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Using Interfaith religious leaders in local communities to influence caregivers to seek immunization services.

Empowering local religious leaders and institutions to be champions and advocates to organize caregivers to seek the immunization services.

Photo of sarah bareis

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Describe what you intend to do and how you'll do it in one sentence (required 250 Characters)

IIPC aims to influence caregivers through religious leaders and institutions with religious teachings as well as local beliefs in both Nigeria and Pakistan to show it is both a religions duty and practical means to give children good health.

Explain the idea (less than 2,000 characters)

The aim of this intervention provides caregivers a firm basis in their religious belief and practical reasoning to seek and fully utilize immunization services in their communities. The intervention creates a community climate supporting the religious and practical motivation for immunizations. Resistance to immunization in Nigeria and Pakistan are based on religious and community local beliefs. According to the Pew Research Center more than 98% of the population of Nigeria and over 96% of the population in Pakistan identify with one religion. Religious leaders and institutions have access to, trust of, and influence on their local community members. By using moral arguments from local and religious leaders and local belief system, we have the opportunity to influence caregivers to seek immunization services as a religious and moral obligation. To create sustainable change in the community and increase the knowledge of caregivers of the importance to vaccinate their children we are proposing to create a training kit for religious leaders and institutions that integrates both medical and religious information The process includes context analysis; development of moral arguments and training kits. Religious leaders are the strongest motivators because they have influence and often authority over their communities. Their influence elicits behavior out of admired acceptance.

Which part(s) of the world does this idea target?

  • Western Africa
  • Western Asia

Geographic Focus (less than 250 Characters)

Our geographical focus would be begin in community level religious leaders and institutions in Nigeria Western Africa and Pakistan South-Eastern Asia and the communities they serve with the ability to reach out further in both continents.

Who are your end users and how well do you know them? (750 characters)

The primary end users are local religious leaders and institutions who will use training and supporting tool kits to influence caregivers to seek and fully utilize immunization services in their communities. For the past 5 years, IIPC has worked with religious leaders in Africa, USA and Asia on different issues including immunization, religious freedom and prevention of violent extremism. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored two advocacy projects for IIPC related to empowering religious leaders to be champions for immunization in Africa. This proposal builds on these projects and links the advocacy work to social mobilization and behavioral change interventions.

How is the idea unique? (750 Characters)

For decades, religion and spirituality were left out of most research and discussion on development especially in Africa and Asia. Only recently, have development agencies begun to pay attention to the role of religion in how to assist many in developing countries. To ignore religion in development studies is to miss out on most effectively engaging a significant portion of the world population that consider religion, faith and spirituality central to their lives. The use of this morally imperative argument recognizes religion and local belief systems as a critical component in people lives and empowers caregivers to utilize immunization services in their communities.

Idea Proposal Stage (Select 1)

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

How many months are required for the project idea? (140 characters)

Twenty-four months to implement stage one of our work and achieve required impact of 50% change from baseline.

Organization Name (less than 140 characters)

International Interfaith Peace Corps

Type of Submitter

  • We are a registered NGO or Non-Profit Organization

Organizational Characteristics

  • International/global organization (implementing in multiple countries)
  • Interfaith/multifaith organization

Organization Location (less than 140 Characters)

We are headquartered in Herndon, VA, in the United States.

What is the current scale of your organization’s work?

  • Global (within 2 or more global regions)

Website URL

Tell us more about your organization/company (1-2 sentences)

International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC) is a nonprofit that facilitates compassionate coexistence by promoting the sanctity and dignity of life through religious diplomacy. We are in a unique position to able to educate and work with religious leaders and institutions to be advocates the local community to help caregivers seek immunization services.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (750 characters)

As accomplished in previous work, IIPC will work with religious communities and individuals in the target geographies to design and carry out the project. We have strong partnerships and working relations with these religious entities: Sultan’s Foundation Peace & Development, Nigeria Union of African Scholars, Pan Africa The Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) - IDRAC - International Dialogue Research & Awareness Center, Islamabad, Pakistan Nigerian Inter-religious Council Partnership for Religion and sustainable development National Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony of Pakistan

How many people are on your team?


Tell us more about you and your team

Imam Mohamed Hag Magid is a co-founder and Director of Religious Diplomacy of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC). He promotes cooperation between faith leaders and among interfaith communities in areas of healthcare, governance, education, and socio-economic development. Imam Magid regularly advises US government agencies on engaging Muslim communities around the world. Imrana Umar is co-founder & President of IIPC. He has over 30 years of private and public sector experience in policy design, implementation and education. He directs the overall administrative and programming activities of IIPC. J. Mark Brinkmoeller, V.P. for Community Development and Engagement, is a development professional, with previous senior leadership roles at USAID, ONE, Bread for the World spanning a 30 year career. Abdelrahim Ali directs research & training training at IIPC. He brings more than 20 years of experience in organizing and empowering communities in Africa, the Middle East and the US.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi sarah bareis nice to have you in the Challenge! I a curious to learn more about your design process in creating these kits, who do you include in the design process? What's worked in the past and what challenges do you anticipate with this project?

Photo of sarah bareis

Hi Ashley Tillman . Than you so much for your questions.

In designing the kits, the IIPC Team engages the stakeholders in the assessment of the problem and designing the solution. The first step was bringing together community and religious leaders (primary beneficiaries), health professionals, field workers and international experts in a discussion forum to create understanding about the reasons (causes) of immunization resistant. After identification of the main reasons, the group discussed and addressed them in that same meeting integrating religious and medical knowledge. Participant elaborate and build consensus via developing a moral imperative argument “Dakar Declaration on Immunization and Religion.” (

Out of the moral argument the elements of the kit are identified and developed with the stakeholder groups. For example, the kit includes the moral argument, a booklet integrating medical and religious information about immunization in Africa and targeted countries, FAQs, messages from eminent religious leaders, Sample Friday services (Khutba), and links to additional resources. The draft materials were reviewed by a panel of religious leaders and media experts from Nigeria and several amendments were done before finalization, printing and distribution.

A challenge we will solve for in this project is extending the process to include the caregivers in the development and ideation of the kits over the course of the project.

Photo of Amanda Patterson, World Relief

Hi sarah bareis - Happy to be having a look at your concept note since we have some similarities in addressing health concerns via faith-based centers. I'm pleased to see several ideas on here that address the importance that faith does have in communities around the globe, and how it can be used to create positive change. I really like the concept of developing training kits as you've explained above that combine faith + health. As well, the moral argument in whichever religion where you are implementing programming is great, liaising with key national religious leaders to develop the argument. This seems very innovative. It sounds like you have had quite a bit of experience in this type of programming. How do you go about selecting communities for implementation? Do government officials join you as you enter a community to promote this new idea? How do you engage children as the moral argument seems to address primarily the caregivers (understanding that the caregivers influence the children)? Great job on this!

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