Does compassion bring results? a critical perspective on faith and development

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This article explores the relationship between the Christian concept of compassion and the work of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Developing World. The article focuses on the work of a UK donor, NGO whose members express a Christian faith. The membership of this NGO is highly motivated and they have maintained a long-term commitment to the communities they help in rural Rajasthan. However, the success of this NGO is constrained by their construction of a poor underdeveloped Other who is the focus of their prayers and towards whom all interventions are directed. This image of the suffering Rajasthani villager is fictitious and blocks the emergence of a complex picture of life in this region. This article stresses that whilst faith has much to offer development practice it can also render people blind to the experiences and needs of others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-351
Number of pages15
JournalCulture and Religion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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