« Duty to God » survey report

 Survey on Spiritual Development in Scouting Analysis

Report to the Duty to God Task Force

May 2017 


This report is the result of collaboration between the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the KAICIID Dialogue Centre.

The collaboration between WOSM and KAICIID started on 18 November 2013 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to ”encourage interreligious and intercultural dialogue” and to join efforts in ”improving relations among people of different religions and cultures”.
The KAICIID/WOSM partnership is an opportunity to introduce up to 40 million young people to the concepts, skills and values of Interreligious Dialogue (IRD). The 2 year plan (2015-2017) of joint programming serves as a foundation for this WOSM-KAICIID collaboration. It includes, among others, activities related to the Dialogue for Peace programme and consultations for the Duty to God Task Force.

The Duty to God Task Force was established by the World Scout Committee in early 2015 with a mandate to analyse the current status of the work done in the spiritual dimension in Scouting and to make suggestions to the World Scout Conference in 2017. Under the leadership of Nadia Morrone (to January 2017) the task force members included Ali Maniku, Alain Silberstein and Petr ”Permi” Vaněk. They enjoyed the support of Marcel Ledjou Blaguet, their liaison with the World Scout Committee, as well as that of Göran Hägerdal and Jonathan How. Together, they designed and conducted two surveys to study the current status of spiritual and religious development within Scouting. They also analysed the results of these surveys in collaboration with KAICIID. The KAICIID team engaged in both analysing these survey responses and drafting this report included Patrice Brodeur, Mike Daldossi and Katerina Khareyn. KAICIID’s team would like to express their sincere gratitude and admiration to Jonathan How for his valuable insights into the history of Scouting as well as for his help and on-going support over the months of working on the present report.

The KAICIID team would like to extend their sincere thanks to all those who provided their expertise, hard work, and energy, as well as to the numerous National Scout Organizations, National Scout Associations and religious bodies who participated in the survey and provided their responses, thoughts, suggestions, insights and data on the rich variety of practices that exists on the ground. The World Organization of the Scout Movement and the KAICIID Dialogue Centre are grateful to all those collaborators and staff members who provided invaluable input throughout all the stages of this study. 



Scouting intends to give each Scout member an education for life by training them in the five areas of physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development. Duty to God together with Duty to Others and Duty to Self is one of the three main principles of Scouting according to the constitution of the movement. These principles, however, have been interpreted in many different ways, as might be expected in the wide range of cultures in which Scouting has become established. At times it has caused misunderstanding within Scouting, almost from its inception. It has even led to tensions within some branches of the movement.

The Duty to God Task Force was set up in 2015 in order to get a better overview and understanding of the current situation worldwide regarding perceptions and activities related to the Duty to God principle in Scouting. The present report aims to be a first step in filling the gap in this area. It identifies some underlying issues but also brings together in a more comprehensive manner than before the numerous good initiatives that have emerged and been carried out over the years in different NSOs/NSAs. They clearly indicate the commitment to improving the quality and effectiveness of spiritual development in Scouting’s educational programme.

I hope that this report provides valuable contextual data on the areas of strength and the challenges faced by Scout leaders and trainers in spiritual and religious development. This report reflects the results of two extensive surveys that were developed by the task force members, and carried out in the course of 2016. It was decided by the task force members that mining of the rich data that emerged from these surveys would be carried out by KAICIID, one of WOSM’s partners, in order to ensure a professional academic standard of analysis. KAICIID is, in its structure and mission, both an intergovernmental and multireligious organization dedicated to improving understanding across religious and cultural diversity. The Centre’s mandate is to work with partners globally to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, in order to reduce conflict and foster reconciliation and peace. It unequivocally rejects all forms of violence, especially acts that are committed in the name of religion. Through fostering interreligious and intercultural dialogue, it hopes to contribute to how better human interactions strengthen the foundations of citizenship. KAICIID desires to enhance the spirit of moderation, and to establish purposeful and sincere dialogue founded upon the principles of coexistence, mutual understanding and cooperation. It shares much with the aims of Scouting, and developed a Memorandum of Understanding with WOSM in its first year of operation in 2013.

On behalf of KAICIID, I want to express my admiration for the commitment of WOSM to promote the practice of dialogue across Scouting. I believe that the setting up of the Duty to God Task Force is allowing the leadership of this leading international movement in the field of non-formal education to practice dialogue in an area of human life that has seen increased tensions worldwide over the last few decades. In particular, I extend my gratitude to the members of the Duty to God Task Force for their trust and support during the compilation of this report.

Prof. Patrice Brodeur, Senior Adviser (Knowledge), KAICIID Dialogue Centre