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Questions to Help Understand Religion and Development in Vanuatu

Matthew Clarke


Across the Pacific, Christianity features prominently in both the modern history as well as the contemporary social-political experiences of these countries. In Vanuatu, self-professed Christian religious belief approaches one hundred per cent of the population. It is clear that religion in Vanuatu has important effects on development processes, social services, institutions, and social networks. Yet, despite this self-evident close integration, much more research is required to better understand the entanglements of Christianity and development. Drawing on previous research in Vanuatu, this article identifies seven key questions that require further research. These questions cover issues associated with gender, participation, leadership, theology, partnerships, and dynamics of religious change. It is proposed that these seven questions also have relevancy across the Pacific region. Holding greater knowledge of the intersection between religion and development will lead to more authentic engagement with religion and religious organisations and potentially better development outcomes for local communities.


Christianity, development, Vanuatu, Pacific Islands

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