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.
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 projects are projects based on partnership. Sustainable development is not produced at the green table, but is the result of mutual planning, mutual efforts and mutual success."
Lulu Cipriano, former national coordinator of the Philippine MISEREOR Partnership (PMP)
Projects planned in partnership promise to be more concretely pro-poor and realistic. The fact that projects are locally and culturally embedded means that they are more likely to succeed and be sustainable. The partnership principle makes it easier for MISEREOR to realise the subsidiarity principle.
From the MISEREOR Cross-Sectoral Evaluation of Partnership (2008)
China is what is known as a "threshold country". There is sufficient money in China and there are many rich Chinese. So, how does one go about ensuring that the poorest of the poor, the elderly and disabled people living in rural areas acquire a bit more of this money?