Forging Relationships Between Faith-based and Secular Organizations to Address the Global Water Crisis

A case study from Liberia

  • Kristen R Alford Calvin College
  • Jamison L Koeman Calvin College
Keywords: partnerships, faith-based, sustainable development, multisectorial, clean water


It is imperative to engage in interdisciplinary and multisectoral partnerships as we seek to develop and deliver effective solutions to address the global water crisis. These partnerships allow us to live out our Christian charge to demand justice for the vulnerable and promote human flourishing. This case study reviews the benefits and challenges of multisectoral partnerships between faith-based and secular organizations using the example of a multi-year water filter distribution project in Liberia. Benefits of the partnership include shared expertise, investment in students and Liberians, and results-driven research. Challenges include differing sub-goals, logistical challenges, communication difficulties, and different ways of communicating results. Intentional program planning, avoiding preferential treatment, and engagement in process evaluation are all suggestions for mitigating the potentially harmful effects of these challenges.

Author Biography

Kristen R Alford, Calvin College

ABD, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

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