Religiosity and existentialist approach to poverty in North-West Cameroon

Fonchingong Che, C. (2013) Religiosity and existentialist approach to poverty in North-West Cameroon. International Journal of Religion and Society, 4 (3). pp. 165-179. ISSN 1935-2409.

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Approach of tapping into religion rekindles debate on nexus of religion and poverty. Plucking from social capital theory, this paper argues that ordered church membership is providing solace for a vast majority of older people; barely surviving due to volatile family support. Religious organisations are not only a means of escape from poverty but provide an existentialist function to life - ward off isolation, marginalisation, building strong sense of social and community justice. Using empirical data, this paper engages with faith approaches that act as buffer intermingled with local realities. Mainstream churches set aside designated days in church calendar for collection of alms to cater for widows, widowers, orphans, whilst with Muslim faithful, they pool donations (cash, food, other provisions) as a means of looking after disadvantaged Muslims. Though offerings remain insignificant, funds sourced engender a spirit of compassion and psychological support for deprived followers. Islam projects basic principles as spelled out in the Koran through internal mechanisms of voluntary endowment (zakat/sadaqa) to cater for its vulnerable populations. With little in way of resources, denominations are devising safeguards to cushion pain during troubling times whilst sharing good times in fellowship. Schemes include funeral arrangements, bereavement visits and support with hospitalisation costs; social events like births, marriages and entrepreneurial activities based on token contributions from members. Focusing on Christian Women‘s Fellowship(CWF), this study underscores the centrality of faith based groups as safety nets. It concludes that Christianity and Islam go beyond ethos and vortex of spirituality, as entrenched groups wrestle to provide for many trapped in poverty. With sporadic funding
from charitable organizations and churches overseas, provided directly or indirectly, religious organizations are battling with an existentialist agenda.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc. > BP01 Islam > BP0174 The practice of Islam
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV4485 Practical religion. The Christian life
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing > School of Public Health, Midwifery and Social Work
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Charles Fonchingong Che
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 10:06
Last Modified: 18 May 2017 16:02

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00