Between Humanitarianism and Evangelism in Faith-based Organisations: A Case from the African Migration Route, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Between Humanitarianism and Evangelism in Faith-based Organisations

A Case from the African Migration Route, 1st Edition

By May Ngo


12 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138674172
pub: 2018-04-10
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315561479
pub: 2018-04-27
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Religion has always played an important, if often contested, role in the public domain. This book focuses on how faith-based organisations (FBOs) interact with the public sphere, showing how faith-based actors are themselves shaped by wider processes and global forces such as globalisation, migration, foreign policy and neoliberal markets.

Focusing on a case study of an FBO in Morocco which gives aid to sub-Saharan African irregular migrants, the book reveals some of the challenges the organisation faces as it tries to negotiate at once local, national and international contexts through their particular Christian values. This book contends that the contradictions, tensions and ambiguities that arise are primarily a result of the organisation having to negotiate a normative global secular liberalism which requires a strict demarcation between religion and politics, and religion and the secular. Faith-based actors, particularly within humanitarianism, have to constantly navigate this divide and in examining the question of how religious values translate into humanitarian and development practices, categories such as religion, the secular and politics and the boundaries between them will need to be interrogated.

This book explores the diversity and complexity of the work of FBOs and will be of great interest to students and researchers working at the intersections of humanitarianism and development studies, politics and religion.


"This rich ethnography of a Christian faith-based organisation working with irregular migrants in Morocco provides new insights into the ways in which such organisations both move through and simultaneously shape transnational, religious, and humanitarian spaces. May Ngo’s work insightfully highlights the importance of local faith communities in contemporary humanitarian and development contexts, while also contributing to broader conversations on contemporary reconfigurations of both ‘religion’ and ‘humanitarianism’ through their contextualised interactions."R. Michael Feener, Sultan of Oman Fellow, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, UK

"This is a wonderfully detailed and nuanced book which, in the best tradition of ethnography, casts new light on the world of faith-based organisations. Focusing on a specific Protestant organisation and the work it carries out among irregular migrants in Morocco, May Ngo examines the ways in which precariousness and aporia are inscribed into the lives of humanitarians and migrants alike. This is a deeply compassionate and insightful account into some of the biggest ethical challenges facing the world today." -- Philip Fountain, Senior Lecturer, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Table of Contents


List of Acronyms

  1. Chapter 1 Introduction 

  1. Chapter 2 Reflections on an ethnography: faith and migration

  2. Chapter 3Transnational faith communities: improvisation and invention 

  3. Chapter 4 External relations: "If God is for us, who can attack us?" 

  4. Chapter 5 Organisational mission and identity: "They are one"

  5. Chapter 6 Internal dynamics: staff precariousness and staff misconduct

  6. Chapter 7 Conclusion 


About the Author

May Ngo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Religion and Development

The Routledge Research in Religion and Development series focuses on the diverse ways in which religious values, teachings and practices interact with international development.

While religious traditions and faith-based movements have long served as forces for social innovation, it has only been within the last ten years that researchers have begun to seriously explore the religious dimensions of international development. However, recognising and analysing the role of religion in the development domain is vital for a nuanced understanding of this field. This interdisciplinary series examines the intersection between these two areas, focusing on a range of contexts and religious traditions.

We welcome book proposals on diverse themes such as faith-based development organisations; religious players in health programming; proselytization and development; religion and the environment; gender, religion and development; religion and post-colonialism; and indigenous communities and development.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).

Series Editors:

Matthew Clarke, Deakin University, Australia

Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds, UK

Nathan Loewen, University of Alabama, USA

Editorial board:

Carole Rakodi, University of Birmingham, UK

Gurharpal Singh, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Jörg Haustein, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Christopher Duncanson-Hales, Laurentian University, Canada

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)
RELIGION / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries