This brief provides program designers, implementers and evaluators in the Religious and Ethnic Freedom space with practical insights and examples of locally developed indicators using the Grounded Accountability Model (GAM). It outlines the various ways representatives of local organizations and religious minorities perceive religious and ethnic freedom. The subsequent sections provide an action- oriented discussion of the indicators which emerged.
The USAID approach to promoting sustainable development prioritizes local ownership, participation, and capacity strengthening. By applying this approach to the Asia Religious and Ethnic Freedom (REF) program, the significance of engaging and collaborating with local stakeholders, including religious leaders and communities, in the development of indicators for Freedom of Religion or Belief (FORB) projects is emphasized. The process of localizing indicators aims to honor and recognize local cultural specificities, preferences, and practices; and understand the local context and the complexities of religious practices, beliefs, and dynamics in the region. It also can strengthen the capacity of local actors and institutions to take the lead in promoting FORB, ensure the relevance and effectiveness of projects, and promote sustainability.
In order to determine how local actors and final beneficiaries define “religious freedom”, the Grounded Accountability Model (GAM) was applied. GAM is a participatory research approach that engages community members to define everyday indicators of key concepts, which inform interventions and can be incorporated into monitoring and evaluation, project activities, and overall design. The data was collected by conducting two focus group discussions with civil society representatives (CSOs) who are working in the field of promoting freedom of religion and representatives of religious minorities groups in Kyrgyzstan. The GAM process generates a list of co-created and localized indicators, and participants voted for the top indicators that resonate most with them.
This resource was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of Search for Common Ground and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.