Interfaith Skills Training for Faith Leaders
Pakistan is a religiously diverse country, yet the religious minorities live in a state of profound dis empowerment and face numerous socio-political challenges. Even in some cases the faith based minorities are discriminated, marginalized and live under state of constant threats. Moreover, the deeply prevailing misperceptions regarding religious minorities hamper their integration in society. PEF projects for interfaith leaders is designed to empower religious leaders to foster interfaith dialogue, mediation, religious reconciliation and coexistence.
The project seeks to address the vulnerability and pervasiveness of religious narratives based on violence and intolerance at the community level. The project is targeting 18 districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) including Islamabad. Under this project, 200 interfaith leaders representing Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and all Muslim schools of thought will be engaged within span of January, 2016 to July, 2018. The training action will be followed by an extensive community outreach campaign to promote local buy-in, an environment of openness to messages of peace and tolerance, and nurture a broader positive social change.
- Capacity building and awareness raising program to address religious prejudices and discrimination by promoting cultural and religious diversity
- To create Peace Champions that will sustain peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, co-existence and defend the rights of minorities, women and other faiths.
The diverse religious leaders build their capacities to first learn, then practice and finally promote these skills among their followers and community members.
PEF has developed manual “Interfaith skills training manual” that equip them with the skills including peace building, dialogue, critical thinking, community leadership, mediation and resolution of conflicts within their communities. The training design provide opportunity to diverse group of faith leaders to interact and have deep discussion with each other that lead them to reduce many misperceptions among faith based communities.
Outcomes of the Program:
The outcome of this project is expected in several key areas:
- Reduction of negative perceptions and distrust between minority faith groups and Pakistani Muslim leaders, opening greater space for both interfaith and other civil society groups to engage with the “other” domestically;
- Greater internal capacity of interfaith organizations to address issues of concern domestically through knowledge-sharing, skills development, resource-sharing, and network-building facilitated by PEF and its partners; and
- Reduction of incitement, that leads to violence in communities across Pakistan.
|1||Revise and finalize interfaith skills training manual||Engaging experts to develop interfaith skills training manual to equip faith leaders include peace building, dialogue, critical thinking, community leadership, mediation and resolution of conflicts.||The manual finalized in April, 2016||– Develop training design that help diverse group of faith leaders to have deep discussion and dialogue with each other that lead to reduce misconceptions among diverse communities.
– Give them set of peace building skills to make them peace champions.
|2||200 Interfaith leaders from different religions will be trained in 08 capacity-building workshops||Engaging diverse group of faith leaders represent Christianity. Hinduism, Sikhism and all Muslim schools of thought through capacity building program||Completed till October, 2017||The faith leaders are empowered in critical thinking, dialogue, mediation and reconciliation skills|
|3||Conduct two Advanced training workshops to make 50 peace champions from the pool of interfaith group||Engaging alumni representing different faith groups represent Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and all Muslim schools of through advanced training workshop to make them peace champions||Both workshops were conducted until November, 2017||Prepare network of peace champion in different district that disseminate the message of peace, tolerance, coexistence and dialogue through community based initiative of community engagement programs.|
|4||2 mutual learning workshops to evaluate interventions by peace champions at the community level||Evaluate and analyse impact of community based initiative of community engagement programs (CEPs)||It will be expected to be conducted during April, 2018||Analyse impact, challenges and way forward for future interventions|
|5||Conduct National Level Conference and present peace awards to 30 most influential peace champions||To create awareness about peace-building mechanisms through the faith communities, showcase the work of its Peace Champions from madrasah and interfaith groups for larger dissemination and promotion.||It will be expected to be conducted during July, 2018||It will help to determine future course of action based on ground efforts of multi-layer engagement of religious leaders|
Achievement and Success:
“I had so many misperceptions about other religions. For instance, i thought shia are not Muslims but after the workshop this biased changed through extensive dialogue with other faiths during the workshop. Sarah Yaqoob representing Christian Community
- PEF interfaith training program provide opportunity to interfaith champions built a network of diverse faith communities within their respective districts and organized different activities with mutual collaborations.
- The mutual exposure visits to worship places (mosque, imambargah, church and temple) helped the diverse faith based communities to reduce stereotypes and misconceptions about other faiths. Through this activity, the religious institutions of different faiths also initiated the communication to each other.
- The interfaith program provides opportunity to explore the customs and traditions of other religions that is useful in mutual understanding.
- PEF interfaith champions from Christian and Hindu community have participated in the processions of Miladulnabi, the birthday of Prophet, to show gesture of solidarity with the Muslim community. Similarly, PEF alumni from Muslim community participated in dewali festival of Hindu community and in Christmas events of Christian community. These programs demonstrate powerful message for the rest of the community that they can celebrate their religious festivals together.
- A close working relationship established through community based initiative of community engagement programs (CEPs). A team representing different religions and sects organize different CEPs in many districts successfully.