together with the initiators, PaRD members worked on establishing the Faith and COVID-10 Resource Repository. It was also supported by Data Science for Sustainable Development (DSSD).