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Archive for the ‘development’ tag

5 Ways You Can Save Lives on World Water Day

Image Courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection

By Brian McLaren and Susan Barnett via On Faith

Water is the one symbol shared by all faiths, so it may be surprising to learn that this sacred gift can also be one of the deadliest things on earth.

Here are five things to know about water — and five simple ways you can make a difference:

1. Water is health.

Look no further than the Ebola crisis for a tragic reminder of just how difficult it is to contain disease without clean water. People in contact with the infected and deceased, especially family members in many villages, couldn’t even wash their hands.

The lack of access to safe water and sanitation causes 50 percent of under-nutrition and fills 50 percent of hospital beds in developing countries. The global water crisis is the leading cause of death of children under the age of five, killing more kids than malaria, AIDS, and TB combined.

Think about the billions of dollars spent fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria. Then realize that the absence of safe water and sanitation means immune-suppressed people living with HIV/AIDS must take their medication with dirty water — ,and no sanitation increases breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

What can you do?
Support WASH — WAter, Sanitation, and Hygiene. Every faith and denomination engages in global health and development work — and from farming and nutrition to maternal/child health and education, success relies on access to safe water and sanitation. Support your faith-based development organizations, and let them know that WASH needs to be a priority in all the good work they do.

2. Water is education.

More than half of all primary schools in developing countries don’t have adequate water, and nearly two-thirds lack adequate sanitation. That means students gets chronically sick and miss a lot of school. One third of school children suffer from intestinal worms from unsafe water.

Though we’re seeing an increasing focus on the importance of girls’ education, without water, many girls must skip classes to help their mothers carry heavy cans of water for their families, sometimes for miles every day. Many drop out of school entirely once they hit puberty because the lack of separate sanitation and washing facilities is humiliating.

The best way to turn a child into a dependent and impoverished adult is to deny her an education.

What can you do?
Get your kids involved. More than 400,000 students in 800 schools across the U.S. have already made a global impact working with H2O for Life. When a small village in Kenya told a schoolteacher that it was desperate for clean water, middle school teacher Patty Hall introduced the idea to her students in Minneapolis. After they learned about the global water crisis and their own water consumption, her class tried to raise a small amount of money to help the village school get water and sanitation. It turned out to be far easier than they thought — this village now has a permanent source of water all year round and H2O for Life was born.

Since 2007, students across the U.S. have supported over 600 WASH projects, helping over a quarter million students just like themselves — in Africa, India, the Caribbean, Central and South America. H2O for Life has all the free tools and support you’ll need.

3. Water is safety.

Without access to latrines, many women and girls dare to relieve themselves only under the cover of darkness. Their organs can be damaged and nighttime trips to secluded fields put them at nightly risk of violence and sexual assault.

What can you do?
In honor of World Water Day (March 22 each year) designate one spring week at your house of worship as “World Water Week.” Feel free to adapt A Sermon for World Water, and encourage your clergy to deliver it. Share it from pulpit to pew on your website and weekly bulletin.

Water doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Have fun — challenge your congregation to drop a coin in a bucket every time they flush the toilet or turn on the faucet. Faiths for Safe Water has free and fun ideas that help families lower water bills while helping raise funds for those without.

4. Water is equality.

Women and girls can spend up to 60 percent of each day walking to collect water, sometimes along desolate and unsafe paths. It’s a heavy, backbreaking burden that keeps women, families, and whole villages in poverty.

What can you do?
Have a child in Sunday school? Download a free faith-based curriculum that engages children in service learning around water and faith.

5. Water is peace

Peace cannot be achieved when some have plenty and others don’t have something as basic to life as water. Conversely, conflicts have been averted when access to water is negotiated. The world is facing a global water crisis, including in parts of the U.S., and it is only going to get worse without our intervention.

What can you do?
For faith leaders interested in lending your voice on behalf of water for all, please contact Faiths for Safe Water founder Susan Barnett at

* * *

Our faith voices are the voices of hope. The global water crisis is going to affect us all. Who better to take the lead on behalf of all of God’s children than us?

Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, blogger, and networker. He began his career as a college English teacher and then spent more than 20 years as a pastor. He has written more than a dozen books, including “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?” and “We Make the Road by Walking.” He is an initiator with the Convergence Network.
Susan Barnett is a former award-winning network news producer; she continues to produce documentary films and is a strategic media and communications consultant to nonprofits, working at the nexus of media, the faith and moral voice, and social justice. She is founder of Faiths for Safe Water and Impact-Communications.


Parliament Now Hiring: New Development Position


The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) has a rich history and current efforts in working with communities of spirit and faith to foster harmony and engagement to bring about a just, peaceful and sustainable world. CPWR is looking for a Development Associate.

The small staff and volunteers work together to carry on the initiatives with the help of an engaged board, and the development associate would work with the Executive Director and others. The scope of the work includes researching and developing resource opportunities with foundations, corporations, individuals and religious groups. Work would also include writing proposals, arranging appointments and events, and follow through with donors. The Development Associate works with Board committees, and shares the mission of CPWR with visitors and events.

Desired skills: articulate, with both written and oral communication talent, some experience in fund raising, positive personality, computer and internet skills.

Salary at the early end of comparable jobs. Job available immediately.

CPWR is an equal opportunity employer.

For consideration, send a resume and cover letter to Stephen Avino (

Words with Lisa Perry, CPWR’s new Director of Development

Lisa Perry, Director of Development/
Photo: Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

CPWR’s Director of Development, Lisa Perry, envisions wonderful prospects for the coming year for our organization.  Recently, Lisa sat down with CPWR’s Project Coordinator, Molly Horan, to discuss her beliefs on giving.

MH: What does being a Development Director for the Parliament of Religions mean to you?

LP: It means that I am working in alignment with my core beliefs and passions. I am able to synthesize my personal and professional lives on a daily basis. It is a lovely synergy. For me, the finest thing about being a fundraiser is the privilege of extending opportunities to express the better parts of human nature through kindness and generosity. We all have a deep spiritual need to give meaningfully to others. As an organization CPWR provides inspiration and motivation for transformation on many levels, and this speaks to a person’s philanthropic core. The mission of CPWR is to create spaces where we can go deeper together, as individuals, as philanthropists and, ultimately as collective participants in a peaceful transformation of the world.

MH: You like to say giving is “faith in action.” What informs this belief?

LP: My experience is that often the best philanthropy emerges from a connection with one’s inner-life, from one’s sense of soul – and the more directly connected, the better. I have seen this be driven by relationships with a specific religion or by spiritual awakenings that allow us to realize our deep interconnectedness as human and spiritual beings. Every major religion has a giving mandate in its holy texts, traditions or historical practices. From a spiritual perspective, all of these giving practices – “faith in action” – lead to moral growth in an individual and much material benefit to the society.

MH: What challenges does the Parliament face?

LP: Weathering the winds of change with grace, intentionality and integrity. Events in recent months have had a significant impact on the CPWR, and they are not all easy changes to navigate … but they are such wonderfully ripe and potent opportunities for growth! An organization whose global reach and impact is as significant as the Parliament’s will continue its legacy through strong leadership, vision and determination. I see all of the components at work here. A new location for the next Parliament is being finalized, initiatives for Peace and Sacred Spaces continue, and deeply invested constituents are standing together to move forward – even if one baby step at a time. Above all, CPWR stands as the oldest and most trusted voice of the interreligious movement. As it is our collective challenge, I want people to believe in this voice, these actions, this movement to make tangible the unique contribution of religion and spirituality to a better future.

Any other news you would like to share with our community?

Yes! I am happy to be celebrating the 150th birthday of Swami Vivikenanda this weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago: the venue of first World’s Parliament of Religions where Vivkenanda delivered his historic address. Join me!

Also, Please allow me to end by sharing this lovely Rumi prayer:

Today like every other day we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading,

Take down the dulcimer.

Let the beauty we love be the work that we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

- Rumi

Lisa likes to share her conviction that fundraising is simply spirituality in practice. She is an inspired non-profit leader from west Michigan with extensive experience in development and marketing and degrees in Public Administration and Economics from Grand Valley University.

Lisa has worked as a chief development officer, vice president of marketing and development, executive director, strategic consultant, and most recently, as the divisional development director for the Salvation Army of West Michigan and Northern Indiana.  She is a passionate Spiritualist, Reiki Master and active Celebrant who performs ceremonies around significant life rituals and celebrations. A member of Spiritual Directors International, Lisa also remains active in Interfaith Spiritual Direction through the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the proud mom of two thriving sons. Contact Lisa Perry

Webinar: Ending Poverty: Practical Steps for Those Inspired by Their Faith

Katherine Marshall

Katherine Marshall

Register Now Wednesday, December 14, 2011
10:00am U.S. Central Time

This webinar will address spiritual and practical imperatives that emerge from the intersections of religion and development. We now approach the culmination of the Millennium Development Goal challenge set in the year 2000. What are the successes, flops, and challenges we must face to create greater equity in our communities and around the world?

Katherine Marshall is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service. She leads the Berkley Center’s work on faith-inspired institutions working in development, that has involved both a regional “mapping” and explorations of priority development topics, around the basic questions: what can we learn from faith inspired work and why is it important for global development efforts? She is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Title: Ending Poverty: Practical Steps for Those Inspired by Their Faith
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees:
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees:
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: