ARHAP Tools Workshop Report



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University of Cape Town


African Religious Health Assets Programme

The African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP) was proposed in April 2002 and initiated in December of that same year, under the joint leadership of three individuals: Dr Gary Gunderson and Prof Deborah McFarland, both of Emory University (Department of International Health), and Prof James Cochrane of the University of Cape Town (Department of Religious Studies). It is the front edge of a global religious health assets initiative. It was predicated upon a conviction that faith-based organizations, groups and movements, though playing a significant role in the delivery and promotion of health, are generally not well understood or sufficiently visible to public health systems in most societies. The underlying assumption, of course, is that we need a much more “intelligent science” about the role and importance of religious health assets (RHAs) than is currently available (or if available, then only in scattered and fragmented form). This assumption stems from the growing awareness in public health bodies of all kinds, from multilateral bodies such as the UN or the WHO and international NGOs to local governments, that faith-based health activities are a very important part of the effective meeting of ideals such as those embodied in the Millennium Development Goals and their equivalents at less global levels.