© Schwarzbach / MISEREOR

About us

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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.

Two boys in a refugees' project in Iraq. © Grossmann / MISEREOR

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.

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 works closely together with local partners, here for example in Brasil © Kopp / MISEREOR

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 is not only a donor, but also a learner, a partner in dialogue and a companion in solidarity. This creates a process of permanent exchange characterised by trust, an ability to express and deal with constructive criticism, and a willingness to learn. This is how MISEREOR, together with its partners, responds to constantly changing challenges.

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.

MISEREOR has set both itself and its partner organisations clear rules. All areas of work are regularly and consistently monitored. Internal guidelines for staff members and line managers contribute to ensuring that any forms of abuse or corruption are prevented. The requirement of maximum transparency also includes the regular publication of data on the source and use of funds. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the development work performed in the projects supported by MISEREOR is also reviewed by external consultants, and documented every year in a public evaluation report.

Guidelines on transparency and on dealing with cases of embezzlement or corruption


In the development cooperation measures for which it is responsible, MISEREOR – the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation – also assumes responsibility for the appropriate implementation of the projects supported. With regard to the donations and tax monies with which it is entrusted, MISEREOR is therefore committed to accountability, transparency and participation, and to fighting all forms of embezzlement, diversion of funds for other than the intended purposes and corruption...

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More about MISEREOR

With Righteous Anger and Tenderness

Corporate Presentation

By using the terms ‘righteous anger’ and ‘tenderness’ MISEREOR is underlining the special motivation at the heart of its activities. What we mean is the righteous anger over injustice and suffering that is rooted in human compassion, especially for the poor, the disenfranchised and the disempowered.
Since 1958 MISEREOR has represented the Catholic Church’s commitment to stand at the side of the poor, the sick and the oppressed, and join them in the struggle to overcome poverty and create decent living conditions.

Read more about it in our Corporate Presentation!


Organisation Chart


MISEREOR's head office is located in Aachen, Germany. Several Departments take care of national and international affairs. Our chart displays the structure of the organisation.


The MISEREOR Board of Directors is staffed by our Director General, Mrsg Pirmin Spiegel, our Managing Director for International Cooperation Dr. Martin Bröckelmann-Simon, and our Managing Director for Human Resources, Administration and Finance, Thomas Antkowiak.

Read more about their Vita

Would you like to become a MISEREOR partner? Are you looking for specific forms and guidelines? Please visit our Cooperation & Service page for more information.

MISEREOR not only supports projects in the countries of the South. We are also committed to serving the poor by acting as their voice and advocate in Germany. Our main action time is Lenten Season.

Find out more about our annual Lenten Campaign