Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Syed Aqeel Tirmizi


The purpose of this capstone paper is to present research and evidence on the importance of faith and religion in the field of development and how they can be effectively engaged with the World Bank Group (WBG) in poverty reduction by using this document as a resource guide/toolkit.

The WBG, over its 71-year history, has had very limited professional contact with the faith based organizations (FBOs) and religious leaders who are working towards the same causes. These FBOs were often invisible to multilateral development agencies, but recently the WBG has put more effort to strengthen its relationship with FBOs and religious leaders to work together in achieving the United Nations (UN), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a set of 17 global goals with 169 indicators covering a broad range of sustainable development issues.

The issue of extreme poverty is very familiar to any faith-based NGO, church, mosques, and Imams working with vulnerable people in resource poor communities. This work is aligned with the WBG twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. This paper explains how those FBOs can engage with the WBG to work effectively towards their respective missions.

Since majority of faith-based work is relatively new, most of the FBOs in developing countries are unaware that the WBG offers opportunities for collaboration and capacity development. The faith-based team at the WBG has recently prepared a toolkit for internal use about how the bank can effectively engage with FBOs. However, there is a strong need to create awareness for FBOs working in the global south region where most people are vulnerable to extreme poverty. This research paper will garner further awareness for FBOs and religious leaders as to how they can effectively engage with the WBG and utilize its resource guide/toolkit component specifically designed to support their work.

Partnerships with FBOs are an important channel of delivery of social services and implementation in WBG funded projects. Recently the WBG has established a new platform called Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) to provide up to half a milliondollars of funding opportunities towards delivering a wide range of basic services in such areas as AIDS prevention, clean drinking water, education, health, gender issues, supporting small enterprise development, and environmental related work. FBOs involvement in service provision complements and improves government action. In this light, the WBG is attempting to simplify its contracting procedures in order to facilitate FBOs involvement in the WBG operations. Other international organizations have started working with FBOs and religious leaders from across the globe including UN agencies, which are also working toward the SDGs.

This research paper also examines selected best practices by other international agencies such as UN bodies to engage FBOs and religious leaders to inform WBGs work in this arena. There are some risks, which prevail during this process of engagement, but the Bank and FBOs may mitigate those risk by adopting precautionary measures in advance.


Development Studies