Misean Cara: About Us


Misean Cara was founded in 2004 with the purpose of supporting Irish missionaries in their work to eradicate poverty across the developing world, through projects delivering healthcare, quality education, livelihood training, human rights, and emergency/humanitarian response to those most in need of support. 

We are a membership organisation of 88 Irish missionary organisations working in more than 50 countries across the Global South. We support our members with funding for projects that promote the dignity and wellbeing of those furthest behind.  We also provide non-financial support to our members by creating project collaborations, shared learning, consultation, capacity development and mentorship, while also providing comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and research. Together we believe in reaching the most vulnerable and furthest behind.

What Makes the Missionary Approach to Development Unique? 

In a world of constant crisis, there are thousands of international development organisations working to achieve meaningful and lasting change, addressing an infinite humanitarian need. However, at the root of missionary development work is a unique model for meeting the challenges facing poor and vulnerable communities around the world. The Missionary Approach to Development Interventions (MADI), as we call it, is a powerful and long-standing model with five essential pillars: 

1. Crossing Boundaries: 

A willingness to move across boundaries of politics, culture, language and faith

2. A Long-Term Commitment:

The centuries-old missionary tradition of living and working long-term in the same communities they serve, building relationships of respect, trust and mutual understanding

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 for all people

5. A Holistic Approach

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


When taken in combination, the five MADI pillars describe a way of approaching development work that is unique to missionaries. Other development agencies, including faith-based organisations, may also exhibit one or more of these characteristics, but put in practice all together by missionaries, the five MADI pillars combine to enable highly effective development work targeted to reach the furthest behind first.

Photo: Franciscan Missionaries of Saint Joseph

When Lennis Aweno (seen here, left, with one of her  teachers) joined the Early Years Education (EYE) project of the Kisumu Apostolate Programmes (KUAP) in 2019, her teachers observed that the three-year-old was withdrawn and quiet, and would rarely play or interact with her classmates. She was further limited by her inability to concentrate for even short periods of time, and quickly fell behind her classmates in academic and social development.

Through the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph KUAP education project, which works with vulnerable children and those with disabilities in the informal settlements of Kisumu, Kenya, Lennis was assessed with both speech and hearing impairments.

Her teachers developed an individualised learning plan to help Lennis and by June of 2021, when she was six years old, she had largely overcome her challenges and was even catching up to her peers academically. Her speech and hearing had both improved through therapy, and she had developed into an enthusiastic participant in all school activities. Plans were in place for Lennis to transition into mainstream primary education during 2022.

For further information about our work or to comment on this report, please contact:

Misean Cara
4th Floor, Callaghan House,
13-16 Dame Street, Dublin 2,
D02 HX67, Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 1 405 5028
Facebook: /MiseanCaraIreland
Twitter: @miseancara

©2022 Misean Cara

Design by Allen Creative


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of Irish Aid.


Misean Cara has signed the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages for Non-Governmental Development Organisations.


Misean Cara is a member of the Charities Institute of Ireland.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of GHR Foundation.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Raskob Foundation.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Brigidine Sisters.

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