Strengthening Security and Resilience of At-Risk Religious Sites and Communities (SOAR) is an EU Commission funded project. EFI is the lead partner in the project, working with Finn Church Aid and Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE).
SOAR promotes security of places of worship through the Security by Design (SBD) concept. This entails approaching security from different aspects. Thus, ACE looks at security from an architectural perspective, focusing on the security of a building itself. EFI provide training on protective security for different stakeholder groups, including management of faith-based institution, architects and faith leaders. SOAR is being implemented on ground in locations across the seven SOAR pilot countries:
Find out more about the SOAR Project, our ongoing EU-funded project for protecting places of worship around Europe:
Faith Institution Development and Safeguarding (2010-present)
EFI understands the crucial role that supplementary schools associated with faith-based institutions play in the development and sustainability of faith communities. Following EFI’s extensive work on strengthening the governance and management, it was felt similar work and resources were needed for supplementary schools.
Drawing on its experience in the field and on research, EFI has developed a programme of support for faith supplementary schools. It is aimed at helping management committees to run successful faith schools, in which all requisite regulations are followed, children and staff are protected, and teaching approaches are effective. The ultimate goal is to create an environment conducive to the success of young people in faith communities.
EFI’s training for faith supplementary schools covers relevant topics, notably:
Policies and procedures
Staffing and recruitment
Teaching strategies and pedagogy
Safeguarding of children
EFI’s safeguarding work includes preparation of a pocket information card for staff and administrators to guide them on their safeguarding duties, and a Safety Checklist for Teachers and Staff, an easy to access reference for staff outlining appropriate steps to take when dealing with cases of abuse/suspected abuse in relation to pupils, and allegations against staff.
Places of Worship governance and management training – Building standards (2009 – present)
EFI has been delivering its Faith Institution Management and Governance training for over a decade. The training was first delivered, in response to a request from the local council, to all faith-based institutions in Woking, England. The training is geared to all faith-based institutions – notably churches, synagogues and mosques – and aims at improving their management so they fulfil their potential.
EFI’s Faith Institution Management and Governance training uses a variety of methods: workshops, PowerPoint presentations, videos and tackling actual issues identified by participants. Topics covered in the training include:
Structure and management models for faith-based institutions
Policies and procedures
Management of facilities
Finance and fund-raising
Staffing, personnel and volunteers
Accountability and transparency
Community development and dealing with local and national agencies
Delivering an effective communications strategy – Promoting faith leadership (2014-present)
EFI has been working since 2014 on communications to promote positive religious voices and counter negative perceptions around faith communities and institutions.
EFI’s communication strategy focuses on profiling positive messages issued by faith leaders in the light of national and international crises. This work emerged in response to EFI’s perception of the lack of positive religious voices on traditional media/communications channels and on social media platforms. EFI recognised that faith leaders and members of faith communities – in particular young believers – needed to be trained to use modern communication media and promote positive religious profiles.
Having recognised the need, EFI brought together religious voices, production companies and leading media agencies in order to build capacity for this and communicate positive faith leadership to a wider audience.
A key component of EFI’s communication strategy is use of social media platforms. This is based on the premise that social media is now the leading communication medium in the modern world. EFI guides faith leaders on the importance of social media, and how to be active on social media. The aim is to enable faith leaders to reach a much wider audience than their traditional congregations, and convey an alternative, positive message to counter negative perceptions.
The success of EFI’s communications strategy is clear from the various products it has launched: