Home > News > Misean Cara Welcomes Call For Government To Increase Funding To Missionary Bodies

Misean Cara has welcomed the strong recommendation that the Irish Government should increase its funding to missionary bodies, contained in the final report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence’s Review of the Irish Aid Programme. Misean Cara is an Irish NGO supporting the development work of missionaries around the world to eradicate poverty and alleviate inequality.

The report highlights the long, proud history of engagement Ireland has had in the Global South and the work of many organisations and bodies, including the Irish missionaries, in promoting poverty eradication, justice and prosperity, defending human rights, and working in partnership and solidarity. Last September, Misean Cara brought together seven Irish faith-based development organisations and 77 of its own missionary member organisations to lobby the Government for action on Official Development Assistance (ODA). In a letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, they called on the government to increase the overseas aid budget, and to adopt a multi-annual plan for Ireland to reach the agreed target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on ODA by 2025.

It it’s final recommendations, the Joint Oireachtas Committee fully supports the missionary groups’ call, stating that,

“The Committee unanimously and unequivocally supports calls for a multiannual plan to increase the aid budget on an incremental, phased basis.”

Misean Cara’s CEO Heydi Foster has welcomed both the call for a “road-map” to increase ODA in general, and the specific recommendation of increased funding to missionary bodies. “In September of last year, Misean Cara’s member organisations wrote to An Taoiseach asking for further support for missionary development work from Ireland. Our members made reference to the proud tradition of Irish nuns, priests, brothers and volunteers working in the Global South living in solidarity with vulnerable and marginalised communities. We are delighted with the Committee’s show of support for the incredibly valuable work Irish missionaries do every day to transform the lives of individuals around the world.”

Misean Cara was invited to present to the Committee in October 2017 and reminded members of the Committee of the ongoing important role played by missionaries and their overwhelming commitment, compassion and dedication to improving the lives of poor and vulnerable people throughout the world. In the submission, Misean Cara noted that ‘extraordinary achievements have come about as a result of missionaries living and working in communities over many years, coming to understand the challenges faced by a community by being part of it every day’.

Ms Foster also welcomed the call for the Government to ensure that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly underpin the work of Irish Aid, and in particular, the emphasis on increasing support for quality education for girls and the empowerment of women and girls.

“The findings of the report align with some of the specific target groups identified by Misean Cara’s members and outlined in our Strategy 2017-2021. We believe that it is important Ireland’s development aid programme focus on addressing the needs and rights of particular target groups, including women and children.”

Misean Cara welcomes the Committees finding that the Irish Aid programme, a pillar of Irish foreign policy, achieves important and life-changing results in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Click here to read the full report.

Photo caption: Barbara and her son are part of the Women’s Group in Njenje run by the Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary (Chigwell). They have been taught to use locally produced IMO (Indigenous Microorganism) in their crop production to achieve better outcomes. Photo: Sam Whelan-Curtin, 2017.