SECULARIZATION VS THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN HUMANITARIAN AID
Until the late seventies secularization was understood, almost universally, to be irreversible, equated with modernization and progress. Religious institutions seemed to have lost much of their influence. Religion had little or no visible role in international relations. This assumption undergirded international institutional and governmental approaches to state-led nation building, development and humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian actors can increase program effectiveness, address fragmentation of humanitarian assistance, and build capacities and relationships of trust that will endure in post-crisis environments, simply by coordinating international aid with local community leaders, who, in most societies, will include local religious leaders, when designing and investing in responses to humanitarian needs. The insights of these leaders, especially local religious leaders, can assist in identifying those most in need and how best to protect. Investing in these leaders can enhance their moral authority for post-crisis peace-building.