Welcome to the Development Education dot IE Blog

Celebrity activism: Stars combat global warming

Celebrities doing their bit for the planet?

As brought to you by British satirical comic, the Viz.

Stars save planetMORE: blog on the main arguments for and against celebrity activism: ‘Sometimes I wonder if I am making it worse, or making it better’ by Ciara Regan, 25th June 2012.

Notes from Hong Kong: a stunning answer to the cynics

Photo: Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution by Pasu Au Yeung (20th September 2014) (Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0).

Photo: Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution by Pasu Au Yeung (20th September 2014)
(Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0).

It is genuinely humbling to walk from the ferry terminal towards Admiralty to the epicentre of the Umbrella Movement’s occupation site in Hong Kong.

Amidst the upmarket hotels, limousines, banks and giant billboards glorifying global overconsumption are literally thousands and thousands of posters, post-its and slogans demanding, in stark contrast, democracy, equality, care and tolerance.

As you walk along the normally frenetic overpasses (now ‘occupied’ and therefore closed to traffic), there are storyboard posters apologising for the ‘inconvenience’ to others caused by this particular struggle for democracy.  There are elaborately constructed barriers carefully structured to prevent easy dismantling.

Photo: Students hold a cram class at the Admiralty sit-in (13 October 2014) by staff reporters, South China Morning Post

Photo: Students hold a cram class at the Admiralty sit-in (13 October 2014)
by staff reporters (South China Morning Post).

You then begin to encounter students reading or working on laptops at ‘study centres’ built across the motorway divide (with signs requesting you to ‘protect the students, do not photograph faces’) and hundreds of sleeping bodies recovering from confrontations with police the previous night. More…

News: Using the guidelines for producing development education resources


This week we launched the Guidelines for Producing Development Education Resources, with its own dedicated section online developmenteducation.ie/guidelines.

Following the publication of Audit of Irish Development Education Resources research in April 2013, which looked at DE resources produced in Ireland over the period 2000-2012, the opportunity to develop a set of supportive strategies for resource producers was identified in the report.

By the autumn the guidelines had moved from an idea into action with the formation of the guidelines coordinating committee in December (the programme of activities delivered since the audit can be found here).

As a joint project with Dóchas (the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations) and the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) the development of the guidelines involved the constituent members of both organisations and the management committee members of developmenteducation.ie.

Over 40 individuals and organisations across all education Phases_imagesectors (primary level, postprimary education, adult education and the youth sector) and organisations of varying sizes took part in the public consultation in spring 2014. The finalised guidelines document almost doubled in size from the consultation document as a direct result of the comments from development educators during the consultation period.

The guidelines have been designed to act as a supportive  and practical tool for anyone to use – whether a teacher, a youth worker or development education workers – rather than as a prescriptive set of instructions.

We hope that they reflect the vibrant ideas, long experience and professionalism of development educators that have been central in preparing the final document.

Some of the key supporting characteristics of the guidelines include:

  • To recognise that anyone can produce a resource
  • To reflect on the target audience, potential and actual impact of a resource. Make evaluation a permanent feature of resource development (before, during and after production)
  • To learn from others: knowing resources already developed can assist in seeing ‘what’s out there’ already. Education practitioners have a lot to contribute to the development of a resource and can field test take-up
  • To use a range of tips, suggestions and examples in project planning
  • To consider the four key dimensions of development education as potential indicators for building a resource: i) knowledge and ideas, ii) values and perceptions, iii) capabilities and skills, iv) experiences and actions
  • To make decisions about content, context and driving narrative or voices (what perspectives are presented – i.e. African, Latin America, privileged, European, Male, official position, female, economic, child etc. )
  • To make decisions about educational approaches and learning outcomes – choosing appropriate indicators to fit the overall outcome of the resource.

Thinking about producing a resource and the Irish Aid annual grants scheme 2015

As clarified in the Irish Aid 2015 FAQ document:

“Yes, a proposal for the development of a resource is deemed eligible for funding in the 2015 grant round.”

The guidelines are offered as a tool for considering the production of a resource and could be used in supporting internal decisions and partnerships about what you may want to concentrate a resource on, whether it is a set of educational posters, a digital resource, video, print resource or otherwise and how to go about doing this.

The deadlines for the annual grant round are as follows

  1. Deadline for requesting an “Eligibility Criteria Form” is 5pm Monday 20th October. You must do this via the Irish Aid website Contact Form
  2. Deadline to return this completed form is Thursday 23rd October
  3. Deadline for the final application is Thursday 27th November at 5pm.

More information can be found at https://www.irishaid.ie/what-we-do/who-we-work-with/civil-society/development-education-funding

In the next fortnight develpmenteducation.ie will present a range of the resources that have been produced since the audit was published, which can be used for researching broadly what the DE resource landscape looks like and deciding what theme or sector you may wish to concentrate resource production efforts on.

In the meantime the audit can be read online at developmenteducation.ie/audit


Note: with the support of Dóchas, IDEA, developmenteducation.ie and Irish Aid print copies of the guidelines are also available. Contact us for a copy.



Youthwork news: One World Week 2014 events, opportunities and deadlines


Key Deadlines:

Friday, October 10th                                Mini Grants Application Deadline

Friday, October 17th                        Climate Change Challenge Weekend Application Deadline

Monday, October 20th                    Film Competition Submission Deadline

**More info below or visit http://www.oneworldweek.ie**

It is time for One World Week 2014

The World Young People Want – Connected, Respected, & Empowered

One World Week is a week of youth-led awareness raising, education and action that takes place throughout Ireland during the third week in November every year. During One World Week, young people learn about local, national and global justice issues and take action to bring about change.

 Time to Get Involved! More…

Notes from Żejtun: go green and live more sustainably

Photo:  St. Georges Bay, Malta (26 March 2014) by Riku Kettunen (CC license)

Photo: St. Georges Bay, Malta (26 March 2014) by Riku Kettunen (CC license)

By Rebecca Ferrante

I am from a small country situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, which is rich in history and unique ancient treasures.

At St. Margaret College Girls Secondary School Zejtun, my favourite subjects are the science subjects. I have been interested in science ever since I can remember. I have learnt that all things in life depend upon science. During my free time over the last four years I have also really liked attending drama lessons.

The reason I have chosen to write about sustainable living is because seeing such a beautiful island getting polluted by waste is devastating. More…

Ebola and Sierra Leone: health care at breaking point

Dr Khan, Sierra Leone’s leading virologist, credited with saving the lives of over 100 ebola victims, died of the disease on 29 July 2014

Dr Khan, Sierra Leone’s leading virologist, credited with saving the lives of over 100 ebola victims, died of the disease on 29 July 2014

In the first of a series of blogs about the impact and consequences of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, ARI researcher Jamie Hitchen, recently back from a year spent working in the country, focuses on health care.


“Ebola has revealed that there was no system in the first place and what we really had were first aid centres not hospitals.”

- Reverend George Buannie to the author, 11 September 2014

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 211 health workers have been among the estimated 3,000 victims of Ebola in West Africa.  In Sierra Leone alone, 4 doctors and as many as 60 nurses have died. In a country where there is one doctor per 45,000 people, compared to the UK rate of one doctor per 369 people, losing so many medical professionals cannot fail to have significant long-term effects.

How will it be possible to provide basic health care services with diminished human resources and a growing sense of distrust between citizens and government when they were already failing the population before the Ebola outbreak? More…

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.