Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 102: Poverty, Religion and Gender: Perspectives from Albania
Claire Brickell Introduction This chapter examines the ways in which poverty, religion and gender intersect at the local level in Albania. More specifically, it begins by introducing some debate around the rise of religion within development discourse, and highlights the emerging role of faithbased development organisations (FBDOs) as service providers. This is followed by an overview of poverty trends and levels in Albania, with a brief focus on gender. Finally, these three themes are drawn together in field research with women from different age groups in Bathore, a peri-urban settlement in the Kamza municipality, who are engaged in a ‘women’s empowerment’ project run by an Evangelical Christian FBDO.1 The chapter suggests that despite the potential dangers of engaging with religious discourse, failing to do so will only contribute to a lacuna in understanding that will ultimately be damaging to poverty alleviation goals. Religion and the development pantheon From missionary organisations that have been heralded as ‘the forerunners of modernday development NGOs’ (Clarke, 2005: 18), to contemporary groups of believers committed to the provision of social services supporting the local poor, religion has always contributed to alleviating poverty. Yet, it is only in recent years that it has been identified as an important area for consideration by development professionals and scholars alike. Moreover, following the events of 11 September 2001 and an intensified focus on terrorist activity, this has often been motivated by a ‘know your enemy’ mantra. Despite this however, a stream of research is now emerging that seeks to...
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