Givers and governance: the potential of faith-based development in the Asia Pacific

Civil society organisations, including those that are faith-based, are increasingly viewed as key stakeholders that can influence government policies, advocate on behalf of poor people and contribute to service delivery and development. This paper discusses interactions between religious groups and the state and how they influence society in the ethnically diverse Asia-Pacific region. Through case studies of Indonesia, Fiji, and Samoa, the paper discusses various aspects of the political relationships between religious groups and states, the roles of religion in society and the engagement of religious groups in welfare and development. It concludes that while religious organisations are socially and politically influential in all the countries considered, certain aspects of their relationships with governments pose challenges for the achievement of stability, equality, and development.

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