Welcome to the Development Education dot IE Blog

Radio documentary: The Girls of Kajiado

“The Girls of Kajiado’ tells the story of the young Maasai girls of Southern Kenya and their struggle to remain in education. Their fight represents both a desire to break the bonds of poverty and also a challenge to the traditional role of girls and women in Maasai culture.”

‘The Girls of Kajiado’ documentary aired on Newstalk radio on 19 September, where producer Zoe Liston travelled to Southern Kenya to track the changing face of Maasai culture.

The 1 hour documentary details the work of Irish NGO Aidlink and partner organisation, the Girl Child Network, on issues such as FGM, early marriage and access to education that affect the Maasai girls of Kajiado County, Kenya.

Here’s the summary of the programme from the Newstalk website:

The semi-arid region of Kajiado County is home to many Maasai communities. As nomadic pastoralists, the status of women and particularly girls falls behind that of livestock. Girls are frequently unable to complete their primary education, experience the brutality of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and are in many cases expected to marry at as young an age as 11 or 12. Maasai girls are consequently among the most marginalised and vulnerable people in Kenya.

In this documentary we meet individuals like Gladice, a Maasai girl from the remote region of Lake Tuk Tuk. Running away from home at the age of 14 and turning her back on the only community she has known, she succeeds in completing her primary and secondary education and is now studying in Nairobi University to be as she says, ‘one of the greatest engineers in the world’.

We also meet Dennis a young man trained from an early age as a Maasai Warrior, who against his father’s will returned to education and advocates on behalf of girls to do the same. After refusing to be married to a girl who he describes as ‘a little kid’ he says he ‘does not want to see the lives of girls destroyed’. In this documentary we recognise the central role of boys and men as pioneers for change.

‘The girls of Kajiado’ introduces us to a  community on the brink of massive social change, as many young Maasai turn their back of the traditional life of pastoralism in favour a city life in Nairobi, and all that that implies for Maasai culture in the 21st Century.

Notes from Burkina Faso: the lesson of true joy

Photo: Playing football by Self Help Africa (February 2013).

Photo: Patrick O’Grady playing football, by Self Help Africa (February 2013).

By Patrick O’Grady

Burkina Faso in West Africa was the destination for students and teachers who travelled on Self Help Africa’s annual schools’ study visit in the spring of 2013.

Patrick O’Grady recalls his account of the week-long trip visiting youth groups, school-going counterparts, historical sites and a range of rural communities working in development projects with Self Help Africa.

Based on a series of diary reflections, this essay was entered into an English class competition in St. Mary’s Academy CBS, Carlow during the 2013/14 term as part of the Leaving Certificate.


My mind was wandering as I tapped a piano scale with my hand. It was a dull, bleak Wednesday night with a history test looming the next day.

I love history but that night I felt detached and distanced from the dates, statistics and details that refused to allow themselves to be remembered.

I heard my dad call to say that Burkina Faso’s semi-final against Ghana was on television. The little-known-of West African country had gone thirteen years without so much as one win until this African Cup of Nations. With a spirited performance they caused another surprise. More…

Notes from Kampala: a thought for your Apples

Photo: Apple-0755 by  Annette Bernhardt (July 1, 2014), CC license.

Photo: Apple-0755 by Annette Bernhardt (July 1, 2014), CC license.

I can’t find my iPod. I can’t find it anywhere.

Did I put it somewhere safe and now can’t remember? Perhaps someone has ‘taken’ it?! I wake up in the middle of the night and search for it. It’s not there. I can’t find it. For days now my mind is preoccupied with finding my iPod. It’s got years of music and iTunes on it. I spent hours loading CD after CD into the PC (revealing my age now?). I need to find it.

Resource training: ‘Palestine and Israel – How will there be a Just Peace?’

Training programme announcement for teachers interested in the recent publication Palestine and Israel – How will there be a Just Peace? launched in late 2013.


Palestine and Israel: How will there be a Just Peace? Sadaka_coveris a Citizenship Education Resource for Transition Year and Key Stage 4, based on Human Rights and International Law.

The resource was jointly created by CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit, The Centre for Cross Border Studies and Sadaka, following a pilot phase with educators in 2012.

About the Resource:

  • Intended to support young people in critically exploring conflict and peace building within a framework of Human Rights and International Law.
  • Looking specifically at the Palestinian/ Israeli situation, the resource provides an opportunity for students to increase their knowledge and understanding, develop their skills of critical analysis, and share the experiences of those working towards a peaceful outcome.
  • Several of the lessons involve photos, maps and video clips and the resource has been supported by a strong set of original designs, infographics and illustration features.
  • The active learning methodologies used throughout the resource enable students to further develop the skills identified in the key skills frameworks for both jurisdictions.
  • Suitable for citizenship education and education for peace in terms of the Key Stage 4 curriculum in Northern Ireland and as an extension of CSPE into Transition Year education in the Republic of Ireland, as well as History components at Senior Cycle level.

A two part training programme will take place in Dublin and Cork this October and November:


Who should attend?
The workshops are designed for post primary teachers engaged in citizenship education for transition year or teaching CSPE related subjects. The workshops fulfil official Continuing Professional Development criteria.

About the facilitators:

Mary Gannon
Mary Gannon is an Education Consultant who recently completed work on the teaching and learning resource, ‘Tackling Controversial Issues in the Citizenship Classroom’ and ‘Palestine and Israel – How will there be a Just Peace’. She worked for City of Dublin Vocational Education Centre Curriculum Development Unit and recently completed the teacher training programme on equality and human rights for the Equality Authority. She specialises in curriculum development, teacher training and educational research.

Dr. Elaine Murtagh
Dr Elaine Murtagh is a lecturer at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. She formerly worked as a teacher and co-ordinator of education programmes for non-governmental and statutory bodies. Elaine holds a PhD from the University of Ulster and has many scholarly publications on the links between physical activity and public health. Elaine lived in Ramallah from 2004-2006 while working as Regional Training Officer for the NGO Right To Play, a humanitarian organisation which uses sport and play as tools for community development. She was responsible for staff and curriculum development for projects in Palestinian refugee camps throughout the West Bank Lebanon and Jordan. She co-authored the resource ‘Palestine and Israel – How will there be a Just Peace’ with Mary Gannon.

Register for the Workshops:
To register for the training workshops or for further information, please contact:
Hilary Minch, hilary@sadaka.ie, 087 9855997.

Places are limited so please register early, by Friday 3 October. The training workshops are free and a light lunch will be provided.

Leaflet: training seminar info on Palestine and Israel: How will there be a Just Peace? (PDF), autumn 2014.

Patrick Dodson: ‘We’ve been here for over 60,000 years and are not recognised in our own lands’ – interview

In a developmenteducation.ie and 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World exclusive, Colm Regan catches up with Aboriginal leader and campaigner Patrick Dodson during the summer of 2014 on the “unfinished business” of reconciliation and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in anticipation of the forthcoming draft constitution in Australia.

In your recent speech in Valetta you hinted at and raised the question of “unfinished business” between the Australian state and Australia’s first people – the Aboriginal people. Could you tell us a bit more about this “unfinished business”?

Australia was settled by the British and the British assumed no one lived there. And so they developed a legal fiction called Terra Nullius that enabled them to take the land without any conversation or acknowledgement of property under customary law rights of the Aboriginal people. That matter has festered away for over 200 years and therefore the Aboriginal people are not written into or acknowledged in the constitution. And that’s a problem because we’ve been here for over 60,000 years and are not recognised in our own lands.

This idea of Terra Nullius…what does it entail?

Terra Nullius means that the land was unoccupied by anyone…which was a complete lie. The British knew that. In fact they took two Aboriginal people back to England within the first couple of years of settlement. Remembering that this was a penal colony, Terra Nullius meant that it didn’t belong to anyone and therefore there was no need to enter into a treaty or have any other form of ideology applying other than it was peacefully settled – which was a second lie because land was taken violently from Aboriginal people as settlers more encroached upon the lands. More…

Doing political education in realtime… well, maybe not!

Photo: Paul and Saltire by Neil Winton (10 June, 2013) on Flickr. CC license

Photo: Paul and Saltire by Neil Winton (10 June, 2013) on Flickr. Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (link: https://flic.kr/p/eHHG2z)

The Scottish Referendum debate (on September 18th) is hotting up in more ways than one as both sides in the campaign (http://yesscotland.net and http://bettertogether.net) head for the finishing line two weeks ahead. More…


Source: infographic p.6 of report: Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa's billion dollar losses (2014).

Source: infographic p.6 of report: Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses (2014).

Towards the end of July each year, The UN Secretary General submits an important report to the General Assembly on the international financial system and development.

Unfortunately it is not one of those reports that is publicised or indeed commented upon much but it is hugely important nonetheless.

The report reveals much about what is actually happening as regards financial resource transfers and it annually gives the lie to the popular perception that transfers are from the rich to the poor and, of course, they are anything but. More…

Cartoon of the month: at the tills

Cartoon of the month for August 2014.

Visit the cartoons library or visit our sections on consumption and ethical consumption.

DE resources audit in the news

The audit of development education resources producedaudit_cover in Ireland from 2000-2012 was included in the recent annual progress report from Irish Aid which reviewed Ireland’s official overseas aid programme and MDGs progress in 2013, launched earlier this month (report in full here).

For those unfamiliar with the audit, we blogged about the major recommendations, which are worth checking out to seeing how they might relate to your education group or in planning considerations for resource producers.

Over 200 resources were identified as DE resources produced during the 12 year period. The audit covered all things from major trends in issues and topics covered in resource production (from child labour and the MDGs to global health and genocide) to the various education sectors that resources have been concentrated (primary education, secondary education, youth sector and community & adult education).

We’ve been quite busy since then working on a set of guidelines in conjunction with Dóchas and IDEA for producing DE resources. Following on from the national consultation on the draft guidelines earlier this year they will be published online and in print in September. Progress updates on the guidelines are available, for those interested.

In the meantime, catch the audit online at developmenteducation.ie/audit

“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man”


Photo: Children play atop a bullet-riddled building in Gaza (05/10/2011). Photo ID 503547. Gaza. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan. Source: Flickr (CC License 2.0).

“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”
― Primo Levi*, If This Is a Man / The Truce

The Holocaust was one of the negative icons of the 20th century. It provided one of the contexts for the rise of the human rights movement. The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers specifically to ‘barbarous acts’; signifying the Holocaust and other crimes committed during World War Two. The Geneva Conventions of 1949, which set limits on the ways in which states may conduct themselves in armed conflict (irrespective of whether a state is waging a defensive or aggressive war), also came about as a result of the horrific crimes committed in the period 1939-1945.  The Genocide Convention of 1948 which renders genocide a crime under international law and obliges states to punish the commission of genocidal acts is a direct consequence of the Holocaust. The concepts of war crimes and crimes against humanity came to be legally recognised in the Nuremberg Trials within the same context.

Apart from the developments described above there was another development which came about in the wake of the Holocaust: the birth of the state of Israel. That the Jewish people deserved protection and security as a greatly persecuted people (not just in the Holocaust) was evident. That the Jewish people should have their state built on land which was the home of Palestinians for hundreds of years was tragic. More…