From the cover of our 2020 Annual Report:
In Johannesburg, South Africa, the Three2Six Refugee Children’s Education Project (a Marist project) provides afternoon bridging education for refugee and migrant children to prepare them to enter public schools. During the COVID-19 lockdown, children received lessons and homework through weekly broadcasts on a Catholic radio station and on WhatsApp. To catch students up on missed learning after they returned, older students such as Ayanda, aged 10, attended outdoor educational and activity camps. Photo: Lizette Cressey
Hello, and welcome to our final issue of MissionAid for 2021.
As the year draws to a close and we prepare to pause for the Christmas holiday, I'd like to take the opportunity to share with you highlights of what has been a year of many accomplishments and much hard work on the part of everyone involved with Misean Cara.
Despite the many challenges our missionary members have faced in 2021, from the ongoing pandemic to the impacts of climate change to political upheaval and conflict, they have continued to uphold the rights and access of millions of marginalised people to quality education, health, sustainable livelihoods, human rights and emergency & humanitarian support. We share with you here just a very small sample of the many projects in 2021 that exemplify the missionary spirit and commitment to supporting real change in the lives of the world's most vulnerable and deserving citizens.
Missionaries are an amazingly resourceful and resilient group of individuals. They carry their passion forward and remain committed to the communities they live and work in despite the significant challenges they incur. I'm sure you'll agree with me that they are an incredibly vital resource within the developing world and a source of inspiration to us all.
In this issue of MissionAid I am also delighted to share with you our most recent Annual Report, highlighting the impact our members had in 2020, along with many amazing stories of lives uplifted. You'll also read about missionaries recently honoured with distinguished awards for their sizeable accomplishments and decades of commitment abroad.
Finally, I'd like to give a sincere thanks to you, our supporters and donors, for your continued generosity over the past year. Your donations help make the life-transforming work of our members possible. If you would like to make a year-end gift to support missionaries, please click our 'donate' button below.
I look forward to staying in touch with you during 2022. In the meantime, I send you my best wishes for a joyful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
John Moffett CEO
P.S. For updates throughout the year, please follow @MiseanCara on Twitter, and like /MiseanCaraIreland on Facebook to keep up with news about Misean Cara's network around the globe.
Children of the Kapanga Territory in southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), whose community benefitted from a a rural electrification programme launched by the Society of the Divine Saviour with support from the EU and the Province Government. The project successfully introduced hydroelectricity to an area with a population of 3,200 people. With additional funding from Misean Cara, the team was able to train local electricians and plant operators to maintain the network, conduct awareness-rising activities within the local communities to stimulate the demand, install pre-paid meters, and connect 521 customers (390 households and 131 public and private businesses) to the grid. The people of Kapanga Territory now have access to a stable and clean electricity supply, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels to the benefit of the community and the environment. Photo credit: SOFIA - Salvatorian Office for International Aid
Transforming Lives in 2021
As you'll read in our most recent Annual Report (linked below), Misean Cara supported 384 member projects in 51 countries last year, reaching nearly 1.87 million people in the developing world. Over the course of 2021, Misean Cara staff and members have continued this strong record, upholding the rights and access of millions of marginalised people to quality education, health, sustainable livelihoods, human rights and emergency & humanitarian support.
We look forward to sharing more of the stories of 2021 in the coming months and in our next Annual Report, but in the meantime, below are just a few highlights of our members' work this year, lifting up and transforming the lives of the furthest behind.
Women's Livelihoods in South Sudan
In South Sudan, many people depend on relief food to fill in the gaps of what they are able to produce and buy. However, relief food was not enough to prevent hunger amongst Angelina's family of 10. To help families like Angelina's, Misean Cara supports projects that empower women in agriculture to become self-sufficient in farming, ensuring that they have a sustainable income and food in the future.
After completing the 'Improving Food Security, Nutrition, Income and Health' project of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Angenlina can now provide for her family and earn an imcome. In her own words, Angelina says "I feel proud, I feel empowered, I feel happy that my family can now have two meals a day and I don't rely anymore on relief food."
Photo credit: Congregation of the Holy Spirit
Covid-19 interventions in Paraguay
In Paraguay, children of the indigenous Ava Guaraní’s Jejyty Miri community hold balloons inscribed with COVID-19 safety messages to stay at home and remain within one’s village, a community outreach measure used to help prevent the spread of the virus within a remote and vulnerable population. The children and their families are part of a larger project administered by Misean Cara member the Servants of the Holy Spirit, who worked in partnership with local indigenous leaders to come up with ways to get the word out about COVID-19 and how to prevent it.
The project activities included teaching people how to adopt proper hand washing technique, how to make and use face masks, and putting up posters in local languages that provide information about the virus. When indigenous leaders and communities decided to implement measures to control the entry and exit of people from the community, education and outreach programmes were developed to help communicate this, including simple techniques such as these balloons that could be shared with friends and family. Photo Credit: Pastoral Indígena Espírutu Santo, Paraguay - Servants of the Holy Spirit, Paraguay
Ruben Health Centre in Kenya
At the Ruben Health Centre in Mukuru, Nairobi, Kenya, Maxmilla Achieng and her infant attend a standard check-up and vaccination clinic, seen to by Clinical Officer Elijah Gachuki. The Ruben Centre, operated by Edmund Rice Development in partnership with the Christian Brothers East Africa District, is a focal point in this community for health care due to a lack of other facilities in the vicinity, including the provision of essential mother and child wellness care in a marginalised community where poverty rates are high.
To ensure that the Ruben Health Centre was able to continue offering routine services during the COVID-19 pandemic (while also increasing its readiness to manage the impact of the pandemic) Misean Cara provided funding for protective gear for health care workers, increased COVID-19 screening initiatives, the purchase of essential medications and pain management drugs, additional counselling and mental health services, and the launch of a COVID-19 community awareness campaign to counteract emerging misinformation about the virus. Photo credit: Edmund Rice Development, Ruben Health Centre
Community Nutrition in Nepal
Kalpana Bishowkarma (below, right) a nutrition intervention outreach worker with the Jiri municipality in Nepal, is seen here leading a training session for local shopkeepers on the risks that highly-processed foods pose to proper childhood nutrition. She also goes out into her community to provide training and raise awareness with mothers, teachers, and other community stakeholders on proper nutrition and cooking healthy meals, in an area where many children suffer the life-long effects and irreversible consequences of insufficient dietary diversity.
The Nutrition Promotion and Consultancy Service (NPCS), a local partner that has carried out food distribution in the community, observed concerning malnutrition levels which led, in late 2017, to a nutritional survey carried out in collaboration with Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI) and with funding from Misean Cara. As a follow-on from the survey, CMSI secured three years of Misean Cara funding for a community nutrition programme, through which Kalpana became a volunteer.
Kalpana's professional achievements illustrate the potential of women across the developing world to uplift their lives and those around them. As a woman and as a member of the marginalised Dalit community, Kalpana’s promotion from community volunteer to a paid government role as a nutrition outreach worker represents a bold achievement, as she is the first and only woman of Dalit background to be awarded a nutrition position at the government level. Her promotion also highlights the importance the municipality now sees in community nutrition thanks to the project, critically important in a city with poor dietary diversity and a high incidence of child malnutrition. Photo credit: Church Missionary Society Ireland (CMSI)
Pupils of the Salesian Sisters vocational programme for internally displaced adolescent girls in Juba, South Sudan, receive a foundational primary education and practice catering skills in an outdoor learning facility in line with COVID-19 safety regulations. Photo: Salesian Sisters
Transform Lives: Support Girls' Education
Before COVID-19, girls' education in developing countries was already in crisis, but the pandemic has exacerbated a critical situation, pushing more and more vulnerable girls out of education and into a life on the margins. Experience with the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014-15 suggests that, as a result of COVID-19, up to 20 million secondary school girls in poor countries may never return to education.
In South Sudan, when the pandemic hit it had a sudden and devastating impact on the provision of education, with the Government closing every education centre in the country. For many children in South Sudan, schools are a safe haven where they receive a daily meal and, for girls in particular, were more protected from issues like early marriage.
The Salesian Sisters in Juba were determined to continue to support the girls from their school while it was closed. Online learning was not possible due to the lack of electricity or internet, so in order to allow girls to keep studying, the project team developed educational materials allowing them to study at home and complete their homework in two-week cycles. The Sisters and project staff made visits to the homes of the students, providing an important psychological support to the girls – reassurance that they had not been forgotten and an opportunity for the girls to talk to someone they knew and trusted if they were encountering any challenges. Food was also distributed to support the girls and their families during this period of severe food shortages.
It is a powerful testament to the efforts made by the Salesian Sisters that after the lockdown was eased, and schools reopened, all the girls enrolled before the pandemic continued with their education in the school.
With your support, girls will remain in and complete their secondary education and will go on to further study or to find meaningful employment. With the knowledge and confidence acquired through education, girls will be able to assert their rights and demand a better life for themselves. In the future, their children will benefit from improved household income, better health care and nutrition, and will themselves complete their education.
Thank you for your support for girls' education!
Click below to donate.
Welcome to our 2020 Annual Report. We invite you to download a copy here and read about our members’ impact and their projects at the forefront of long-term development and humanitarian work across the Global South.
In 2020, we supported 384 projects, implemented by 51 members in 51 countries in the areas of health, education, livelihoods, human rights, humanitarian and emergency response, and member capacity development. These projects reached almost 1.87m people and were worth €13.7m.
Inside the pages of our report you'll also learn about the significant challenges our members faced in 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they adapted their approach to identify and meet the urgent needs of the communities they serve.
Misean Cara Learning Briefs
Each year, we publish a set of themed Learning Briefs that draw on internal and external evaluation and research work. These Learning Briefs distil key findings and provide valuable points of learning to our members and those interested in the development sector. We hope you'll enjoy the opportunity to read our final two Learning Briefs for 2021 below.
To see a complete selection of past Learning Briefs and other resources from Misean Cara, please click here.
Supporting employment opportunities and income generation for youth in Southern Africa
Our third Learning Brief of 2021, titled “Supporting employment opportunities and income generation for youth in Southern Africa” gives a summary of findings and recommendations from the 2021 evaluation of six Misean Cara member projects that support youth employment opportunities in South Africa and Zambia.
Our fourth Learning Brief of 2021, titled “Women in Peacebuilding: Voices from Latin America” examines the struggles and efforts of women in Latin America to have a voice in peacebuilding, and highlights research and learning from their experiences, looking at how their initiatives can be honoured and supported.
Irish Missionaries Honoured with Presidential Distinguished Service Awards
In December, four Irish missionaries belonging to Misean Cara members were honoured with Presidential Distinguished Service Awards.
The Awards, set up by the Irish Government and conferred each year by the President of Ireland, recognise the significant contributions of members of the Irish diaspora. Sr. Pat Murray of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) and Fr. Kevin O'Hara of the St. Patrick's Missionary Society received their 2020 Awards (postponed last year due to COVID-19) along with Sr. Orla Treacy of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) and Br. Colm O'Connell of the Patrician Brothers, who were among the 2021 winners.
Misean Cara is honoured to have funded and supported their work in the past and congratulates them all on their innovation, dedication, and years of service. Their work exemplifies the ongoing legacy and impact of missionary work around the world. Read more about the Awards here.
After last year’s successful launch of the Misean Cara Climate Action Awards, we were deligthed to continue the programme in 2021.
This year, three awards were given to highlight individuals and projects by our members that show innovation and commitment to counteracting the affects of climate change on communities in the developing world. Misean Cara is dedicated to reducing its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions not only as an organisation based in Ireland, but also by encouraging sustainable development activities by our members in the field. The Climate Action Awards bring recognition to those efforts.
This year's Awards recognised a Daughters of Charity project in Burkina Faso, a Saint Patrick's Missionary Society project in South Sudan, and a multi-country project of the Salesian Missions of Ireland/Don Bosco Aid. Read more about this year's Misean Cara Climate Action Award winners here:
Misean Cara is a Company Limited By Guarantee. Registered in Ireland No. 381117. Charity Registration No. 20055325.
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Registered in Dublin, Ireland, No: 381117. Registered office: 563 South Circular, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.
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