Religionsskifte og utvikling i et kjønnsperspektiv : rapport fra et utredningsoppdrag til Det Norske Misjonsselskap
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In 2005-2006 the Norwegian Mission Society (NMS) in cooperation with the Center for Intercultural Communication (SIK) carried out a project called Religious Change and Development Seen in a Gender Perspetive. The project group consisted of people from both NMS and SIK. The project was financed by NMS and the basis for the project was a desire to stimulate internal reflection in the organisation concerning current and central topics in the intersection between gender, religion and development. This reflection takes as its point of departure the ideational encounter between the NMS vision and set of values, and the contemporary ideological and political mainstreams in Norway and the cooperating countries. The other aspect of this project is more in the line of practice and methodology in development and concerns the expertise and professionel knowledge needed in handling everyday challenges related to gender in Norway and the cooperating countries. NMS wishes to systemize and evaluate experiences in this field and to identify and further develop good practices and in this way contribute to the building of the organisation’s competence and knowhow within the areas of religion, development and gender. The project Religious Change and Development Seen in a Gender Perspetive is an expression of NMS’ desire to take a closer look at the traces it has left and still leaves in the societies where it operates, as concerns gender relations, participation by women and men and their roles and positions in the church and the local society. It is acknowledged in NMS, as in other mission organisations and national and international relief organisations in general, that some of these changes will be unintended and unexpected. They may also be evaluated as both positive and negative or to have had no particular importance for the target group. The same applies to groups other than the target groups and for governments in the cooperating countries, whose conditions of existance have changed through the activity of various development agencies. Another variable that must be taken into consideration is the relation between short term and long term effects of development co-operation programs. The short term effects may be experienced as postive, while the long term consequences may be unfortunate in relationship to equality of gender and/or development. The project group has tried to concider all levels of understanding, from micro to makro levels, and drawn on a wide range of encounters and relations between institutions in the North and the South in its emperical evalutaion. In this report, however, the project group have tried to concentrate on two main areas which are considered of special benefit for NMS in their future work with these issues– both within the organisation and in relation to the cooperation churches. These are the issues of a systematisation and analysis of the experiences of gender relations and gendered practice during generations of co-operation, the other is the issue of development of a gender mainstreaming methodology for the Norwegian Missionary Society.