By Ann Marie Foley - 12 June, 2013
Misean Cara, which works with Ireland’s missionaries, managed €16 million from Irish Aid during 2012. The group’s annual report 2012 reveals that it received 467 applications and distributed €14.5 million to its members in 48 countries. There are around 90 members ranging from Augustinian Fathers to Medical Missionaries of Mary to Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM).
“Misean Cara is an intermediary company with its principal responsibility being the distribution of public funds provided by Irish Aid for the development work of our member organisations amongst the poor and the marginalized in developing countries,” stated Matt Moran, Chairperson Misean Cara. “In the current economic climate there is renewed emphasis on demonstrable results and value for money, particularly by the state as a donor.”
One way of ensuring this is to help people to help themselves, so Misean Cara has been, and will be, more and more involved in ‘capacity building’ and offering support member organisations in this. Needs- based training is presently being piloted in Africa. Overall some 146 participants from 18 countries took part in capacity building training courses in Ireland, Nigeria and Peru to enable them to better implement projects and apply for funding.
Another key initiative during 2012 was to highlight the distinctive nature of missionary development and it was defined as stemming from five core values: respect, justice, commitment, compassion and integrity.
“The clear definition of the missionary approach to development greatly assists Misean Cara in our efforts to ensure that all we do is founded on the values-based approach of our membership,” stated Mike Greally CEO Misean Cara.
The projects funded and completed were in two main areas of work – education and health, including HIV and AIDS. For the former funding supported 35 primary schools, 31 secondary schools and 28 institutions involved with vocational training. A further 19 projects were assisted with their work on basic life skills. An area of particular support in 2012 was the allocation of funding to secondary schools in Nigeria (6), Zambia (6) and India (5). Secondary schools were also supported in Sierra Leone (3), South Sudan (1), and Pakistan (1). In health funding assisted approximately 40 projects providing a range of primary health care services and approximately 15 projects delivering HIV and AIDs programmes.
An examples of the many supported is the Kwkakulu Orphan Care Project in Kenya. In another are project officer Thomas Carrolland Jim Kinsella have written a paper entitled “Livelihood improvement and smallholder beekeeping in Kenya: the unrealised potential.” This article details a study with over 300 small-scale farmers in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province and how their typical ten-hive enterprise generated earnings equivalent to 0.86ha of maize (staple crop of farmers in the area). The article emphasizes the need to build human capital for beekeeping rather than just promoting modern beehives.
Edmund Rice Development received the most Misean Cara funding according to the annual report with Missionary Sisters of Holy Rosary next – both of which received over €800,000. The Volunteer Missionary Movement, Jesuit Missions and Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa each received more than €700,000. Salesian Sisters, and Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary were funded more than €600,000 each. While the Redemptorists, Spiritans and De La Salle Brothers all received over €500,000.
A regional analysis reveals that over 78% of Misean Cara funding goes to sub-Saharan Africa, with approximately 12% going to Asia and just under 9% to Central and Southern America. During 2012 Misean Cara provided funding support to projects in 48 countries, reflecting the spread of missionaries across the world. There was, nevertheless, a relatively high concentration of funding in particular countries. Nearly 70% of funding went to ten countries; Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, and Peru.