Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello today recognised the important development work of Ireland’s missionaries and urged them to share their stories of success with the Irish public.
Minister Costello acknowledged the challenges facing missionary orders, but said Ireland – through our missionaries, NGOs and our official aid programme – is recognised as a world leader in delivering sustainable improvements in the lives of the world’s poor.
Addressing the AGM of Misean Cara, the representative group for Irish missionaries, Minister Costello today said:
“Ireland has a long tradition of engagement with the developing world, of which we are rightly proud. I know that you as missionaries have worked in many challenging situations, including situations of famines and conflict. You have not shied away from living and working in remote areas with marginalised and vulnerable people. You have often remained while other agencies have withdrawn.
“I would really encourage you to share your stories of success with the people of Ireland and be part of the movement to communicate the real difference that Ireland is making in the lives of millions of vulnerable people – through our official aid programme, Irish Aid and our dedicated missionaries and NGOs.
Minister Costello encouraged members of Misean Cara to continue the shift towards working through local structures and institutions in Africa and to document the lessons learned in order to replicate the most successful programmes.
“The partnership principle lies at the heart of the Irish Aid programme. It is also a key principle for missionary development work, especially as Irish missionaries move more towards working through local structures and institutions in Africa.
In our partner countries, we strive to support our partners to take a leadership role in their own development processes. In this way, we ensure that solutions are community-based, locally-led and sustainable. In so doing, we can help ensure that the legacy of missionaries’ global development work is secured.
It is hugely important that we document what we do, reflect on it and learn from it. We must continue to critically examine our programmes of work; to see what interventions work and to try to replicate them; to focus on our intended results and be honest about what works, what does not and why.”
27 June, 2012
Notes to the editor