Norway has launched a program that will look into the role of religion in the country’s development cooperation with poor countries.
Dubbed “Religion and Development,” the program aims to help Norway’s foreign service and other actors engaged in the country’s development programs to better understand the role of religion in the countries and societies they work in, Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim said in a news release.
“There are many reasons why religion is important for development. Religious communities and their leaders play an important role in almost all the countries Norway cooperates with,” he explained.
Norway supports Christian organizations engaged in development work in poor countries but does not fund missionary groups.
“We must treat people of other religions and beliefs with respect. Freedom of religion is an important human right. At the same time it is important to bear in mind that religions and beliefs can pose an obstacle to development,” Solheim noted.
A tendering round will be organized to identify the organization that will lead the project, according to Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.