Mensen met een Missie’s work is rooted in the missionary tradition. Personal involvement, a grassroots orientation and human dignity have remained our key values. Our work is centered on marginalised people. We and believe that sustainable change is change from the bottom up and give a voice to those who are voiceless.
Loyalty in long term partnerships with the most vulnerable
It is our philosophy that people have the intrinsic power for self-development, as they know best what is good for them in their specific social and cultural contexts. For this reason, Mensen met een Missie joins hands with existing grassroots initiatives. We combine spirituality with professionalism and select partnerships on the basis of a shared vision and mission. Good partnership and personal involvement are absolute priorities. We consider the quality of our long term relationships an important indicator of our success.
An independent performance survey (2012) showed that Mensen met een Missie is seen as ‘an organisation that maintains respectful relationships with its partners and brings real added value to them’. Mutual trust, equality, empathy, loyalty and reliability are often mentioned as valued elements in our collaboration with partners. In interviews by the independent researchers, partners emphasised that they feel comfortable in their interactions with Mensen met een Missie, and particularly value our understanding of partners’ working environments, cultural contexts and strategies.
Spiritual inspiration and a faith based approach
As a progressive Catholic organisation with strong missionary roots, we draw inspiration from liberation theology and Catholic social teaching. Although we are averse to proselytism, we have a strong preference for working with faith based (Christian and non-Christian) organisations. Working from a holistic perspective, faith based organisations draw a specific dimension into development processes. We believe that the spiritual, physical and social needs of people are intertwined.
As one partner stated in the aforementioned survey: ‘Faith provides a shared rationale and foundation for our values, which in turn guide not only what we do, but also how we do it. We embrace faith in action. It is a motivation to work with the poor and marginalised, with respect for their dignity and identity, and with an openness to continually learn from each other.’
Faith based organisations are trusted by communities because of their moral authority, selfless dedication and sustainable presence. Their energy is an inspiration for others to stand up against marginalisation and to promote justice and peace both within and outside the faith community. Numerous lay members of faith based communities have started self-help groups and other small scale initiatives to empower their own communities.
A strong grassroots focus
Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Mensen met een Missie has developed a rights based approach to development in which the marginalised are empowered to be active agents of change. Our partners work with them locally in building strong and inclusive grassroots communities. We support integrated human development and choose for a long term community presence.
Mensen met een Missie has an outstanding track record in reaching the most marginalised communities, due to the widespread social and physical infrastructure of our faith based partners. Churches, convents, monasteries and mosques are places of social interaction and support in even the most remote or conflict-ridden areas.
From working for decades with these faith based local communities, Mensen met een Missie has developed outstanding knowledge of local contexts and dynamics. Every little step on the long road to justice, peace and dignity for the most vulnerable is both an accomplishment in itself and a motivation to continue working together in settings that many still consider too challenging.
Constructive interfaith cooperation and dialogues for peace
For Mensen met een Missie it is self-evident that peoples’ worldviews are taken seriously. Shared spiritual inspiration and principles such as justice, compassion, reconciliation and stewardship have led to mutual understanding and solid cooperation with numerous non-Christian organisations. Mensen met een Missie actively broadens its collaboration with organisations that are inspired by faith.
Shared values are of utmost importance in connecting communities and individuals and in building understanding and trust within and between communities in (post)conflict settings. In various countries, Islamic, Christian and other faith leaders supported by Mensen met een Missie have found each other in dialogues for peace.