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Cordaid logo
Founded1996 (merge)
Focusstructural health, relief and reconstruction, microcredit, children in the slums
Area served
31 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America
€115 million

Cordaid is the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid. It is one of the biggest international development organizations, with a network of hundreds of partner organizations in 31 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and has a disposable annual budget of around 115 million euros (2016).[1] Cordaid directly employs almost 400 people, amongst them 182 are based in the Netherlands and the rest are stationed all over the world (2010). Cordaid is also known under the names of the funds it manages: Cordaid Memisa, Cordaid Mensen in Nood (People in Need), Cordaid Bond Zonder Naam (Association Without Name), Cordaid Kinderstem (Children's Voice).


Cordaid was founded in 1999 in The Hague, with the aim of helping people in distress and fighting structural poverty. It is a merge of three Dutch Catholic development organizations: Memisa Medicus Mundi (created in 1925), Mensen in Nood (People in Need, created in 1914) and Lenten Campaign/Bilance. The history of these organizations goes back to the beginning of the 20th century when they were active in the area of shelter and (missionary) care for refugees, providing direct aid in the event of disasters, medical care and direct improvement of the social and economic position of poor people.

The merger allowed the newly created NGO to benefit from broader resources, rationalized management and organization and aimed at coordinating actions and projects. Each organization became a fund with Kinderstem (Children's voice) being part of Mensen in Nood, until October 2004, when Cordaid's General Assembly voted the creation of a separate fund focusing on aid to children living in slums. Cordaid Microcredit was formed in October 2006, following the tenth anniversary of the microfinance activities. On 1 January 2007, the Dutch NGO Bond Zonder Naam (founded in 1938) joined Cordaid. Since 2012 the campaigning cooperation with the Lenten Campaign Foundation ('Vastenaktie') has ended. In the beginning of 2018, Cordaid continues its activities under the brand name Cordaid. The different funds continue to exist as topics: humanitarian aid (Mensen in Nood), health care (Memisa), education (Kinderstem), investments (Microkrediet) and poverty in The Netherlands (Bond Zonder Naam).


Cordaid works on three main topics:

  • Humanitarian aid
  • Development aid
  • Poverty in The Netherlands

Development aid consists of the following sub-topics:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Resilience
  • Investments

Partner organizations supported by Cordaid in developing countries work on various themes, including participation, emergency aid and reconstruction, health and well-being and entrepreneurship. Each year, around 115 million euros is spent on initiatives in the South, of which over 30 million euros is available for emergency aid. A small part is spent in the Netherlands on lobby, public support and awareness-raising.


Cordaid runs programs for the following issues:

  • Minorities which focus on people who are not considered full citizens and have to deal with discrimination, exclusion and poverty.
  • Slum dwellers.
  • Women and Violence, including rape and other forms of abuse.
  • Disaster Prevention and Relief. In areas with a high-risk residents, should be prepared to limit damage and suffering. Cordaid helps developing emergency procedures (call for disaster, then a rapid response and local knowledge are the key requirements).
  • Reconciliation and Reconstruction in post-conflict countries, social connections and infrastructures have to be rebuilt.
  • Access to healthcare.
  • Care of Vulnerable groups of people, those groups include children, chronically poor, people with disabilities and elderly people whose often lack access to health care and education .
  • Small producers who need land, equipment and cheap loans, but also knowledge and expertise.
  • Microfinance.


Cordaid is represented in three international Catholic networks: CIDSE, Caritas International, and Medicus Mundi International. Cordaid is working closely with national and international NGOs, such as Darfur Emergency Response, Faith-Based Network, Pax Christi, STOP AIDS NOW!, Impunity Watch and United Civilians for Peace. Worldwide Cordaid works together with 264 partners for project implementation and funding.


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