About Misean Cara

Misean Cara supports missionaries working worldwide to empower those left furthest behind.

Our 77 members draw on Ireland’s centuries-old missionary heritage of working with the poorest and most marginalised. Focusing on education, health, sustainable livelihoods and human rights, they now work in over 50 countries. In each, long-term relationships of deep trust are developed with those they serve.

Since 2004, Misean Cara has supported this work through funding, mentorship and accompaniment. Today, 77 separate groups are members of Misean Cara. Representing different missionary traditions and increasingly international in their make-up, they are united in their commitment to eradicate poverty, alleviate marginalisation, help communities overcome crisis, and promote the dignity and well-being of poor and marginalised people around the world.

The Missionary Approach to Development

Misean Cara’s purpose is to enable missionaries to facilitate effective development work. Many organisations work to achieve meaningful and lasting change; however missionaries are uniquely effective thanks to the Missionary Approach to Development Interventions (MADI):

What makes missionary development unique?

Missionaries become rooted in the places they serve. Relationships of trust develop with local communities. These grow from the long-term commitment to them that missionaries demonstrate. Trust then becomes the cornerstone for effective long-term development.

Missionaries’ sense of commitment also arms them with a willingness to serve in places others understandably avoid. Conflict zones, and other unsafe areas, are the very locations in which missionaries remain working despite the dangers.

Missionaries work to see poverty reduced, people’s dignity recognised, education - particularly girls’ education - provided and basic human rights promoted. Their effectiveness in achieving this explains why Misean Cara believes so strongly in the missionary approach to development.

Learn more about the Missionary Approach to Development

We welcome you to learn more about the Missionary Approach to Development by downloading the following learning documents about MADI:

The five MADI pillars

1. Crossing Boundaries:

A willingness to move across political, linguistic, cultural or faith boundaries.

2. A Long-Term Commitment:

to communities served.

3. A Personal Witness:

A deeply personal faith-based approach expressed through work, a simple lifestyle and solidarity with the poor.

4. A Prophetic Vision:

A vision of a better, more equitable world.

5. A Holistic Approach:

One that treats people as dignified human beings not as anonymous recipients of aid.

The Loreto Secondary School for Girls in Rumbek, Sudan exemplifies the Missionary Approach to Development.

Despite ongoing conflict, violence and poverty in the world’s youngest country, the school has closed only once since its founding in 2008. Only the lockdown of COVID-19 interrupted the school’s efforts to provide education and a vision for a better future in a country where girls face extreme adversity in accessing education.

The school works with families to ensure that girls remain in education, despite traditions that push them into early marriage and child-rearing. 97% of the school’s graduates go on to third level education or enter employment.


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