• Ignatius Swart Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa



Established within the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch in 2001, the Unit for Religion and Development Research (URDR)3 has embarked on a major initiative to research the social development needs of local communities and empower the faith-based organisations (FBOs) – churches and faith-based NGOs – in those communities towards self-reliant sustainable social development activity and outcomes (URDR web page). In particular, the work of the Unit proceeds from the understanding that resolving the majority of problems related to poverty in South Africa lies in carrying out two steps. The first is that one needs to gather data on the problem, and the problem must have a human face. The second step is networking, empowering and motivating all relevant parties in a society to address the problem. This problem can be solved only with strong input from grassroots level, where local communities are part and parcel of a participatory action process (Hendriks, Erasmus & Mans, 2004:381).


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CENSUS 2001. Unpublished data on religion obtained from Stats SA. URDR.

CENSUS 1996. Unpublished data on religion obtained from Stats SA. URDR.

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The reference is here likewise to the research project mentioned in the previous footnote.

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SWART, I. 2004. Networks and partnerships for social justice? Critical reflection on the pragmatic turn in the religious social development debate in South Africa. Paper presented at the 31st International Conference of the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 16-20 August 2004

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WORLD VALUES SURVEY 2000. Unpublished data obtained from Markinor. URDR.




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