Aid and Development


4 credit points
Semester 2, 2019
Tim Costello, David Williams and Bill Walker

This unit will enable you to engage with issues of poverty and inequality from a Christian perspective. You will explore in depth how inequalities can arise from a variety of sources including conflict, failed governments, climate change, disability, gender and indigenous issues. And you will develop a biblical theological framework for responding to poverty and inequality.

Filmed on location in India, Africa and Australia, this unit was developed in partnership with World Vision Australia. You will be led through an exploration of the complexity of the challenges of poverty and injustice by Tim Costello (World Vision) and David Williams (Church Missionary Society). You will also hear many other voices and perspectives: indigenous Australians, religious leaders, experts and practitioners working to alleviate inequality in a wide range of contexts.

By the end of the unit we expect you will be able to analyse biblical and theological perspectives on aid and development, discuss a range of contemporary aid and development approaches and begin to analyse the issues involved in responding to these. We also expect you will gain a deep biblical understanding of God’s redemptive and transformational purposes for the world.

This unit will be helpful for people aspiring to or already engaged in working to alleviate injustice and poverty. It is available in online mode as an elective for students enrolled in ACT Degree and Diploma programs.


  1. Introduction to the issues, background, context and big questions around aid and development.
  2. Role of worldview, culture and religion in aid and development
  3. Exploring development approaches:
    1. Economic models, wealth transfer (top-down)
    2. Community participation and empowerment (bottom-up)
    3. Politics, governance and institution building
    4. Human rights and duties
  4. Towards a theological framework: transformational change in a fallen world
  5. Exploring development issues and challenges:
    1. Inequalities: gender, children and disability
    2. Conflict, fragile settings and failed states
    3. Impact of climate change
    4. Refugees
    5. Indigenous poverty
  6. Re-visiting our theological framework: bringing transformational change in a fallen world.

Study Expectations

In Ridley Online units you can expect to work through a variety of weekly learning activities which include watching videos, reading, completing set learning and assessment tasks and contributing to online forums and interacting with your peers. Allow 8–10 hours study time per week for this unit.


We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built. Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E. © 2020 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.