Values and Religion

Lastwagen mit der Aufschrift

Recognising and harnessing the potential of religion to promote development

Religious values influence the way billions of people think and act. Eighty per cent of the world’s population consider themselves part of a religious community. Their faith and its underlying values are an important source of guidance in their daily lives.

To date, however, religion has played only a very minor role in official development policy. There has been no systematic analysis of the influence of religious actors on development cooperation and no explicit attempt to cooperate with religious communities on the basis of shared values. Given their predominantly secular beliefs, development actors are often sceptical and wary when it comes to dealing with religious issues.

Yet if we want people to be at the heart of development policy, that policy must reflect their outlook on the world. This rationale led the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to establish a programme entitled Values, Religion and Development. The objective is to incorporate religion as an important resource that can help foster sustainable development and peace as part of a wider policy based on common values.

Examples of our work


Values and Religion in German development cooperation

Religion influences the world view and way of life of many people. It can also provide a motive for social engagement. It therefore has the power to shape the political and social landscape to a very considerable extent. Development policies that reflect this can help to ensure future measures are designed with a greater focus on sustainability.

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Dr. Ute Böttcher