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Support for other Civil Society Organisations

Irish Aid Headquarters provides funding to a range of international and Irish civil society organisations for their work on specific priority areas. These organisations are strategically placed within their sector to assist on the delivery of our civil society policy objectives. 

Meeting with other Civil Society organisations

Misean Cara

Irish Aid provides funding to missionary organisations involved in development work overseas via Misean Cara. Misean Cara was established in 2004 and has 89 member organisations. The  member organisations, both religious and lay missionary, receive funding for their development work in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The main focus of the Irish Aid funded work is in the provision of primary health care and basic education services. Funding is also provided for projects in urban and community development, income generation and addressing human rights issues.  

Irish Aid signed a new three year Memorandum of Understanding with Misean Cara in 2013. Funding from Irish Aid will allow Misean Cara to deliver on the following strategic objectives over the next three years:

  • to support high quality education, health care, income generation and livelihoods, advocacy and human right initiatives
  • to demonstrate the results of the work undertaken for the benefit of vulnerable and marginalised people and communities
  • to develop clear policies for its members that utilise best practice approaches to improve development effectiveness
  • to further enhance the professional expertise and technical systems of Misean Cara members in the development sector

Misean Cara was allocated funding of €16 million in 2013.


Dóchas is a representative association for Irish non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in overseas development. 

As an umbrella body, Dóchas provides a forum for dialogue on development issues for its member organisations. Organisations have the opportunity to consult and co-ordinate with others through working groups on a range of development issues including humanitarian action, disability, food security, HIV and AIDS and development education

Dóchas also plays a key role in developing good practice standards in the sector, where members learn from each other and work together to develop standards.

Examples of good practice standards developed by Dóchas and its members are the:

Dóchas provides policy advice, undertakes research, and engages in advocacy and awareness campaigns on development issues in Ireland and the European Union. It is the Irish representative on the European Union NGO co-ordination structure, CONCORD.

Our funding relationship with Dóchas is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which clearly sets out our partnership and shared priorities. These shared priorities include facilitating learning and collaboration amongst Dóchas members, developing good practice standards in the development sector and ensuring a high levels of accountability and transparency are maintained, for example in partnership approaches and financial reporting.

The current MoU runs from 2011 to 2014 and approximately €1 million will be provided in this timeframe.  In 2013, Irish Aid provided €250,000 to Dóchas.


Comhlámh is a membership organisation that promotes best practice in international volunteering. Members are generally returned development workers or volunteers.

Comhlámh provides information and advice to people interested in international volunteering. It also provides training and support services for volunteers in advance of and after overseas assignments.

Established in 1975, Comhlámh works closely with volunteer sending agencies to help them to adhere to quality standards. It does this by monitoring the way in which the standards in the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Organisations and a Volunteer Charter for volunteers are applied. 

Both the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Organisations and the Volunteer Charter aim to ensure that international volunteering has a positive impact on the volunteer, the host project and community and the volunteer sending agency.

Our funding relationship with Comhlámh is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out clearly the partnership between the two organisations and the shared objectives. 

These objectives include providing information and support services for volunteers and returned development workers, monitoring the Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Organisations and undertaking research and analysis on the international volunteering sector.

The current MoU runs from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, Irish Aid provided €408,863 to Comhlámh.

Read more about Civil Society funding

See the Irish Aid Annual Report‌ for a list of organisations that received funding through the main civil society funding schemes administered by Irish Aid HQ.