The URDR works with diverse clients and research collaborators around the world. We partner with organisations of all faiths and of no faith to help them to engage in sustainable development. We support evidence-based approaches that take note of the faith dimensions in contexts where they work and its impact on development. We employ a critical religious lens to help organisations move from paradigms of welfare to more nuanced development approaches. This enables their work to become more effective longer term and tackle root causes.
"Understanding the people and communities with whom we work is the foundation of effective practice…I noticed what a crucial role faith in God played in the very processes I was attempting to understand” (Morris 2014)
The URDR has developed long-term research partnerships with many NGOs - local, national and international, faith-based and non-faith - looking at gender-based violence, sexual violence, HIV & AIDS, identity and leadership on the African continent and beyond. Core partners include Tearfund UK and World Vision International where multiple projects have informed their strategic programming with faith communities. The URDR has assisted a number of organisations in South Africa with research that has critically evaluated and shaped their strategies around sustainable development. These have included Scripture Union, Learn to Earn and Bible Society South Africa.
URDR researchers have delivered both research and course curricula for a number of universities within the African continent and is currently working in Colombia around developing interdisciplinary theological curricula for human flourishing. Past themes include community development, research skills and gender-based violence.
URDR researchers have secured grants with different governments to explore themes of transformation, social capital, religion and welfare, community safety, religious demographic data, and gender-based violence. Multi-sectoral funds have been accessed at international, national and municipal levels as well as with statistical agencies to carry out scoping and baseline studies, youth skills and safety audits and evaluations.
Local Faith Communities
A number of URDR projects have collaborated with local faith communities at grassroots level. This includes carrying out research for diverse church denominations around HIV, youth sexuality, orphans and vulnerable children, youth curriculum development and theological formation. The URDR takes an interfaith approach and many of its projects work across a number of faith communities, depending on the particular context.
Trusts and Foundations
The URDR has been contracted by private and public trusts and foundations around the world to carry out research on a range of topics related to religion and development. These include the Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Templeton Foundation, Sanpad, Transformation Africa Trust and the Ecumenical Federation of South Africa. These projects are tailored to need and offer an evidence-based contribution that can improve and showcase their work.