Welcome to the Development Education dot IE Blog

Walking for Water in Ireland…but not for the reasons you might think!

Photo: Loreto the Green by Aidlink (March 26th, 2015).

Photo: students demonstrating the global water and sanitation crisis from Loreto the Green (March 26th, 2015) by Aidlink.

On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon this March tens of thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Dublin all in the name of ‘water’. The demonstration, organised by the Right2Water[1] campaign, was part of a wider movement in opposition to the recent introduction of water charges here in Ireland.

Dominating the headlines for many months now, the introduction of domestic water charges has been more controversial than any other political decision since the collapse of the Irish economy in 2008.

Never before in my lifetime has a subject incited such mass, persistent political action on the streets of our towns and cities.

For the first time ever, many of us were forced to consider the value and cost of water; propelling a deeper reflection on what the ‘human right to water’ means and what responsibility we owe, if any, to those who provide us with a safe, clean, domestic supply of water.

But whist thousands rallied on Dublin’s O’Connell Street to chants of “can’t pay, won’t pay”, a number of very different water demonstrations were taking place in communities across Ireland. More…

Doing DE – using the case study of modern slavery to raise and explore issues

Note: The materials and resources listed here are primarily suited to ages 14+ and can be used in a wide variety of learning and teaching contexts.

 ‘It’s an ancient abuse, but it persists throughout the world today. Slavery remains one of the greatest human rights challenges of history. Today it’s largely hidden from sight. People now are trapped by different forces – less visible, but just as powerful.’

NGO Free the Slaves

Watching Sebastião Salgado on TED recently on the silent drama of photography I was reminded of the importance and value of doing development education through issue-based case studies. More…

Teachers of the world! Join in to create the world’s largest lesson

  • In September 2015 the world will have a plan. twll-white-large
  • What’s yours?
  • Help to create The World’s Largest Lesson

This September the United Nations will announce the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a set of goals for the world that aim to make our planet fair, healthy and sustainable by 2030.

Two of the key issues at the heart of the SDGs is to eradicate extreme poverty and to get to reduce the threat of climate change.

After the goals are announced, The World’s Largest Lesson will take place, with teachers in schools all around the world educating their students about the SDGs. This will help students understand the significance of these new global goals to their futures, and the crucial role they could play in realising them.

The World’s Largest Lesson will be delivered with support from Unicef, TES and Education International. It forms a key part of Project Everyone, a drive led by writer and film director Richard Curtis which aims to ensure everyone knows about the SDGs.

developmenteducation.ie is working to create a bank of teaching and learning resources (with debates and development data) that cover all the SDG themes and that can help teachers research and deliver The World’s Largest Lesson.

A competition has been launched inviting teachers from across the world to submit creative and exciting lesson plans about the SDGs. Lesson plans can be from any subject area such as science, English, business studies, mathematics, art, languages, CSPE, geography etc.

Once uploaded these can be viewed, shared and will be rated by teachers and the winning ideas will be developed and published as a set of resources for teaching The World’s Largest Lesson.

Competition closing date: 17th April 2015

Ratings completion date: 1 May 2015

For further details, and to submit your lesson ideas, visit:

For some background and debates see this interactive produced by The Guardian with all you need to know about the Sustainable Development Goals: changing the world in 17 steps.

Check developmenteducation.ie for SDG related blogs and resources for lesson plan ideas too.


What to do?

Create an idea or plan for a 30 – 60 minute lesson or classroom activity about either:

i) the principle of the goals and their overall purpose
ii) a theme from the goals that means most to the children you teach

To be taught to children in one of:

i) Upper Elementary/Primary phase (aged 8-11 years)
ii) Lower Secondary phase (aged 11-14 years)

You can create your lesson plan in any one of the 6 UN languages:

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

You can create and upload your lesson using a range of different file types:

You don’t need the latest technology, you could write your idea on a piece of paper, photograph it and upload it.

View a list of file types here.

There will be 1 regional winner from each of the following regions:

Western Europe
Eastern Europe
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America and The Caribbean
Northern America
Central and East Asia

1,826 = 7,500,000,000,000

Source: The World’s Billionaire Almanac (March 2015) by Forbes Media.

Source: The World’s Billionaire Almanac (March 2015) by Forbes Media.

As you log out of ‘Hotmail’ you are redirected to MSN news homepage. I don’t often take much notice of the contents of the page, however, on this occasion the new Forbes listing of the richest people on the planet caught my eye.

Turns out, it was very interesting! More…

Climate Change Challenge Weekend: 16-18 year olds answer the call

Climate change and climate justice are often seen as abstract concepts that are hard to get to grips with, especially for young people.

The key to engaging this age group with these ideas is to approach them through active and experiential learning, which is why the Development Education team at Trócaire decided to run a Climate Change Challenge Weekend last November on the campus of Maynooth University.



Notes from Kampala: “No women!”

Photo: Negative (April 24, 2007) by Gabe Racz. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license via Flickr.

Photo: Negative (April 24, 2007) by Gabe Racz. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license via Flickr.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, I boarded a plane at Entebbe airport bound for my first stop in Doha. As I approached row 12, I noticed that someone else was sitting in my assigned seat. I politely asked the man whether he was in the right seat or had the airline ‘double booked’ us.

I was ignored. I politely asked again.

The man responded to me by saying, “no women.” More…

Top 10 facts about the Fairtrade movement in Ireland

Photo: World Fairtrade Day (May 11, 2013) by John Sargent. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license via Flickr.

Photo: World Fairtrade Day (May 11, 2013) by John Sargent. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license via Flickr.

Badge-Top-Tens-SmallAnyone who buys, sells or stocks goods that have achieved Fairtrade certification are not engaging in a ‘simple’ or ‘neutral’ act. Quite to the contrary, it is ENTIRELY political.

Fairtrade Ireland, founded as the Irish Fair Trade Network (IFTN), in responding to a government consultation on Ireland’s overseas aid policy in 2012 stated:

“The Fairtrade label was invented as a way to enable citizens as consumers to do something about production and processing conditions in the developing world and unfair pricing. By providing an independent assurance that these products meet decent standards which cover the cost of production and enable producers to earn a good living, they enable consumers to make a positive contribution as part of normal shopping activity.”

Here, we take stock of 10 facts from Ireland’s contribution to the global Fairtrade movement. More…

Writing competition deadline 19th March: entries on the positive impact of EU development cooperation around the world

Tomorrow is the closing date on NYCI’s blog/article competition for young people aged 18-30 years.

The theme for the competition is – The European Year for Development 2015: How has Europe contributed to development in the world?

Get writing! More info at www.youth.ie/eyd


Development Education: roots and values

Photo: third world exploitation poster spotted in Toronto (Jan 26, 2013) by Mary Crandall. CC NC-ND 2.0 license via Flickr.

Photo: third world exploitation poster spotted in Toronto (Jan 26, 2013) by Mary Crandall. CC NC-ND 2.0 license via Flickr.

Recent years have witnessed many ongoing calls for a ‘definitive definition’ of development education (DE) and failing that for abandoning the term in favour of, inter alia, human rights education, education for sustainable development or global education etc.

The argument is often put forward that ‘development education’ remains ill-defined (this despite the fact that both concepts – development and education – remain hotly contested generally) and that the ‘public’ will understand our work better if it is re-labelled (usually little or no evidence is offered for this proposition) etc.

While personally I find this debate tiring and unproductive (and a distraction from the work itself), I feel it may be worth re-iterating the roots of our work and why the term development education is important and accurate and why abandoning it would weaken and dilute our agenda considerably (particularly from an NGO perspective).  The debate may also become more immediate in light of the upcoming review of Irish Aid’s development education strategy where I suspect the term Development Education will once more be questioned.  More…

100 Million, 5 million, 1 in 12…what do these figures have to do with bananas?

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight again! This year’s focus is on Bananas – 100% Fairtrade Bananas!

Bananas are the most traded fruit in the world with more than 100 million tonnes produced every year.

Bananas are the third most popular fruit in Ireland with approximately 5 million being consumed every week. FT_logo_s

Unfortunately, only 1 in 12 bananas consumed in Ireland are Fairtrade certified. More…