Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) MEAL Learning Hub

Faith actors have long been involved in initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing and health of communities. While much of the international system continues to be characterised by secular approaches, there is an increasing awareness of the contribution of faith communities to development and humanitarian aid, which goes hand in hand with a recognition that international secular approaches are not always suited for engagements with local faith actors.

While some areas related to faith and development/humanitarian aid are relatively well-researched, we have limited knowledge about Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL), and faith. As a response to this gap in our knowledge on faith-based approaches in the development/humanitarian sector, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) members founded the JLI MEAL Hub in autumn 2019. Convened by the JLI, the Hub focuses on MEAL in local-international partnerships with a faith element. It includes members from a wide range of secular and faith-based organizations interested in working on topics relevant to MEAL with/as faith actors.

Aware of common challenges related to the inclusion of MEAL in international-local faith partnerships, the MEAL Hub members recognised the need to better understand how activities related to MEAL are conducted in international-local partnerships. MEAL Hub members further saw the need to generate this knowledge with local partners from a faith-inspired organization from any faith and from anywhere in the world. For example, there is often pressure by donors and international partners to add MEAL to partnerships with local faith communities. However, at times, conventional MEAL activities can feel like a burden to local faith actors who do not always see the value of collecting data in the ways institutional donors and partners expect. The MEAL Hub therefore decided to compile good practice examples to be of use to a broad humanitarian and development audience. The JLI and MEAL Hub members will use the compendium to showcase good practices in faith and MEAL in global and national meetings around the world.

Download the full JLI MEAL Compendium of Good Practices on Conducting MEAL and Faith

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