Justice & Peacebuilding Learning Agenda

Funded by: Catholic Relief ServicesDate Range: 2018 - 2021Project Lead: Pulte InstituteContact: Tom Purekal

In 2014, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) adopted the “Hope to Harvest” strategy, which dedicated nearly $98 million towards its Justice and Peacebuilding portfolio. This broad range of programs included components focusing on gender, inter-religious peacebuilding, social cohesion, resource-based governance, good governance, and positive youth development. 

CRS engaged the Pulte Institute to design and coordinate an extensive review to determine the effectiveness of these programs; specifically the improvement of equity for poor and marginalized people and the social cohesion among program beneficiaries. The Pulte Institute collaborated with a team of interdisciplinary Notre Dame researchers to provide infield primary data collection for the project. 

From 2018 to 2019, the first phase of the review, the research team reviewed several CRS Justice and Peacebuilding programs, spanning eight countries and four thematic areas: 

  • Youth Election Program (Ghana): Jaimie Bleck, Ford Family Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Gender Programs (Kenya, Egypt): Professor Susan St. Ville, Director of International Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute
  • Inter-religious Peacebuilding Programs (Philippines): Atalia Omer, Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies

Results from this first phase of the review have shown that, through CRS interventions, youth and women have improved their voice within their respective contexts, specifically in the context of election violence and household power dynamics. Researchers provided several recommendations, however, on how CRS could work with religious leaders and organizations to influence change in structures that currently promote inequality and inhibit authentic conversations that enhance inter-religious dialogue.


‹ All Pulte Institute Projects