Having watched the World Bank “Power of Faith to Help End Extreme Poverty” with the questions and observations that come with it, I think the route of religion will be quite hard/tricky to follow. One of the panelists said religious organizations should be seen as a development partner who is more than a channel to be recognized for reaching the hard to reach populations.
While also one of the panelists mentioned how vital it is to build a social movement to tackle poverty. All of the suggestions and comments on the panel gives me more concern when one of the audience asked how will the world bank balance economic principles and religion as the principles of economic growth contradicts that of faith.
Just like the representative of Sarvódaya says they were able to balance responsible consumption with the life of the people and how they were ready to let people work together as a community towards the same aim – growth.
The question lingering in my mind was, how do a capitalist economic system balance with communism and how do we as development practitioners ask the brave entrepreneur to consume in a sustainable way when he will apparently say he gets all he has access to due to his power of enterprise. Also, how can we ask the government that created a social status, competition and lobbying to be more just and equity?
Furthermore, how do we ask the Islamic believers who does not believe in women empowerment to buy into gender equality and how do we ask the Christian faith who thinks human should procreate to think we need to have birth control in place because the more population the world has, the difficult it is for sustainable development?
Methinks, we all have to come to terms with all of these contradictions before we can start thinking of how the faith-based organizations can be useful or needed in development or poverty eradication while also considering the fact that different religion comes with a different denomination which sometimes, their message is usually not the same. Consider the case of Adventist and Jehovah Witness or the Sunni and the Shia.