The purpose of the foundation is to bring about transformation in societies around the world so that they become more just, inclusive, and sustainable. Cordaid aims to be working internationally and consistently with constituents on locally-based development and cooperation to build flourishing communities in fragile contexts and (post-) conflict areas. The foundation does that through social enterprise approach and financial innovation.


Established in 2000 - Cordaid was established in 2000 when a number of Dutch relief organizations joined forces.

Some of these, such as Cordaid Mensen in Nood (literally: people in need), had been set up initially in response to the stream of European refugees into the Netherlands during the First World War which is why we are marking our first centenary in 2014.

In 1925, Memisa, another member of the Cordaid group, was founded and has become a leader in the field of healthcare in developing countries. In the 1930s, Cordaid was concerned with the plight of the Great Depression victims. After World War II, however, its focus shifted further south resulting in a new kind of solidarity between countries in an area in which Cordaid was at the forefront: development aid.

The Dutch government also recognized the importance of development aid and introduced so-called ‘co-financing’, which is financing provided by the government to civil-society organizations intended for development aid. This resulted in the establishment of Cebemo in 1961, which is a Roman Catholic foundation that executed the Dutch parliament’s decision to finance the work of missionaries as a special form of assistance to developing countries.

During a century of working on the world’s worst catastrophes and calamities, ranging from helping the victims of dictatorships and (civil) wars to famine relief and support following natural disasters, that early commitment to protecting and offering aid to vulnerable people has remained the same. And it continues to be driven by a Catholic identity and its associated values; new employees at Cordaid still learn about those values – dignity, solidarity and stewardship - during their first week.

Grantmaking Programs


In every two minutes, a mother dies during either pregnancy or delivery. Cordaid is improving the accessibility of healthcare using result based financing, which is supervised by the local population.

Disaster response

Disasters caused either by natural forces or by conflicts always hit the poorest the hardest. Cordaid has been working together with local communities to reduce the risk of disasters. Cordaid's approach is to follow-up rapid emergency aid during the occurrence of a disaster with sustainable development afterwards.


Cordaid invests in entrepreneurship in post-conflict areas to enable people to shape their own futures as well as restructuring their societies. These investments provide entrepreneurs with the opportunities to generate new means to achieve a durable peace.

Women’s leadership

Although women are crucial contributors to their societies, they are virtually absent in local governments or during peace talks. Cordaid unites local women and provides them with national and international stages.

Child & education

Cordaid provides care for children in vulnerable positions, such as orphans, children with disabilities, and homeless children. In addition, Cordaid provides a strong educational system that is supported by involved parents, teachers and authorities.


Areas with natural resources often stage power struggles between multinationals and governments. The local population is often left both powerless and poor. Cordaid helps them to engage in an open dialogue between companies, governments, and the public.

Urban matters

People living in slums offer a wealth of creativity and talent. Cordaid connects them with companies and authorities that see the opportunities. Together they create livable neighborhoods and encourage market development.


Cordaid’s professionals work on risk management and optimization with over 100 microfinance institutions and funds in 12 countries.

Food security

Farmers in areas of conflict hold the key to food security and peace. Cordaid helps them bring their production up to standard, improve their organization, and remove potential obstacles to marketing their goods.