Religion and globalization: Evangelical Christianity and development in Africa

 

 Project

Five year Academy Research Fellow project  funded by the Academy of Finland in 2011-2016 at the Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki.

Päivi Hasu, PhD
Academy Research Fellow, Adjunct Professor (Docent)
Development Studies
Department of Political and Economic Studies
P.O. Box 59, Unioninkatu 38 E
FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
paivi.hasu@helsinki.fi
 

Faith based or secular development?

Focus

Human development and global evangelical Christianity in Africa, specifically in Tanzania. Evangelical faith based institutions are examined in relation to key development questions: 

• Poverty and human development
• Economic reforms
• International aid system
 

Background

• Exponential growth of global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity in Africa
• Significant public role of faith based institutions in African societies
• Economic reforms in Tanzania; its status in the international and Finnish aid systems
 

Business location - Income generating project of the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania

  Theory 

•Weberian approach to the relationship between religious ideas and economic activity
•Human development and capability approach of Amartya Sen

The capability approach is a value-based way of thinking about the multidimensional nature of human development and wellbeing.

Working model

The working model of capability approach to religion and human development designed for this research examines how faith affects: 

•Capabilities – the valued dimensions of good life
•Income generation and the vital resources necessary for materialization of human development
•Positive and negative freedoms that either empower or constrain people, and that have personal, social and transcendent dimensions
•Functioning as the actual achievements
•Wellbeing as the meanings people give to the actual achievements

 The working model translates into the following concrete questions:

•How do faith based institutions construct their world view and institute their activities in relation to development and human capabilities?
•How do individuals and their communities perceive human development and act towards wellbeing in the light of their religious world view?
 

World Vision training seminar on evaluation and monitoring

 

 Cases

 Cases selected along the religious, organizational, strategic and service dimensions
•World Vision
•Fida International
•Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania
 
 

World Vision Christian Commitment committee meeting

 
Collaboration
 
•Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar es Salaam
•Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki
•Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki
•Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä
•Nordic network “Religion and Development: Nordic Perspectives on Involvement in Africa”
•Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, University of Lund
•Individual scholars at UK universities 
 
 

AMREF at a field training seminar at the Shinyanga Youth Centre of the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania and Fida International