MISEREOR is the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation. For over 50 years MISEREOR has been committed to fighting poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America. MISEREOR’s support is available to any human being in need – regardless of their religion, ethnicity or gender.
Changes cannot be prescribed from outside. MISEREOR therefore believes in supporting initiatives driven and owned by the poor and the disadvantaged. This is because in MISEREOR’s experience it is they themselves who possess the strength to improve their lives sustainably. The support them in their efforts in accordance with the principle of help toward self-help. On the ground, projects are run by local organisations. This ensures that the project work is geared to the needs and way of life of the people involved.
MISEREOR supports the weakest members of society: the poor, the sick, the hungry and the disadvantaged. It is of no importance whether those in need of help are men or women, what religious beliefs they hold or where they come from. To love one’s neighbour is a basic attitude of Christian life, and MISEREOR’s vocation is to translate this attitude into concrete action; the poor are our sisters and brothers, who have a right to a life of dignity. MISEREOR supports them in realising it. The organisation does not pursue any ends other than the promotion of development. The mandate given to MISEREOR by the German Bishops rules out the promotion of pastoral or missionary measures.
MISEREOR strengthens self-initiative
MISEREOR is convinced that poor and disadvantaged people too possess the strength to substantially improve their lives. Where the poor are able to put their talents, knowledge and capabilities to good use, they themselves become the engine of change and development. Many of them then discover for the first time that they have not been dealt an immutable fate for all time.
Projects supported by MISEREOR therefore strengthen the self-initiative of the poor, and encourage them to articulate their interests and needs – not as supplicants, but as people who know their rights and obligations. Support of this kind at the same time helps the poor avoid becoming dependent on foreign aid.
MISEREOR relies on local partners
When a new MISEREOR-supported project is launched this does not mean that development experts from Europe travel to the region in question with what they suppose to be the right solutions in their luggage. MISEREOR prefers to rely entirely on its local partners: Church-based institutions, non-governmental organisations, social movements and research institutes with which the agency cooperates closely, and in some cases has done so for decades.
Together with the beneficiaries, the partners involved help shape local development processes and implement the projects. They receive support from MISEREOR in the form of advice, expertise and funds.
MISEREOR appeals to the consciences of the powerful
MISEREOR’s approach is to fight the causes of injustice, because it is not enough to just alleviate its impacts. For this reason, MISEREOR aims to influence public opinion and policymaking. Political education, the exchange of experiences and networking are key elements of this work. This is how MISEREOR helps enable its partners and the beneficiaries to overcome structural injustices through their own efforts, and succeed in the struggle for working and living conditions that uphold human dignity.
MISEREOR is a movement
MISEREOR was established by the German Bishops’ Conference 50 years ago as an organisation emerging from a broad movement of German Catholics who wished to help their sisters and brothers in need. And to this day the agency would be inconceivable without its numerous supporters. Groups and committed individuals, children, youths and adults invest a huge amount of time and effort in drawing attention to injustices and inspiring others to join the struggle against hunger and poverty.
MISEREOR stands for transparency
MISEREOR uses the funds available to it responsibly, economically and efficiently, and regularly accounts to the individual and public donors providing it with the money. A multistage monitoring system guarantees that the stewardship of funds remains transparent both within and outside of the organisation.