Welcome to the Misean Cara 2021 Annual Report. 2021 was another successful year for our members, working in solidarity with the poor to help them achieve a better quality of life.
Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing spectre of climate change, in the past year our members were able to implement 361 projects in 51 countries, transforming the lives of almost 1.9 million people through projects in health, education, livelihoods, human rights and humanitarian response. We were pleased to support projects with total funding of €14,426,082.
Here in Ireland, 2021 began in a state of Level 5 lockdown restrictions as we awaited the roll-out of the national vaccine programme. We spent much of the year perfecting our ability to collaborate remotely as a staff team. We continued with our highly effective distance project monitoring system through which we provided accompaniment and oversight to 51 projects in 35 countries. In 2021 we commissioned three external evaluations that used a hybrid approach of remote data collection and site visits by local consultants. Thankfully, we concluded the year with face-to-face work resuming and the likelihood of in-person project visits and collaboration returning in 2022.
This past year we also said goodbye to our Board Chair Justin Kilcullen, thanking him for his years of dedication to the Board and as Chair, and welcoming Kevin Carroll whose breadth of experience in international development will bring new insights for strengthening our Board and organisational capacity.
I marked my second full year with Misean Cara in 2021 and was also honoured to be appointed as a Board member of Dóchas, the membership organisation for Irish NGOs, where I look forward to contributing to the development of our sector but also applying insights and best practice shared by my cohorts there. In November, along with Learning & Development Manager Seamus Collins, I travelled to Rome to meet with Misean Cara stakeholders and discuss funding diversification, human rights collaborations, and to share an overview of our members’ work with the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See.
Along with providing critical project funding and organisational support to our members, Misean Cara was also active in supporting advocacy efforts on behalf of our sector, including participation in joint advocacy initiatives around #VaccineEquity and the #NowMoreThanEver campaign of Dóchas members to call out the increasing necessity of continued growth in the Irish government’s funding contribution to overseas development. We were also pleased to contribute funding support to an international policy report by the Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland entitled ‘Protection with Dignity’, a comprehensive and timely assessment of rising forced displacement with recommendations to address this crisis humanely. Our Innovation Fund, in its third year, focused on helping members implement girls’ education and climate action projects, using approaches successfully employed by other members in the Misean Cara network. This fund, and the guidance that members receive as part of the support, is already highly regarded by members and staff alike as an important tool in enhancing the delivery of high-quality development projects.
The courage and compassion of our members inspire us daily. Late in the year we were delighted to see four Misean Cara missionaries honoured with Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, presented by President Michael D. Higgins in recognition of exemplary service by Irish citizens abroad (two for awards received in 2020 but delayed in delivery due to the pandemic). Congratulations to them all for their achievement in the areas of human rights, policy and advocacy, and education. You can read more about their awards on page 22.
Lastly, I wish to thank Irish Aid, the GHR Foundation, the Raskob Foundation, the Brigidine Sisters, Ornua and all of our other supporters, funders and stakeholders who helped us fulfil our mission in the past year. Your belief in and support of the work of missionaries is what enables us to help realise their inspiring, courageous and hugely effective work.
For further information about our work or to comment on this report, please contact:
4th Floor, Callaghan House,
13-16 Dame Street, Dublin 2,
D02 HX67, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 1 405 5028