A historic humanitarian collaboration in the Pacific context

  • Robert Bradley Mitchell CEO, Anglican Overseas Aid
  • Nathan John Grills University of Melbourne
Keywords: collaborations, faith-based organisations, climate change, Pacific churches, network theory

Abstract

This article reports on an historic collaboration between Australian church-based development agencies and their partners in the Pacific – the largest in scale to date. It is now incontrovertible that climate change is damaging health and wellbeing in Pacific communities – especially in terms of climate-related disasters. Churches in the Pacific have a unique role and responsibility within the civil society in the region. This article traces some of the historical factors that have contributed to their social resonance. The article looks at how a network approach can be well suited to tackling difficult social challenges, and makes the case for the involvement of the Pacific churches in building community resilience through disaster risk reduction activities. A shared faith identity and trust are identified as two vital factors that help church-based consortia to coalesce. The article concludes that a focus on orthopraxy in its broader sense by Christian faith-based actors is a helpful perspective in achieving collaboration.

Author Biographies

Robert Bradley Mitchell, CEO, Anglican Overseas Aid

Rev. Bob Mitchell, PhD (applied theology), CEO, Anglican Overseas Aid, Australia, former executive with World Vision, Australia, and author of Faith-Based Development: How Christian organizations can make a difference, Orbis Books, 2017.

Nathan John Grills, University of Melbourne
MBBS, MPH, DPhil (Oxford), Associate Professor, Nossal Institute of Global Health, University of Melbourne,  international coordinator for the Community Health Global Network (www.chgn.org), Public Health Foundation of India, the Emmanuel Health Association (India), and Associate Editor of Christian Journal for Global Health. 

 

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Published
2017-07-12