Development, Divinity & Dharma
Malcolm Harper, DSK Rao & Ashis Kumar Sahu
Faith-based institutions are getting involved in economic development programmes, including microfinance, and many foreign donors are looking to religious organizations for new ways to reach the poorest people. This book considers the work of a number of these, of different faiths, and asks what is ‘special’ about them. Do religious links makes these organizations more or less effective? Should spiritual development and economic upliftment be kept apart? Development, Divinity and Dharma explores these questions by examining a number of Hindu, Christian and Muslim institutions in India and Pakistan. Its main focus is the Shri Kshetra Dhamrmasthala rural Development programme, which though little known outside India, has changed the lives of almost half a million people, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians, through social and economic development programmes which are motivated by religious faith.
Dr. Harper and his colleagues remind us that long before poverty was fashionable or microfinance coveted as an emerging market religious organizations worked to mitigate the ravages of inequity through innovation and perhaps the world’s first customer oriented service ethic. Without letting the drivers of profitability or mass appeal stop them, faith based development schemes work directly and often quite effectively with those who are most in need offering an economic ladder out of the depths of poverty not just a bowl of rice and a prayer.
Bill Maddocks, Director, Microenterprise Development Institute, Southern New Hampshire University, USA
Malcolm Harper taught at Cranfield School of Management until 1995, and since then has worked mainly in India. He has published on enterprise development and microfinance. He was Chairman of Basix Finance from 1996 until 2006, and is Chairman of M-CRIL, the microfinance credit rating agency.
DSK Rao is the Regional Organizer for Asia-Pacific, Microcredit Summit Campaign. He has 22 years’ experience in rural development banking with NABARD, the apex development financial institution in India. He has published extensively on farmer management of irrigation and self-help groups for the socio-economic empowerment of poor women.
Ashis Kumar Sahu has been a practitioner and researcher in microfinance and livelihoods for about 10 years, and is associated with The Livelihoods School, promoted by BASIX, Sa-Dhan, the Indian Association of Community Development Financial Institutions, RCDC in Orissa and Urmul Trust in Rajasthan.
1. Religion and development - can they go together?
The lessons of history
Religion and development institutions
Can religion help?
Links to local institutions and communities
Leadership and management
2. How does religion affect the ‘BINGOs’?
3. Dakshin Kannada and Dharmasthala Temple
South Canara district
The banking tradition
The Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Temple
4. SKDRDP, the rural development programme
The origins of SKDRDP
Reappraisal and restructuring
The Pragathi Bandhu groups
The JVK Women’s groups
Community development programmes
The origins of SKDRDP’s microfinance programme
Raising bank finance
The power of groups
Microfinance is not enough
7. The sevanirathas
The role of the sevanirathas
A day in the life of Sivaram Pujary, a sevaniratha
8. Two cases of success
Moneppa Gowda, a successful household
Sree Nidhi Panakaje, the Women’s Snacks Group
9. The results of SKDRDP’s work
The impact on the community
10. What explains SKDRDP’s success?
Breaking the rules
The divinity factor
11. Islamic development practice
The special circumstances of Islam
Examples from Bosnia Herzegovina and Hyderabad
Akhuwat of Lahore
Muslim development NGOs – some tentative conclusions
12. Christian development practice and some examples
‘Catholic Bank’, or the Chotanagpur Catholic Co-operative Society
The Holy Cross Social Service Centre, Hazaribag
Catholic Bank and Holy Cross – some comparisons
Some common features
Strengths and weaknesses
‘Sustainability’, of a different kind
The lessons of experience