Trócaire was established by the Bishops of Ireland in 1973 as a way for Irish people to donate to development and emergency relief overseas.
Upon its establishment, Trócaire was given a dual mandate: to support the most vulnerable people in the developing world, while also raising awareness of development at home in Ireland.
Throughout its history Trócaire has brought humanitarian relief and assistance to people caught in some of the worst conflicts or hit by natural disasters across the globe. It has also established long-term development programmes in these regions and others affected by poverty, inequality and human rights violations.
Today Trócaire works in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In Ireland, we raise awareness about the causes of poverty through our outreach programmes in the education sector, through parish networks, and through our public campaigns and advocacy work.
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. We 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 is right there at the side of the weak
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 super turbam – I have compassion on the crowd’ (Mk 8.2): These words of Jesus contained in the Bible gave the organisation its name. Compassion for people in need has remained the defining underlying motivation and characteristic of MISEREOR’s activities to this day.
The dream of a more just world
The development projects supported by MISEREOR are as diverse as the causes and faces of poverty. They all have one thing in common, though. They all focus on the whole human person. As well as satisfying basic needs such as food security, they also help ensure that human rights are upheld and the way is paved for the people concerned to live in dignity.
Our ideal would be a world in which all human beings are able to participate in shaping their communities, in which cultural diversity is recognised and promoted, and in which equality is a reality. All these are overarching goals that are, among others, pursued in project planning.
Catholic Relief Services
In 1943, the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States established Catholic Relief Services to help war-torn Europe and its refugees recover. During World War II, CRS’ work focused on the resettlement of war refugees in Europe. Today, more than 70 years later, our mission continues to focus on the poor overseas, using the gospel of Jesus Christ as our mandate. We continually seek to help those most in need, providing assistance on the basis of need, without regard to race, creed or nationality.
In the 1950s, as Europe regained its balance, the agency began to look to other parts of the world, seeking out those who could benefit from the assistance of Catholics in the United States. For the next two decades, Catholic Relief Services expanded its operations and opened offices in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Disaster relief & breaking the cycle of poverty
During this time of expansion, CRS built on its tradition of providing relief in emergency situations and began to seek ways to help people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty through community-based, sustainable development initiatives. These programs — which today include agricultural initiatives,community banks, health, education and clean water projects — ensure that the local population is the central participant in its own development and that a project can be sustained through the effort and resources of the local community.
In the 1990s, the presence of Catholic Relief Services in the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Mitch in Central America or man-made tragedies, such as Kosovo, was complemented by a continuing commitment to the development of civil society in these areas.
Here and now
Today, CRS continues to work in creating a more just and prosperous world for all. Since the early 2000s, CRS has applied a theory of change grounded in the concept ofIntegral Human Development, or IHD, which promotes the good of every person and the whole person.
IHD, as found in Catholic social teaching, supports the ability of each individual to realize his or her full human potential in the context of just and peaceful relationships, a thriving environment and solidarity with others.
IHD is the sustained growth that everyone has the right to enjoy and represents an individual’s cultural, physical, natural, economic, political, social and spiritual wholeness. IHD includes enjoying family, society and nature, as well as the gifts that come from learning new things, from earning a dignified living and contributing to a rich civil life.
True Integral Human Development is a long-term, dynamic process based on human dignity and right relations. It means working with a variety of actors to transform the way that societies live, heal and structure their relationships. Progress toward IHD is achieved through active engagement with others in a just and peaceful society that respects the sacredness of life and the dignity of every person.
IHD is a central component of the CRS agency strategy and the work CRS does with its partners. The IHD concept is relevant for both the poor we serve overseas and the Catholic community and other people of goodwill in the United States. It affirms human development cannot be reduced or separated into component parts.
CRS is about bringing a vision to life, and the IHD concept provides the basis of our vision. Through the IHD conceptual framework, we can more clearly understand the world of the poor, including their strengths and their needs, so we can guide effective programming.
With more than 70 years of experience overseas, Catholic Relief Services understands that rebuilding societies requires more than mortar and bricks. Through its work, the agency seeks to foster within the U.S. Catholic community a sense of global solidarity, providing inspiration to live out our spiritual tradition of compassionate service to the world.
Living out the mission
Today, in the early years of a millennium and with renewed commitment to the most vulnerable members of the human family, we continue to reassess our mission. We do so, ever mindful of fulfilling our gospel mandate in a way that most clearly reflects the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, the foundation upon which our work is built.