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Obscuring and Revealing: Muslim Engagement with Volunteering and the Aid Sector in Tanzania

  • Felicitas Becker

Abstract:

This article examines Muslim involvement, or lack of it, in AIDS services provision in Tanzania. It argues that Muslims find it harder than Christians to work with Western donors whose conceptions of civil society and volunteering do not accurately reflect the institutional practices of Muslims. Many Muslims also mistrust the role played by the state in brokering cooperation. Nevertheless, Muslims seek to engage with the volunteering discourse and have established some organizations that are visible to aid institutions. The complexity of this process reveals the political tensions and unstated agendas on the part of donors that are usually obscured by the notion of “volunteering.”

Cet article examine l’engagement des musulmans, ou l’absence d’engagement, dans les prestations de service pour la lutte contre le Sida en Tanzanie. Il fait valoir que les musulmans trouvent plus difficile que les chrétiens de travailler avec des donateurs occidentaux, dont les conceptions de la société civile et le bénévolat ne reflètent pas fidèlement les pratiques institutionnelles des musulmans. Beaucoup de musulmans se méfient également du rôle joué par l'État dans l’organisation de la coopération. Néanmoins, les musulmans cherchent à s'engager dans le discours du bénévolat et ont mis en place certaines organisations qui sont visibles pour les institutions d’aide humanitaire. La complexité de ce processus révèle les tensions politiques et les intentions des donateurs privés qui sont habituellement masquées par la notion de “volontariat.”

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Obscuring and Revealing: Muslim Engagement with Volunteering and the Aid Sector in Tanzania

  • Felicitas Becker

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