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Religion and COVID-19: JLI and Berkley Center launch platform

Focus on Religious Dimensions and International Development Policy and Practice.

The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities (JLI) and World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) together with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University are launching an online platform and daily emails to collect and communicate information related to religious action responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to organize information so that it can be quickly found and used by development policymakers and practitioners as well as religious actors who seek to work together in the COVID-19 response. This follows from a meeting at the Berkley Center at Georgetown University on March 11, 2020, Consultation on COVID-19: Exploring Faith Dimensions. An event summary of the discussion is available here.

The focus of the platform is to link actors and observers focused on religious response and a broader policy community; and to keep a constant focus on the most vulnerable communities (refugee communities for example).

JLI and Berkley Center plan a daily very brief note that will come from the Berkley Center account, on a set of new developments linked to religious responses and questions. The organizers (Katherine Marshall, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University, Olivia Wilkinson, Joint Learning Initiative, and Dave Robinson, consultant) will initially take this as a mission; they welcome support from others. Kindly let them know if you have recommendations as to key messages. A goal is to curate information and to avoid overloading already overloaded information channels.

The platform will organize information in several categories, starting with recommendations on reliable sources of information about the pandemic itself. It focuses on

  1. responses to directives to limit physical gatherings and their implications for religious communities;

  2. specific practices and adaptations of practices, messaging and advocacy, and countering negative religious voices;

  3. specific outreach to vulnerable people and communities;

  4. major advocacy efforts linked to religious actors;

  5. reflections on long term impacts and lessons. 

The team plans to curate the online platform. Anyone can send information to us and we will post relevant material. We will send one update per day that represents the latest news or strategy related to religions and COVID-19. Daily updates will be linked to the online platform. 

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