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Cafod: The Distinctive Role of the Catholic Church in Development and Humanitarian Response

Faith and religious practice are central to most people’s lives in the Global South. Religious institutions are at the heart of society, the cornerstones of the community, with a long reach into even the most remote communities. Religious leaders hold people’s trust and often have authority and influence where state and local officials do not.

Understanding the role of faith and faith-based organisations is therefore central to effective development and humanitarian response, and to building mutually beneficial partnership across a wide range of issues and actors.

Drawing from dozens of inspiring examples in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and the UK, this report outlines the distinctive contribution of the Catholic Church in different areas of development and humanitarian response, based on its local presence and involvement in people’s lives, access to the hardest to reach people and communities, commitment to the Common Good and speaking out for justice,  and its place within local communities which enables it to broker dialogue for social change. While recognising the Catholic Church is often active in all areas at once, the report outlines seven clear ways it makes a lasting difference to people’s lives.

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