The Knowledge Centre Religion and Development (Kenniscentrum Religie en Ontwikkeling, KCRD) provides knowledge concerning the relations between religion and development. In doing so, it contributes to international development cooperation by:
- collecting and disseminating information and views (both practical and academic) regarding the role of religion (religious resources);
- promoting an open attitude and empathy towards the role of religion (religious sensitive approach);
- stimulating reflection on the meaning of religion for international development;
- developing and offering methodologies for the preparation, implementation and evaluation of policies with a greater focus on religion;
- building coalitions between non-governmental and religious organizations;
- delivering a well-informed contribution to the public and political debate about the meaning of religion in the public domain.
The KCRD seeks to establish good relations with holders of knowledge and experience regarding religion and development, such as Dutch development workers, their regional offices in developing countries and Dutch embassies; people in developing countries who are involved in NGOs and community-based organisations; academic researchers; and migrants in the Netherlands who are involved in community-based organisations in their countries of origin.
The KCRD advocates a vision of development which is not only based on economic and political considerations, but also takes social, ecological and cultural dimensions into account. This broad approach considers religious views and practices as well, as these may be relevant to the visions of the good life. The two central themes in this vision are pluralism and transformation.
We live in a world in which differences emerge sharply at various levels, from local to transnational. People have different views on development, values, and the good life. Clashing civilisations, claims to absolute truth, transnational movements and threatening scarcities further complicate this challenge.
The KCRD has to deal with this plurality, both in the context of its activities and within partnerships and networks. Religious empathy and knowledge of religion are indispensable to understand pluralism and be able to deal with differences.
Development cooperation is aimed at transforming a society with a view to human dignity and ecological sustainability. Explicit and implicit views on what constitutes the good life determine what transformation is deemed desirable. Religious resources represent powerful forces with regard to the envisaged transformation, both in a positive and a negative sense. These resources help to determine the direction and speed of change.
The KCRD is based at Stichting Oikos.