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Irish Aid launches new Development Education Strategy 2017-2023

Development Education, Policy, News/feature, Global, 2016
Irish Aid launches new Development Education Strategy 2017-2023

Minister Charles Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State Joe McHugh, TD, with Justine Nantale from the Irish Aid Centre.

The Irish Aid Development Education Strategy 2017-2023 was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe Mc Hugh, TD, on 21 December in Iveagh House, Dublin. 

Ireland has a long and proud history in development education thanks to many of the civil society organisations represented here today and which pre-dates the start of Ireland’s official aid programme which is itself now over 40 years old.  The Development Education Strategy 2017-2023 aims to increase access to development education in Ireland, in schools and colleges, in local and community groups, and among the old and young.

Development education is a lifelong educational process which encourages people to critically analyse and challenge the root causes and consequences of global hunger, poverty and injustice, challenge stereotypes and engage in action to bring about change in both their local and global communities.

Increasing awareness in Ireland of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live is a key component in Irish Aid’s goal to tackle global poverty and injustice, to promote peace and democracy and to safeguard human rights.  The world is facing profound challenges such as surges in migration, sustained poverty and environmental degradation, the need for education that promotes informed and sustained responses to these challenges has never been more apparent.  Development education seeks to promote out foreign policy values of a fairer, more just, more secure and more sustainable world. 

To support the development of the new strategy, Irish Aid, in 2015, invited the Global Education Network Europe, GENE, to conduct a European Peer Review of development education in Ireland.  The GENE Peer Review assessed the national context for development education in Ireland and made recommendations for the successor Development Education Strategy.  The Peer Review team included experts from Austria, Finland, Luxembourg and Belgium.  The findings of the review were published in the ‘GENE National Report on Global Education in Ireland’ which was launched in November 2015.

The Development Education Strategy 2017-2023 was informed by extensive consultation with partners from the formal education, youth, adult and community education, civil society and development sectors. Irish Aid hosted a Development Education National Consultation Day in April 2015. This facilitated roundtable discussions which provided the opportunity to discuss, debate and identify the challenges, opportunities and key priorities for development education in Ireland.  Irish Aid worked closely the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) in the development of the new strategy.  IDEA coordinated the establishment of three Task Groups, representing the formal education, adult and community education and youth sectors.  These Task Groups presented at the Irish Aid Development Education National Consultation Day, met regularly with Irish Aid staff and contributed written submissions to both the GENE Peer Review and the Development Education Strategy. 

The Development Education Strategy 2017-2023 aims to advance Irish Aid’s vision for a sustainable and just world, by working with our partners to provide an opportunity for people in Ireland to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as global citizens and to take action for a fairer and more sustainable future for all.