The Faiths Act Fellowship

An exciting international programme that has recently been launched by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Inter Fai...

The purpose of the Faiths Act programme is to provide an opportunity for diverse people of faith to campaign together for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  Its goal is to increase the contribution of the different faith communities to the realisation of the MDGs before 2015.  The Foundation has identified the improvement of integrated health care systems, particularly halting and reversing the spread of malaria, as an immediate priority for this programme.

Young people of faith have a particular role to play in this vision.  As change-makers for future generations, they are able to establish new forms of inter-faith collaboration placing a committed concern for the poorest at the heart of a renewed dialogue of life and action.  For this reason the Foundation is starting a Fellows Programme in 2009 led by the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) for 18-25 year olds and initially seeking candidates drawn from the US, UK, and Canada.
 
Candidates must have the potential to become accomplished leaders, have completed at least their secondary education and be able to demonstrate a firm commitment to work for justice in their own faith community.  They will need to be able to commit a year of their life to this work as MDG ambassador, ten months of which will be hard work, travel, workshops, speaking engagements, presentations in a well-planned project devised by them in conjunction with the IFYC.  They will receive a basic but adequate stipend, insurance cover and health care provision.  
 
Candidates selected will work in pairs in their own faith communities based in host organisations in their countries.  Their task will be to mobilise their communities, particularly recruiting other young people to raise awareness and life-saving funds for the struggle against malaria and to promote the MDGs.  They will be fully supported by the IFYC, their host organisations and the accompanying work of the Foundation, and receive intensive training to develop a variety of skills in interfaith work, the MDGs, communications and media, and project development.
 
The programme will begin with induction first in London lasting two weeks beginning on 3 August:  advanced training with a wide variety of inputs then an educational exposure trip in groups of ten to either Malawi, Tanzania or Mali  for three to four weeks.  The Africa-based immersion will focus on developing an understanding of health care in Africa, the role of faith communities and the inter-connectedness of the eight different MDGs.  Both in London and Africa future ambassadors will have opportunities to explore the social and cultural life around them and particularly to interact with local faith communities.  On return they will receive further preparatory training in Chicago to equip them to perform effectively in their chosen projects.  Autumn/Winter 2009 and Spring 2010 will find them working in their local faith communities as interfaith pairs linked by skype to IFYC in Chicago.  Specific targets will be set for numbers mobilised, presentations, workshops, fundraising during this period, and these targets monitored throughout the period.
 
It should be an incredible opportunity and equip these young people with a wide portfolio of skills and experience to go forward and achieve whatever they would like to in the future. The deadline for application is January 15th, and The Tony Blair Faith Foundation very much hopes to encourage some exceptional young people across the faiths to apply.
 
Sikh fellows will be picked from the UK, USA and Canada.

Applications must be submitted by 15 January, 2009.
 
Many thanks and do get back in touch with me if you have any queries! Kiran Kaur


The Details:

The Faiths Act Fellowship will bring together thirty young leaders aged between 18-25 drawn from the different faiths from the US, UK, and Canada to embark on a 10 month journey of interfaith service.  The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has launched this initiative in conjunction with the Interfaith Youth Core, which aims to build relationships among young people from different religious traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others. Interfaith Youth Core is the co-ordinating body for the Fellowship programme.

Training begins with a 2-month intensive initiative that includes fieldwork with primary health care partners fighting deaths from malaria in Africa.   Fellows will return to their home countries for 8 months to mobilize young people of faith to raise awareness and resources to promote the Millennium Development Goals. They will focus particularly focus on fighting deaths from malaria.

Purpose of the Fellowship


Halting and reversing the spread of malaria is one of today’s most urgent moral challenges.  500 million people contract the disease each year and one million die, the vast majority under 5 years old and in Africa. Yet, malaria is preventable and treatable. And, progress in the fight against deaths from malaria will speed our achievement of 6 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals.

Young people of faith have a particular role to play in this vision.  As change-makers for future generations, they are able to establish new forms of inter-faith collaboration by placing a committed concern for the poorest at the heart of a renewed dialogue of life and action.  The Faiths Act Fellows will become ambassadors for inter-religious cooperation in the fight against deaths from malaria and the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals.  

Once in their home countries, galvanising, motivating and organising across faith communities for the MDGs, we hope that the Fellows will reach 1,000 people each.  This would mean over the programme, 30,000 across the world will have been touched by the programme and our objective is to spread the work ever wider.

Potential candidates

Candidates must have the potential to become accomplished leaders, and be able to demonstrate a firm commitment to work for justice in their own faith community.  They will need to be able to commit a year of their life to this work as MDG ambassador, ten months of which will be hard work, travel, workshops, speaking engagements, presentations in a well-planned project devised by them in conjunction with the IFYC.  They will receive a basic stipend, insurance cover and health care provision.  

Candidates selected will work in interfaith pairs in their own faith communities based in host organisations in their countries.  Inspired by their different religious traditions, they will motivate and equip young people in congregations, schools and university religious student groups to lead their faith communities in spreading awareness of the MDG challenge, raising life-saving funds for the fight against deaths from malaria and promoting a new inter-religious dialogue of life and action.

The programme

The programme will begin with induction first in London lasting two weeks from August 2009, then an educational exposure trip to a malaria hotspot in Africa. Fellows will learn and work in teams in selected African countries, hosted and guided by an organization that is doing excellent primary health care work. In Africa, they will learn about the realities of malaria and the urgency behind the Millennium Development Goals. Both in London and Africa, Fellows will have opportunities to explore the social and cultural life around them and particularly to interact with local faith communities.  

On return they will receive further preparatory training in Chicago to equip them to perform effectively in their chosen projects.  The rest of the programme will find them working in their local faith communities as interfaith pairs, mobilizing young people of faith to work together in raising awareness of the MDGs and funds for malaria eradication. They will be hosted by a local organization that does related work and will work as a team.

Host organisations

In their home countries, Fellows will be hosted by a local organization whose mission fits closely with this project. Host organizations in the UK include Muslim Aid, World Vision UK, Tzedek, and the Christian-Muslim Forum. We are now seeking host organizations in the US, and Canada. Interested organizations should submit an application by going to www.faithsactfellows.org

In order to be eligible, the organization’s work must already prioritize interfaith social action or the engagement of faith communities in international development and have the human, physical and technological resources to host and manage two full-time Fellows from late September, 2009 through to late May, 2010. 

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