Faith Based and Religious Organizations

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) are entities dedicated to specific religious identities, often including a social or moral component. The Bank recognizes their distinct strategic value given their unique attributes, including the fact that more than 80% of the world’s population claims religious affiliation. FBOs are found in every country and offer opportunites for partnership and advocacy on a broad range of key development issues.

In 1998, then World Bank President James Wolfensohn initiated the Bank’s engagement with faith communities. The World Bank has sustained engagement with FBOs over the years and has recently worked to engage FBOs more strategically in an effort to foster greater operational collaboration and partnerships to address complex challenges.

The Bank’s faith engagement efforts are focused around advocacy, relationship building, evidence building, and operations to advance shared priorities around a green, resilient and inclusive recovery with strong focus on human capital, gender, fragility, and climate change. 

The Bank engages regularly through a diverse and broad cross section of faith actors through three major platforms: 

  • Moral Imperative: Initially convened by the Bank in April 2015, the initiative brings together more than 60 diverse faith leaders to support the Bank’s goals.  We facilitate regular meetings with the Steering Committee of this group.
  • United Nations (UN) Task Force on Religion and Development: The World Bank is a member of the UN faith task force Steering Committee and meets regularly with FBOs affiliated with all UN registered religions, to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
  • International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD): The World Bank is a member of PaRD, an organization that brings together more than 100 governmental and intergovernmental entities with diverse CSOs and FBOs to engage within the context of the broader SDGs.

The primary entry point for faith actors seeking to engage with the Bank is the World Bank Group’s Faith Engagement Team (via This team also helps World Bank Group staff to support their FBO engagement strategies and outreach.