A “TOOLKIT” designed to help religious groups and communities to assess the quality of their interfaith engagement has been developed by specialists in relations between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities.
Designed by the Cambridge-based Woolf Institute, the toolkit Measures of Success seeks to determine the effect of interfaith work and dialogue and to quantify its value. It builds on previous studies of interfaith projects around the world and is the product of research and fieldwork in the UK.
A spokeswoman for the institute said that the kit would help groups that were seeking political or financial support for their work. “Measuring impact is important, as local and national governments need to know if funded interventions are successful. Interfaith groups are often supported by private donors who seek accountability for constructive use of valuable funds. The toolkit aims to quantify long-term and subtle changes to assess efficiency and effectiveness, and to deepen learning for the future well-being of diverse and inclusive societies.”
Users are asked to rate their performance in several areas, including identity, belief, attitudes, behaviour, and positive outcomes, such as increased trust, improved attitudes, and changed behaviour. This can then provide feedback for government and funders on their achievements.
“Cultural and religious diversity is now an ever present feature of the modern world, and is predicted to increase in the coming decades, due to climate change and large-scale migration,” the spokeswoman said.
“Post-9/11, interfaith dialogue has been relied upon to bring people together; it underpins international diplomacy and is a vital tool in conflict resolution, but it is rarely tested or evaluated.”
The programme director at the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine, and lead adviser at Civil Society Consulting CIC, Sadia Akram, said: “We work with groups from ethnically diverse and multifaith communities, and often these organisations don’t really have the capacity or the resource to demonstrate impact.
“Some of the grass-roots organisations do fantastic work, but they are busy doing the work rather than understanding that there needs to be more of a strategic outlook. This toolkit will really help them to think about the change, the impact, and the difference that their work makes.”
The toolkit is free to download at woolf.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/toolkit