Towards a broader (research) agenda for religion and development

New initiatives to address religion in relation to development are emerging in Germany, UK, Belgium, Denmark and Norway. After a decade of work on the theme of religion and development, we share our insights and reflections on bringing this agenda further.

Read more 16 December 2015

Up Close and Personal

Looking back on last November's meeting addressing dynamics of polarization and intolerance. The goal was to increase our understanding of religion in relation to conflict and radicalization in societies around the world.

Read more 30 November 2015

Religion and community development: improving maternal and child health in Zimbabwe

Brand new World Vision report: Spirituality as a conduit for social transformation? Rethinking secular and religious assumptions in development practice

Read more 05 November 2015

Religion, sexuality and human rights

Conference 'Finding common ground to dialogue on faith, sexuality and human rights' - 18 and 19 January 2016 - Utrecht.

Read more 05 November 2015

1 October: Debate on Religion and Development

On Thursday October 1, a group of Belgian organisations (Vereniging voor Verenigde Naties en de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ontwikkeling en Technische bijstand/ VVOB) organized a debate on religion and development.

Read more 01 October 2015

Blog: Thursdays-in-Black

In South Africa CABSA and WCC started a campaign against gender-based violence. Brenda Bartelink changed her own habits because of her visit to Kwazulu Natal and wrote a blog about it.

Read more 01 October 2015

Religious Leaders and Leadership

Cooperating with religious leaders appears to be the latest fashion in the world of international development. Major UN agencies have started fora for dialogue with religious leaders and Pope Francis is giving speeches on the most important platforms in the world (UN, US Congress), broadcasted via all major news channels to a worldwide audience. What does this learn us about the role of religious leaders?

Read more 01 October 2015

Role of Religion in Humanitarian Aid

Report on the meeting on May 28 in Humanity House, The Hague.

Read more 02 July 2015

Looking Back on the conference with Prince Jaime de Bourbon Parme

Check out what the media writes about the conference with Prince Jaime de Bourbon Parme (Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See) and Musimbi Kanyoro (Global Fund for Women)

Read more 15 June 2015

June 26: Policy Panel The spiritual is Political - Strengthening research and policy agendas

On June 25 and 26 the KCRD together with the Centre for Religion Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen organises a workshop entitled the Spiritual is Political

Read more 02 June 2015

KCRD journeys: My people are dying through ignorance! - Faith as an inspiration to care in Mwazi Community

KCRD’s Brenda Bartelink visited pastor Wilson Ngwenya and his wife Anna in Zimbabwe to learn more about their work in the community, especially since they had attended a special workshop for pastors that engages with Maternal and New-born Child Health from a Biblical perspective

Read more 02 June 2015

New Blog: The Pretence of Neutrality: Religion and the Implementation of Programmes on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

In this blog, KCRD’s Brenda Bartelink argues that the policies and implementation of sexual and reproductive health and rights by Dutch humanitarian actors draw upon a secular ‘progressive frame’. She calls for critical reflections on how this impacts on humanitarianism and the polarization around sexuality in African contexts.

Read more 02 June 2015

Sexuality and the five world religions

On April 29th, a lunch meeting was organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topic: World Religions and their attitude towards sexuality.

Read more 15 April 2015

The Broker: Time to fix our blind spot

Article by Brenda Bartelink and Merel van Meerkerk about our blind spot for religious actors in development.

Read more 02 February 2015

Vice Versa Special on Biblical Inspiration

Vice Versa, The Dutch magazine for development workers, published a special on biblical inspiration with interesting interviews and reports from all over the world.

Read more 13 January 2015

Blog: Resilience and religion during crisis.

Esther Loonstra reflects on what humanitarian aid can learn from the personal stories of Ebola survivors. Loonstra argues that it is important to reflect on personal narratives of how religion can form mechanisms of coping and resilience during illness and disaster.

Read more 18 December 2014

RelDevSpeaks: Webinar on the Current Asylum and Displacement Crisis

On December 4 the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain of the RuG and the School of Politics and International Relations of the University of Kent hosted a Webinar on the current crisis of asylum and displacement.

Read more 08 December 2014

Seminar Islamic Perspectives on Peace: A Faith Based Approach to Conflict Transformation

On October 16, 2014 the Seminar on Islamic Perspectives on Peace took place in The Hague. This resulted in fruitful discussions on faith based development aid en disaster relief.

Read more 12 November 2014

KCRD Workshop at the Oikos Conference

On October 24 Stichting Oikos organized the conference 'Refresh Your Strategy'. The Knowledge Center organized one of the workshops in the afternoon, focusing on the relationships between disaster relief, resilience and religion. A vivid discussion with responses from a knowledgable panel was the result. The report of the workshop can be accessed through this article.

Read more 04 November 2014

Discussion: Don't Forget Religious Actors

Brenda Bartelink and Merel van Meerkerk have contributed to a discussion on the understanding of the role that local non-state actors play in their respective societies and how they can fulfill the role of state in fragile and conflict-affected countries. The contribution was posted on the website of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law.

Read more 27 October 2014

24 October: Oikos Conference 'Refresh Your Strategy'

On the 24th of October Oikos organizes a seminar on the way in which different perspectives can be dealt with: 'Refresh your Strategy'. The keynote speaker of the event is Frank Westerman, author of the book Stikvallei. After the kick off speach you can join one of the three workshops: disaster relief, development aid and entrepeneurship and development.

Read more 16 October 2014

New blog: Relation-Stress

Brenda Bartelink recently visited Kenya where she interviewed religious leaders about gender and the relationships between women and men. She discovered that next to ideas about equality, words that are chosen do matter. Read her column about relation-stress, gender and family on Vice Versa.

Read more 16 October 2014

7 October: Meeting on Gender and Religion

From the course on Religion and Sexuality from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs a meeting on Religion and Gender is organized on October 7. Esther Mombo, Kenyan female theologist of the University of Limiru and Anne Dijk, muslim theologist specialized in sexuality and gender will be the main speakers of this meeting.

Read more 29 September 2014

New blog: Spirituality and social transformation

Brenda Bartelink from the KCRD and Erin Wilson from the Centre on Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen have been traveling through Malawi and South Africa last August to interview religious leaders and church people on their involvement to tackle issues around gender equality in their community. They have written an interesting blog about their findings for, which can be accessed through this article.

Read more 15 September 2014

RelDevSpeaks: Webinar Religion and Disability

On August 21 RelDevSpeaks has organised a webinar focusing on the theme of Religion and Disability. In the webinar the role of religion in promoting inclusive participation of people with a disability in society has been discussed. Also cases of good practices and have been discussed, trying to see which factors are crucial in the promotion of inclusive participation in society for people with a disability. The webinar can be viewed online.

Read more 11 September 2014

Meeting on Homosexuality and Religion in Utrecht

On the 24th of June, 2014, Prisma, Kerk in Actie and the KCRD, together with ICCO Cooperation, have organised a meeting to stimulate dialogue on the topic of homosexuality and religion. Three guest-speakers have shared their ideas on Christian belief, church and homosexuaity. Afterwards participants and speakers have discussed the topic in a setting of trust and respect.

Read more 19 June 2014

MFA: Meeting on Religion and Homosexuality

On the 23rd of June, 2014, the second meeting of the Course Religion and Sexuality by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken place. This meeting has focused on the Religion and Sexuality, and has explored tensions between different Christian convictions.

Read more 16 June 2014

Let us engage, otherwise you will be a minority

These were the powerful words of Musimbi Kanyoro, a passionate Kenyan theologian and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, at the Opening Meetingof the Course on Religion and Sexuality at the Dutch Ministry of ForeignAffairs.The Course on Religion and Sexuality is an initiative of theMinistry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Knowledge Centre Religionand Development and the ICCO cooperation.

Read more 16 May 2014

New blog: Making conversation with religious leaders

The Dutch minister for Development Cooperation will speak with conservative religious leaders about sensitive topics such as sexuality and women's rights. How do you engage in a conversation with people holding different worldviews than yours?

Read more 18 March 2014

RelDevSpeaks: Webinar Religion and Sexuality

On 15 April, 2014, RelDevSpeaks has organized a webinar on Religion and Sexuality in development cooperation. The webinar was focussed on finding out how religion plays a role in development efforts to improve the sexual health and rights of people.

Read more 18 March 2014

RelDevSpeaks: Webinar Religion and Humanitarian Aid

RelDevSpeaks, co-initated by the Knowledge Center on Religion and Development, has organized a webinar (online seminar) on religion and humanitarian aid on the 20th of February, 2014.

Read more 04 March 2014

Special issue on religion and sexuality

The Dutch journal for development professionals Vice Versa has published a special issue on Religion and Sexuality. In seven articles the special issue explores how taboos and realities around sexuality are influencing development from various perspectives.

Read more 20 December 2013

Meelijden of Meestrijden? / / Struggle or Suffer?

This introduction on religion and humanitarian aid in conflict situations is based on an impression of a meeting at Spui25 Amsterdam on Wednesday 11 December

Read more 20 December 2013


TheKnowledge Center on Religion and Development is excited to announce a new initiative together with the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain and MDF Training & Consultancy – RelDevSpeaks- an online community for scholars and development practitioners on religion and development.

Read more 11 December 2013

Seminar Speaking about Taboos

On 18 November the Knowledge Centre on Religion and Development hosted a meeting in cooperation with Vice Versa on Religion and Sexuality in Development cooperation.

Read more 20 November 2013

Why not consider religion a spiritual resource instead of judging it? You may be surprised

Belgian magazine n’GO published the article ‘God Almighty. How to deal with religion in development cooperation’ in her October magazine.

Read more 24 October 2013

Research Cluster Religion and Development: A cooperation with the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Public Domain at Groningen University

The research cluster is currently developing plans for several activities on Religion and Development, including a series of webinars and online debates, conference presentations and research projects, in which academic knowledge and practical experiences of people involved in the field of development are brought together.

Read more 23 October 2013

Report seminar The Role of Mosques in Disasters in Indonesia

NGO representatives and lecturers discussed the results of a research on the Potential Role of the Mosque in Disaster Situation in Indonesia, on September 11, Den Haag

Read more 11 October 2013

Report of the meeting on the monetary system (in Dutch)

In a round table meeting (September 23 2013, Utrecht) experts in the field of economics and (alternative) monetary systems discussed about future options for the monetary system, including the lessons of Islamic Finance.

Read more 08 October 2013

Report Pentecostalism and new sexual openness

The meeting on Pentecostalism and the new sexual openness (September 24, Utrecht) aimed at exploring a remarkable development towards more open and often explicit teachings and public messages concerning the pleasures of sexuality in Pentecostal churches in Africa.

Read more 07 October 2013

Reflection on American Office for Religious Engagement

Recently, the US government opened an ‘Office for Religious Engagement’ focussed on foreign affairs. Colleague Brenda Bartelink reflects on this new US initiative from the perspective of Dutch experiences in engaging with religion in the field of development cooperation.

Read more 10 September 2013

Seminar on the role of Mosques in disasters in Indonesia

Islamic Relief Netherlands, Cordaid and the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development organized this seminar on Wednesday 11 September 2013

Read more 19 August 2013

Islamic Finance: a sustainable alternative?

Anne Marieke Schwencke wrote an excellent report for the Knowledge Centre on Islamic Finance. For this, she consulted many experts in the field of banking, monetary systems, islam, ethics and sustainability.

Read more 15 August 2013

Pentecostalism and the new sexual openness.

Roundtable meeting organised by the Knowledge Centre together with Mensen met een Missie on 24 september, 2013.

Read more 01 August 2013

Religion, Disaster and Relief

This spring, two interns at The Knowledge Centre did research on the role of religion in disaster relief actions by Dutch development organisations.

Read more 24 June 2013

Food and Religion

Improving global foodproduction should not exclusively focus on economic factors. Policy organisations should also take into account the local social and religious contexts

Read more 21 June 2013

Religion and Sexuality

In 2013 the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development is involved in several activities and publications about religion and sexuality.

Read more 17 June 2013

New column Brenda Bartelink on Viceversaonline: Let us do it our own way

This was the answer of Mariam, the director of a Yemeni women’s NGO, when I asked her how Dutch development organizations could support the emancipation of women in Yemen, back in 2005.

Read more 17 June 2013

July 4 Meeting on Living Faith: Faith Practices as Sources of Liberation

From 5/7 June Mensen met een Missie and her South African partner organisation UJAMAAorganized a conference in which they explored the meaning of religion in the everyday life of people in the South. The aim was to increase the insight into the meaning of religious practice, in particular for development initiatives. On July 4, the Knowledge Centre on Religion and Development and Mensen met een Missie will organize a meeting to discuss the outcomes of this special meeting.

Read more 16 June 2013

Two unique events on Islamic Finance

Interested in Islamic Finance? Do you want to know more about this emerging ‘ethical’ global niche market? The Knowledge Center is participating in two unique events.

Read more 07 June 2013

Column on Viceversaonline by Brenda Bartelink: Agents of Change

Young people are ‘agents of change’ writes our colleague Brenda Bartelink in her most recent post on viceversaonline.

Read more 24 April 2013

Report of the debate on Syria: mosaic of ethnic and religious groups

The Knowledge Centre organised a meeting on the actual situation in Syria on December 18 at the Humanity House (The Hague). Arabist Mrs. Petra Stienen moderated the meeting.

Read more 06 February 2013

Report of the meeting on HIV/AIDS and Islam. A seminar on HIV/AIDS from an Islamic perspective

Islamic Relief together with the Knowledge Centre on Religion and Development, organised a seminar round World AIDS Day.

Read more 04 February 2013

Article Pieter van Os on religion in the public debate

Pieter van Os wrote an article on the present intolerance on religious expressions. He did this on the occasion of the lecture he gave for the Knowledge Centre in November 2012.

Read more 28 January 2013

Column on Viceversaonline by Brenda Bartelink

Our collegue Brenda Bartelink wrote a new column on the Vice Versa website, this time about Donating with passion.

Read more 28 January 2013

Improvisation-workshop about Interest Free Banking at Conference on Sustainable Future, November 24

The KCRD participated in an improvisation-workshop at the conference The Future We Want (in Dutch). At this conference, both speakers and participants improvised how to reach a sustainable society. The KCRD was involved in a workhop on the monetary system.

Read more 10 December 2012

Column: Religious Leaders and Development Aid

Our collegue Brenda Bartelink wrote again an inspiring column at the website viceversaonline. In it, she reflects on the contibution of religious leaders in concilliation. processes and social change (in Dutch)

Read more 06 December 2012

Report of the Seminar: Society looking for....... religion?

This meeting took place at November 22, with a lecture by Pieter van Os, a column by Sophie van Bijsterveld, and an interesting Forumdiscussion. (report in Dutch)

Read more 04 December 2012

Column: Uneasy sides of Transnationalism

Brenda Bartelink, our KCRD collegue, wrote a column on the Vice Versa website about the influence of national borders on development aid (in Dutch).

Read more 13 November 2012

Lecture Bartelink: FBOs, reproduction and sexuality

On 25 September 2012, KCRD collegue Brenda Bartelink held a lecture on sexuality and religion in development

Read more 09 October 2012

Public Lecture on Religion in the public domain with Pieter van Os and Sophie van Bijsterveld

The Tilburg University and the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development organized a lecture and debate on November 22 on the secular discomfort with religion in the public domain and the reactions of faith based organizations (in Dutch).

Read more 07 October 2012

Lessons from a missionary

What lessons does the life history of missionary Father Theo in Tanzania contain for non governmental organisations in development?

Read more 07 October 2012

It takes courage to discuss sexuality in churches

... says Brenda Bartelink, the new employee of the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development, based on a journey through Northern Ethiopia.

Read more 11 July 2012

Believing in the House of the Other

Report of a Round-table meeting about growing tensions around the work of Christian developmentorganisations in India and Indonesia.

Read more 19 June 2012

Report and presentations Seminar Islamic Development Finance

Presentations of the seminar held on the occasion of the retirement of Professor Gerrie ter Haar, holder of the Chair in Religion and Development, and the launch of her new book 'Religion and Development: Ways of Transforming the World'.

Read more 15 February 2012

How unique is Faith Based Development Cooperation?

Presentation on January 31 organised by Mensen met een Missie, The Hague

Read more 10 February 2012

Lecture on Ethics, Religion and International Cooperation by prof. dr. ir. Joris Voorhoeve

Read more 30 September 2011

Book: Religion and Development: Ways of Transforming the World

New book edited by Gerrie ter Haar, Professor of Religion and Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and Chair of the Advisory Board of our KCRD.

Read more 15 August 2011

Presentation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On June 30 the KCRD held a presentation at a seminar at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Religion and Diplomacy. At this seminar, the KCRD, prof. dr. H.J. Tieleman and prof. dr. M.J. Faber held a presentation about how to incorporate the role of religion in the work of Foreign Affairs.

Read more 30 June 2011

Resonance at Konya meeting

"Today, it is as if various instruments resonate at the sound of one instrument; it does not matter from which tradition we speak, the wise words of the Sufi master Mevlana Rumi resonate in all our words". These words were spoken by Bikram Lalbahadoesing at the launch of the Konya Criteria, on June 16 in Amsterdam.

Read more 28 June 2011

Faith Based Development Work: Contributing to Human (In)Security?

Mensen met a Missie organised a research presentation and discussion on: Faith-based Development Work: Contributing to Human (In)Security? - A field study from a ‘God forsaken Hill' in India by Salu Jacob Mooleparambil.

Read more 27 June 2011

Workshops and lunch-lectures

The KCRD organises workshops and lunch-lectures on Religion and Development based on the recently published Practitioners' Guide. If you or your organisation are interested in this, please contact us at

Read more 09 May 2011

Four new participants

We are proud to announce that since recently, four new organisations participate in the Knowledge Centre: Islamic Relief, Migrantenconsortium / Samenwerkende Moslim Hulp Organisaties (SMHO), Edukans and Mensen met een Missie.

Read more 09 May 2011

Practitioner's guide available in English

Last April, the translation of the Practioner's guide in English was published (in pdf).

Read more 08 May 2011

Report Presentation Practitioner's Guide and Lecture Dr. Ward Berenschot (in Dutch)

Op vrijdagmiddag 4 maart 2011 presenteerde het Kenniscentrum het praktijkboek 'Religie en Ontwikkeling. Handreikingen voor de praktijk'.

Read more 04 March 2011

New website KCRD

Welcome to this new website of the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development.

Read more 01 February 2011

Religion in plural

This article (in Dutch) forms the theological background of John Veldman

Read more 14 July 2010


Proselytism confronts Western development workers in various ways. They may be confronted with national and international missionary activities from mostly Christian and Islamic organisations.On the other hand, Western development workers from Faith Based Organisations may be falsely accused of converting the people they work for.

Read more 14 June 2010

Studies in Islamic economics

Islamic University Rotterdam (partner organisation of the Knowledge Centre) published the book:

Read more 14 June 2010

News from the KCRD staff

At the end of April, our dear colleague and staff member Louke van Wensveen left the Knowledge Centre (and Oikos) in order to become local councillor in Brummen (NL).

Read more 03 May 2010

Final report Light Development

Louke van Wensveen introduced the concept

Read more 29 April 2010

Meeting International Advisory Board

The international Advisory Board gathered in the Netherlands in April for their Annual Meeting.

Read more 16 April 2010

International consultation Light Development

On April 15th 2010 the Knowledge Centre organised an International Consultation on the concept of 'Light Development' in The Hague. Light development is a new way to structure 3P (People, Planet, Profit) sustainable development.

Read more 15 April 2010


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