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During Séamus' visit to Ghana, he organised a members meeting with 10 people from six member organisations. As well as this members meeting, Séamus also met with some members on a one to one basis. Photo: Séamus O'Gorman.

During Séamus’ visit to Ghana, he organised a members meeting with 10 people from six member organisations. As well as this members meeting, Séamus also met with some members on a one to one basis. Photo: Séamus O’Gorman.

On Thursday November 13th I had a meeting with members from 6 member organisations in Ghana (Holy Child Jesus, Presentation Brothers, Sisters of St Louis, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary). Ten people attended in total.

The meeting began with a prayer, and all the attendees introduced themselves and summarised the areas of work they are involved in.

During the morning we had a lively open question and answer session exploring what attendees knew about Misean Cara. Participants were keen to have a better understanding of how the different funding schemes operated, and how they could go about seeking support from Misean Cara. I presented an overview of the available options particularly highlighting the progress with the introduction of multi-annual funding within both the PSS and MPSS scheme. I also outlined Misean Cara’s latest innovation in providing members the option to consider joint multi-partner multi-annual applications. I also gave an update on Misean Cara’s emergency support in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

As always at such meetings, some members were less familiar with the variety of opportunities available, and their own congregation’s plans in terms of prioritising their projects for submission to Misean Cara. I reminded members that in order to submit applications to Misean Cara they needed to work very closely with their Mission Development Officer and to get their support, guidance and approval for any project they wished to submit. We also discussed the usefulness of the funding policies in education, health, livelihoods and human rights and the resources they contain to help think through the development of a proposal.

We also had a dialogue about the role of the Development Mentor. I outlined that we hoped to confirm the appointment of a Development Mentor for West Africa in the near future. There was a very positive reaction to that news, and a strong welcome for the presence of a person in the field and with a capacity to visit and meet members at their projects.

In the afternoon, we agreed that it would be useful for members to have an opportunity for a short one to one meeting to raise particular concerns or points for clarification.

One of the ideas, which came up at a meeting was it would be useful for members to consider working together in terms of seeking support for training or capacity development. I indicated that Misean Cara would always try to support such efforts.

Overall the meeting was a very good – if short – opportunity to meet with some of our members in Ghana. It was very clear that members are involved in some really challenging and important development work. With the appointment of the new Development Mentor there will be many opportunities to see how we can work more effectively together in 2015. I would like to thank everyone who took the time out to attend the meeting, many of whom travelled long distances. It was very encouraging to get a better appreciation of what is happening and could happen in Ghana.

Special Report from Misean Cara Head of Funding Séamus O’Gorman.