A desk review As part of our ongoing partnership together, Islamic Relief Worldwide and Lutheran World Federation began to work in 2016 on the development of guidelines for faith sensitive psychosocial programming. From the onset, we were clear that the guidelines should be inclusive to all humanitarian actors, assisting both secular and faith-based organisations in the course of their work in the field. We used the term ‘faith-sensitive’ to bring the focus of the guidelines on the faith of the people affected by conflict, disaster and displacement, rather than on the faith allegiance (or non-faith allegiance) of humanitarian organisations and agencies. Other agencies are advising the project, including UNHCR, World Vision, the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support and the Church of Sweden.

This desk review looks at the current framing of religious engagement in psychosocial support, taking account of the opportunities and risks associated with this area. It draws on a wide range of literature about psychosocial wellbeing in adversity and proposes using the well-established IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings (2007) as a basis for drafting additional guidance on faith-sensitive psychosocial programming. The desk review will be used – together with findings from field programmes in Jordan, Kenya and Nepal with LWF and IRW staff and partners – to draft a preliminary version of guidelines for faith-sensitive psychosocial programming. We then plan – through a process of inter-agency consultation and partnership – to refine and pilot these guidelines with the goal of supporting the implementation of more faith-sensitive psychosocial programming globally


Wendy Ager (2016) Developing guidelines for faith-sensitive psychosocial programming, Islamic Relief Worldeide & Lutheran World Federation, Birmingham, UK.


Wendy Ager


Research Report


Islamic Relief Worldwide






Community well-being, Faith Perspectives, Humanitarian, Islamic Relief, Lutheran World Federation, Mental Health, Psychosocial Care, Religion and Development