'Home and Away': the intriguing case of Islamic Relief's domestic programmes
Susannah Pickering-Saqqa (University of East London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper draws on research commissioned by the Humanitarian Academy for Development into the extent and challenges of Islamic Relief Worldwide's (IRW) domestic programming in seven Partner Offices. It finds that domestic programmes have the potential to rupture IRW's understanding of its mission.
Paper long abstract:
Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is the largest UK-based relief and development agency rooted in the principles of Islam. As a faith-based organisation (FBO) it has received considerable attention in recent research (Tomalin 2014). As a specifically Muslim FBO, it has received even greater scrutiny (Petersen, 2015). IRW is, therefore, a significant NGO through which to consider the panel the panel theme. Little research has been previously undertaken on the domestic programmes (DP) of INGOs such as IRW. However, findings from my own comparative study of the DPs of four large INGOs indicate that one of the challenges to and benefits of DPs is that they can subvert and disrupt understandings of the actors, spaces and processes of development. This paper draws on research commissioned by the Humanitarian Academy for Development into the extent and challenges of Islamic Relief Worldwide's (IRW) domestic programming in seven Partner Offices. The research, undertaken between March 2017 and August 2018, collected data via an online survey, 39 semi-structured interviews and document analysis. The main challenges experienced by these seven domestic programmes were: rising xenophobia; internal IRW strategy tensions; donor perceptions of poverty; resources, and visibility. Findings also suggest that DPs often struggle to gain acceptance and commitment in the IRW family because they pose difficult questions for IRW in explaining their mission, intervention strategies and beneficiary selection. This is especially the case in the context of a development sector, in which the geographical location of development is always distinct from 'home'.
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