Welcome to the Development Education dot IE Blog

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…

Palestinians are not statistics (nor are Israelis!)

‘First, never will even the most impressive television footage properly capture the depth of fear and despair felt in the homes and hearts of Gazans who are yet again facing death, devastation and displacement. Thousands of parents today have no more answers to give to their young children when they are asked why their houses are shaking or breaking under the weight and relentless force of the bombardments.

Second, we must be careful about the endless enumeration of casualty numbers. The dead and injured in Gaza are not anonymous. Behind the figures lie multiple individual destinies now torn apart.  Too often in their lives have Gazan civilians been denied their dignity. Anonymity in death or injury is the ultimate denial. It is also too comfortable for the world and the parties engaged in the hostilities. Palestinians are not statistics and we must never allow them to be treated as such. They are human beings like others in the world, with their identity and the same hopes and expectations for an improved future for their children.’

This significant reminder by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl during a press briefing on July 14th regarding events in Gaza highlighted an important but all too often forgotten reality.  Behind the statistics and the propaganda, the claims and counter claims, the talk of ‘terrorists, self-defence and security’ are the lives (and now the additional deaths) of Palestinians (overwhelmingly) and Israelis (no less important for their limited number).

Recent events are a grotesque reminder of a conflict that has rumbled on for over 60 years (see the BBC’s timeline) especially for the 5 million plus Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.  Although the figures are (inevitably) contested, it is generally accepted that some 15,000+ Palestinians and Israelis people have died since 1948 (for a detailed discussion, see this Global Avoidable Mortality blog post written in May 2006.

In the context of recent events, readers/users may find the following annotated list of (selected) websites useful in terms of background, analysis, links and perspectives.  The list is in no way, comprehensive or complete; nor does it come devoid of criticism; it is offered as a starting point to stimulate discussion and debate.

Two good places to start are:

UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency | http://www.unrwa.org

The official site of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict to carry out relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees; its current mandate has been extended to 2017). The site contains analysis and commentary on current issues (e.g. Gaza July 2014), a useful film archive, facts and figures in Palestinian refugees and basic demographics.

B’Tselem – The Israeli BTselem Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories | http://www.btselem.org

Maintained by one of Israel’s most respected human rights NGOs; offers a large body of material including videos, testimonies, photoblogs, maps and analysis; also offers an overview of key topics such as settlements, the ‘separation barrier’, demolitions, restrictions on movement etc.  The site also analyses crucial issues such as the water crisis in Gaza and the West Bank (has an excellent background briefing) and how the current discriminatory situation flouts international law.  Also has an extensive annotated set of links to an additional 17 Israeli human rights sites.

AlHaqAl-Haq | http://www.alhaq.org

An independent Palestinian NGO based in Ramallah, West Bank; established in 1979, Al-Haq is recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The site contains extensive reports and analyses of current and key events (on Gaza, population, the Separation Wall, Jerusalem and a number of downloads including one on water discrimination. More…

Greenpeace uses Lego video to target Shell

Capitalising on the popularity of the recent Lego movie – which is awesome – Greenpeace have a lot to say about oil company Shell’s practices.

Why should we care if Shell’s brand features in a series of Lego cars? More…

Cartoon of the month: FIFA doing it for the street kids?

Cartoon of the month for June 2014.

Visit the cartoons library or read sports blogs on the website.

Barefeet are coming!

Who are Barefeet, I hear you ask? From very humble beginnings armed only with face paint and a drum or two, Barefeet have been helping children living on the streets of Zambia for seven years. Co-founder Tobias Tembo, his colleagues and friends explain the uniqueness of the Barefeet story as they educate through entertainment (a clip worth watching). More…

Erasure and the World Cup

Photo: sportv.globo.com

Photo: sportv.globo.com

The balls for this year’s FIFA World Cup were made by predominately female workers earning €122 a month in the Forward Sport factory in East Pakistan.

These women are Ronaldonianly, Messiesquely good at what they do. Their factory got the FIFA contract at very short notice after a Chinese supplier fell through: the women had one month instead of the usual six to produce world-class work. They succeeded.

It is difficult to imagine a World Cup without Messi; it is also difficult to imagine a World Cup without footballs. Messi makes €2.7 million a month, plus endorsements. These women make the minimum wage in Pakistan – and while they were proud of their efforts, we hardly acknowledge them.

This erasure is an offshoot of the greater World Cup paradox. More…