During a trip to Zambia in the summer of 2022, I was struck by the confidence and optimism of Juliet Minganja, a young, single mother of four whose pig farm I visited.
After years of hardship, she is now a successful entrepreneur, raising and selling prize-winning pigs and using her profits to pay for her children’s school fees, books and uniforms, with enough income left over to reinvest in farming. She also participates in a local Savings & Loan programme and plans to expand her livestock compound.
This is the promise and hope of missionary development work. After taking part in an Edmund Rice Development livelihoods project, Juliet set up her business in 2019, and has now broken out of the cycle of poverty to become a self-sufficient farming entrepreneur. She has put her family on a stable footing, with a pathway to a secure future.
At Misean Cara, we believe firmly that the Missionary Approach to Development is successful in reaching the poorest, most excluded people and communities and is more relevant than ever in the global fight to eradicate poverty and stay on target to meet the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Throughout this report we’ll share evidence of our development effectiveness in 2022.
Last year, Misean Cara supported Irish missionary organisations by approving grants of €14.1 million to deliver 327 development projects in 53 countries, reaching almost 1.7 million people. Those projects created opportunities to boost climate resilient livelihoods, education, health, and human rights and provide emergency assistance in times of crisis.
As our Board Chair, Kevin Carroll, mentioned in his Foreword, Misean Cara launched a new strategy in 2022 that will guide our organisation through to 2026. At the heart of this strategy are Misean Cara’s core values: Justice, Respect, Commitment, Compassion, Integrity and Trust, which drive all of our efforts and our vision for a world where the excluded can achieve a better quality of life. As a key priority, the new strategy puts an increased focus on projects that are taking action to address the climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on vulnerable people in the developing world. Preparing communities to withstand the harsh realities of changing weather patterns will be long-term work, but the early fruits of these efforts can already be seen, as evidenced by three member projects receiving Misean Cara Climate Action Awards in 2022. We invite you to read about these projects which highlight how adaptable and effective such interventions can be.
The past year afforded Misean Cara opportunities to showcase the exceptional work and impact of missionaries around the world, including a special feature insert in The Irish Catholic newspaper that put a spotlight on several individual members and the stories of their lives as missionaries. In December, we also hosted a seminar on human trafficking, at which keynote speaker Sr Imelda Poole, MBE (IBVM Loreto Sisters) addressed the critical role of protecting dignity and human rights in the struggle against human trafficking.
As an organisation, 2022 was a year of transition for Misean Cara and our staff in Dublin, as we said farewell to several long-term members of our team who, after many years of dedicated service to Misean Cara and our members, have embarked on new career directions. In return, we brought new talent, energy and experience on board to our administration, finance, learning & development, project funding and fundraising teams. We also moved offices, to a new location in the centre of Dublin better suited to the changing needs of our organisation.
Despite the many challenges facing the global development sector, over the past year I believe Misean Cara has continued to deliver on our mission to enable effective missionary development work. For this, sincere thanks go to our members, the Irish missionary organisations, for their steadfast focus on the poor and vulnerable in our world.
None of the past year’s achievements would have been possible without the generous support of our donors. We remain grateful to Irish Aid for their strategic partnership and belief in the importance of missionary development, and for the continuation of their generous funding. In the past year we have also received funding from the GHR Foundation, Americares, and ESB Electric Aid.
I would also like to offer my great thanks to our staff, the Misean Cara Board of Directors and sub-Committees.
We look forward to continuing the work of eradicating poverty, promoting justice and ensuring no-one is left behind.
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