Faith ☬ॐ ✞☾✰
It plays a significant role in the lives of many people, communities and cultures around the world.
This is particularly true across the Pacific where ~95% of the population identify as Christian and less than 1% of the population as having no religion at all. In pretty much every village & on every main street there’s a church, often several - one for each denomination - from which the sound of hymns being sung emanate on the sabbath.
Here, identifying as Christian is not simply attending church once a week or a tick box exercise on a census. Everyday life is heavily influenced by the Christian faith & Churches are central to life, family, community, society, culture and identity. They also often play key roles in addressing some of the pressing problems facing communities, including the delivery of health and education services.
Christianity is the central framework through which people make sense of the world & Christian language and references dominate public discourse. The intensity of Christian adherence is certainly noticeable for someone from a more secular society - unless perhaps you’re in a tourist bubble.
Last week marked one year since I started my current role, which began my journey in the Pacific. This past year, has been a steep learning curve - particularly with respect to navigating myself within and understanding this faith space. But although I may not have faith in the religious sense; my work consistently gives me faith.
Faith in humanity and above all, complete and unwavering faith in people & their knowledge and capacity to identify and lead the solutions to their own challenges.
For any ‘development interventions’ to be sustainable they must be grounded in local values and context & I’m proud that my job involves working with phenomenal Pacific Women (& men) who are doing just that to tackle Gender Inequality & GBV.
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