Does Development Cooperation Need the Church?

18 Dec 2014
Church response to drought in Namibia. Photo: LWF/M. Hyden

Church response to drought in Namibia. Photo: LWF/M. Hyden

Stéphane Gallay

By Cornelia Kaestner

‘We Do Both Preaching and Development Activities’

Does development cooperation need the church?

Namibia is the most Christian country on the African continent. You can’t do anything without coming into contact with the Christian community. The church has therefore always been involved in development cooperation. But we as a church think that the State has a social responsibility too and we should transfer a part to it. Most schools and hospitals have already been handed over to the state.

Aren’t people concerned about losing control of that?

No; after all the government was elected by the people. So it has to follow the vision of the people. It does not mean that if it takes on this work that it does it one hundred percent. We are by no means blind to what the government does.

What bothers you in international development cooperation?

The challenge in Africa is the lack of funds, so we depend on the North. And that is so selective. They support us in the programs they want, not those that we want. So we sometimes get involved in projects that do not necessarily come from the heart or are organized by us. The North would not like to be told what to do by the South. For example, they don’t want to support us in any activities involving preaching. Yet we reach people that way. We do both at the same time: preaching and development activities.

Bishop Dr Shekutaamba V. V. Nambala, heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia.

Stéphane Gallay
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.