Education is critical to the creation of a more just and equal global society. Supporting greater access to quality education assists people to gain the skills they need to help themselves out of poverty.
What is the background to Misean Cara’s Support for Education Projects?
Transforming the lives of the marginalised and most vulnerable people in the developing world is the long-term vision of Misean Cara and its members. With regard to education, Misean Cara adopts Irish Aid’s working definition of basic education:
‘Every person – child, youth and adult – shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs. These needs comprise both essential learning tools (such as literacy, oral expression, numeracy, and problem solving) and the basic learning content (such as knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes) required by human beings to be able to survive, to develop their full capacities, to live and work in dignity, to participate fully in development, to improve the quality of their lives, to make informed decisions, and to continue learning’.
Funding from Misean Cara enables our members to provide formal and informal education for people throughout the global south. In countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, this work is making an essential contribution towards the achievement of internationally agreed targets of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Misean Cara Strategic Plan 2013-2016 provides the policy framework for support to all development initiatives, and contains a specific objective on education. Over the years, Misean Cara has allocated between 45-50% of its funding to the education sector, and this commitment is reaffirmed in the objectives of its Strategic Plan. It commits Misean Cara to:
Support high quality formal and informal education initiatives:
- Target support where the wide range of missionary development work in education (including primary and secondary education, vocational training, literacy programmes, and adult education) is delivering vital support that complements state-led responses to the provision of access to education.
- Increase support to education initiatives aimed at ensuring that the quality of education being provided is enhanced.
- Prioritise efforts and initiatives aimed at tackling the root and structural causes of poverty, vulnerability, marginalisation and injustice in the field of education.
What target groups will Misean Cara support in education?
In its Strategic Plan (2013-2016), Misean Cara commits its members to supporting the marginalised and most vulnerable; furthermore it prioritises primary and secondary education, vocational training, literacy programmes, and adult education. Misean Cara welcomes applications for funding from these
Within the education sector Misean Cara defines marginalised and the most vulnerable as those who have difficulty accessing basic education including rural children, urban children living in slums, girls (where there are gender disparities), dropout children, ethnic minority groups, children living and working on the streets, orphans, those living with a disability, children and youth affected by conflict, and migrant and refugee children.
Misean Cara gives priority to inclusive education and wishes to support initiatives that are focused on increasing access, equity and learning that ‘addresses the barriers that exclude children, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalised’ (Irish Aid Education Policy, 2008). Such inclusiveness extends to special needs and children/youth with disabilities. Misean Cara acknowledges the challenges in operating an inclusive approach and particularly welcomes applications that seek to address such challenges.
What are the Principles of good Education Projects?
In keeping with its Strategic Imperatives, Misean Cara wishes to see applications for funding reflect the following:
- Demonstrating evidence of addressing current barriers to education by vulnerable and marginalised children and adopting an inclusive approach, including those with special needs
- Providing access to quality education and learning
- Planning and implementing interventions in consort with local actors and education authorities
- Having clear results that can be measured
- Promoting increased accountability for schooling through community mobilisation and local participation
- Implementing sustainability plans for the school.