Dr. Kathryn Kraft
Kathryn Kraft is lecturer in International Development, specialising in faith and humanitarianism, NGO management and storytelling in social transformation.
EB 2.22, Docklands Campus
University of East London
School of Law and Social Sciences
I have worked in a variety of different roles within International Development and Humanitarian Aid, in various countries across the Middle East and the wider Arab world, as well as Southeast Asia, Haiti and West Africa. In these roles, I have worked to help empower local civil society through institutional strengthening for local NGOs, and have also worked in complex emergency responses to develop systems for monitoring, evaluation and accountability. I also have engaged in peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity work at the grassroots level, and am most interested in the role that local civil society, especially faith-based organisations, can play in community healing and grassroots advocacy for conflict resolution. As a qualitative researcher, I work with local NGOs in the Arab world to improve their monitoring and impact evaluation through storytelling as a data collection technique, and have explored methods by which their use of storytelling can also be a tool for peace and community reconciliation.
My teaching and research focuses on the role of local faith-based members of civil society in humanitarian response and social change. I teach in the areas of NGO management, faith and religious identity, and principles of humanitarianism.
I am also currently serving as Senior Research Advisor for Faith and Development at World Vision International, the world's largest child-focused charity. A Christian NGO, World Vision operates in more than 100 countries. In this role I am coordinating World Vision's strategic aim of building an evidence about the intersection between faith and development, including advising on research about the role of faith actors and faith leaders in social change, spiritual development as a part of child well-being, and the intersection between faith, values and ending violence against children. In this role I have built partnerships with universities in the UK, USA, Canada, Lebanon, Uganda, Iraq and am continually expanding our academic connections.
Much of my research and work with World Vision is in collaboration with the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI-FLC), a network of academics and practitioners committed to building best practices and evidence on the role of faith in development and humanitarian work.
My approach to research is in collaboration with local members of civil society, especially faith-based organisations, to help them better monitor their work and measure success, and develop a platform for civic engagement and advocacy. My research has been primarily in the Middle East, where I have collaborated with such organisations as the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, Capoeira4Refugees, Christian Aid Program for Northern Iraq (CAPNI) and Sat-7 Television.
I am also interested in exploring how faith-based humanitarian organisations define their work in religious or humanitarian terms, how their values intersect with humanitarian principles, and the ways in which faith-based organisations engage in social and personal transformation. By focusing on Christian humanitarian work in the Middle East, I am also exploring the role of faith-based humanitarianism in interfaith dialogue.
Storytelling is a research methodology which particularly interests me. I train local NGOs in the use of the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique, and also write fiction under the pseudonym Kati Woronka. When engaging in collaborative research with humanitarian organisations, I am interested in exploring ways in which they can improve their monitoring and reporting systems, as well as ongoing reflection, through storytelling.
Most of my time is dedicated to building an evidence base for faith in development work in collaboration with World Vision.
Kraft, Kathryn and Smith, Jonathan (2018) ‘Between international donors and local faith communities:
Intermediaries in humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan and
Lebanon’, Disasters, online version.
Kraft, Kathryn. (2018) “A Feminine View of Missions and Belonging in the Middle Eastern Context” in When Women Speak, ed. Moyra Dale, Cathy Hine and Carol Walker. Oxford: Regnum Books.
Kraft, Kathryn (2017) ‘Religious Exploration and Conversion in Forced Displacement: A Case Study of Syrian Muslim Refugees in Lebanon Receiving Assistance from Evangelical Christians’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 32(2), pp. 221-235.
Kraft, Kathryn (2015) ‘Faith and impartiality in humanitarian response: Lessons from Lebanese evangelical churches providing food aid’, International Review of the Red Cross, 97(897), pp. 395-421
Kraft, Kathryn and Prytherch, Hannah (2015) ‘Most Significant Change in conflict settings: staff development through monitoring and evaluation’, Development in Practice, 26(1), pp. 27-37.
Kraft, Kathryn. “Why do I have to explain the doctrine of the resurrection to my friends?” in Jesus and the Incarnation, ed. David Singh. Oxford: Regnum Books.
Kraft, Kathryn. "Relations, Emotion, Doctrine and all that Follows." in David Greenlee, ed. 2013. Longing for Community. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
Kraft, Kathryn. 2013. “‘Coming Out’ as a Faith Changer: Experiences of Faith Declaration for Arabs of a Muslim Background who Choose to Follow a Christian Faith.” in Transformation, 30:2.
Catholic Relief Services: “Training Curriculum for Institutional Strengthening and Integrated Peacebuilding”. Released in Sudan 2012, U.S. publication forthcoming.
Kraft, Kathryn. 2012. Searching for Heaven in the Real World. Oxford: Regnum Books.
Kraft, Kathryn, Mohamed Adam , Yousef Abaker, Giballa Ahmed, Kamaledin Ali, Shaza Baballa, Ahmed Shosha. "Civil Society and Peacebuilding Capacity Assessment for Darfur". CRS, World Vision, CAFA, UNDP: October 2011.
Kraft, Kathryn. "Faith is Lived out in Community." 2010: St. Francis Magazine.
Kraft, Kathryn et al. "Evaluation Report: CRS West Sumatera Transitional Shelter Program." 2010: CRS.
Kraft, Kathryn. “Two Changing Spheres – Iraqis and NGOs in Syria” 2008: Middle East Fellowship.
Kraft, Kathryn A. and Atallah, Abu. “The Lives of Arab Muslims Who Choose the Christian Faith.” Mishkan, 2008.
Kraft, Kathryn A. “American Christian Martyrdom in the Middle East.” in Connections 4, edited by Nasar Meer, Simon Weaver, Jackie Friel and Kate Lister. 2005: University of Bristol, Bristol.
In addition: have guest posted to CRS Voices Blog. See: “Women Work for A Better Sudan”, October 18, 2010; “Southern Hospitality, Egyptian Style”, July 21, 2011. I also write fiction and blog under a pseudonym.
"Uses of Storytelling for NGO monitoring and impact in conflict and post-conflict settings." UEL Early Career Researcher Accelerator Fund, 2014/2015.
"Establishment of Research, Knowledge Management and Advocacy Department for Served." SouthEast Asian Prayer Center (SEAPC), 2015/2016.
Contemporary Middle Eastern Society, particularly Identity and Religion in the Middle East
Role of local Civil Society, especially in emergency response and peacebuilding
Board of Trustees for Embrace the Middle East
Faith, Humanitarianism and Development
Islam and Society