Social and Economic Development
Efforts to promote social and economic development play an important role at the local and national levels of the Baha'i community. Most of these take the form of small-scale educational, health, economic and environmental projects.
These projects range from simple tutorial schools to college-level courses, and from village agricultural and health education projects to participation in major reforestation programs. The majority of these projects operate at the grassroots level, relying on local resources and coordination.
Baha'i communities have started more than 1,500 such development projects during the last decade. Baha'is operate more than 600 schools and seven radio stations broadcasting educational, health and agricultural programs as well as information about Baha'i community activities.
These undertakings are managed or supervised by democratically elected local and national Baha'i institutions known as Spiritual Assemblies. They represent a global effort to learn about approaches to social and economic development that harmonize the scientific and technological aspects of development with its spiritual and moral aspects.
The Baha'i Office of Social and Economic Development, an agency of the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, monitors the progress of development programs worldwide, provides advice and support, and facilitates collaborative undertakings with like-minded organizations.
In Service to the Common Good
In an effort to document the work and learning of American Baha'is in their efforts to foster the well-being of the communities in which they live, this series of booklets was published in 2004, 2005 and 2006 under the heading “In Service to the Common Good”:
Annual Baha'i Conference on Social and Economic Development
Since 1993, the Rabbani Charitable Trust, a Baha'i-inspired non-profit charity, has sponsored an annual international Baha'i Conference on Social and Economic Development in Orlando, Florida, each December. All are welcome to attend. Visit the website for full details on Registration information, agendas and conference papers from previous years.
“Social and economic development, it is now widely recognized, is a complex process, unresponsive to simple formulae that are based on raising income or the propagation of technological packages. Under intense pressure to find solutions, development thought has focused increasingly on people—their cultures, values, and worldviews.”— Baha'i International Community