Hivos International

Religion

Tearfund, a Christian faith-based international non-governmental organisation, has for 15 years  supported local churches to mobilise communities through a process called Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM). The CCM advocacy pilot project in Uganda led to improvements in service delivery.

In this practice paper, Tearfund  and Making All Voices Count staff discuss recent research that examines the role of local churches, CCM and CCM advocacy in fostering transparency, citizen empowerment, inclusion and government responsiveness.

The key themes they examine are

The first idea for this mapping on sexuality, human rights and the role of religious leaders emerged in autumn 2013, when HIVOS and the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development participated in a couple of events that all addressed the challenges around religion and sexuality.

1 The ‘Open for Change’ conference organized by HIVOS is an example.

In many parts of the world, diversity is on the increase in religion, secularism, culture and ethnicity, often dividing "us" from "them". Diversity has always been a source of opportunity, but also a challenge to the peaceful coexistence of communities. Situations of polarization raise questions about the role of civil society, citizens and the state. How can pluralist societies constructively deal with diversity? How can coexistence be promoted? What roles can be played by state, civil society and citizens?

This policy paper provides a roadmap for electoral reforms in Syria  that will be needed to set Syria on the path towards democratisation. It  is the latest publication of Hivos and SRCC.

Hivos analyzes the future of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

Knowledge Officer Kawa Hassan was invited by Clio (the Study Association of International Relations & International Organizations at the University of Groningen) to analyze the current political landscape in Egypt. At Clio’s second Forum Committee Lecture, Hassan refuted fears of a Muslim Brotherhood take-over, but rather pointed at the likeliness for this party to become incorporated in the democratic political system.

What Next For Kurdistan and Iraq?

As most of Iraq threatens to collapse under the weight of sectarian violence, Kurdistan in northern Iraq stands in sharp contrast. Often described as the “Other Iraq,” Kurdistan has enjoyed stability, security, and an economic boom during the last decade.

The Carnegie Middle East Center held a public event on 17 July 2014 to shed light on the latest developments in Iraq. Carnegie’s and Hivos' Kawa Hassan, Maria Fantappie of the International Crisis Group, and Carnegie’s Lina Khatib discussed how the intricate dynamics between the Kurds, the Maliki government, and the Islamic State will shape a region in turmoil.

Hivos is proud and pleased to present this special bulletin on the role of Shia clergy in the transition to democracy in Iran. The contributions in this special bulletin present  unique insider perspectives on the potential and limitations of Shia clergy to foster the development of a democratic Iran.

Five Iranian experts - four of whom are clerics – provide informed and in-depth insights into how the Iranian Shia clergy views the relationship between Shia Islam and  democracy and how this relationship could transform in the future.

Like their Islamist counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia, Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development (PJD) rode the 2011 wave of popular protests to become the largest party in parliament. Moreover, unlike Islamists elsewhere, they have managed to buck the regional trend by remaining in government. 

The PJD is in the midst of a drawn-out transition to democracy with no other option but to negotiate, compromise and constantly reassure the Moroccan monarchy that its most vital interests are not being threatened. So far, the party seems to have maintained its cohesion and edge over the political opposition, but the hardest work of the democratic transition has not yet started.

Policy Brief by Barah Mikail

As Iraq heads towards parliamentary elections on 30 April, a combination of political and sectarian divides, poor governance  and terrorist attacks continue to add to instability in the country.  The risk of regional spill-over is considerable. Meanwhile, there is a strong chance that the increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, will win a third mandate. This could take Iraq to the brink  of fragmentation. While facing many political obstacles, progress towards decentralisation could offer the best option to prevent further destabilisation and preserve the unity of the country.

This policy brief paper argues that democracy without Islamists is now inconceivable in the Middle East. Their exclusion from any democratic process would put the legitimacy and sustainability of the entire process at stake.

However, merely lifting the barriers to inclusion is not enough to cure the region’s persistent democratic deficit. It is necessary to revisit socio-economic structures, broaden participation and implement comprehensive transitional justice processes that confer legitimacy on emerging political systems. Even among radicals, such measures can help reduce the incentives for resorting to violence. Among organisations committed to engagement, they can help transcend ideological dogmas.

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