Dóchas Annual Conference 2015

Seek to innovate - Prepare for change

The Dochas 2015 Annual Conference took place on the 7th May in the Croke Park Conference Centre in Dublin, and focused on the importance of creativity in a new era for global development.


Mark Little photoMark Little is the founder of Storyful, the world’s first social media news agency.  Storyful discovers and verifies the most compelling content on platforms like YouTube and Twitter and works with the biggest news organizations and social networks in the world, including YouTube, Facebook. ABC News and the New York Times.

Mark has more than two decades of experience in journalism. He was an award-winning foreign correspondent for RTE, presented the current affairs programme, Prime Time, and was RTE’s first Washington correspondent. 

Mark is now based in New York offices and is Storyful’s Director of Editorial Innovation. In 2014, he was named Ireland’s Net Visionary of the Year and also Ireland’s Internet Hero.  

Kate Krukie

Kate Krukiel is the Director of Strategic Partnerships across the United Nations and International Organizations for Microsoft.  She joined Microsoft in 2006 and is responsible for developing the key strategic objectives and areas of ICT alignment into the substantive work across these organizations, from data analysis to capacity building and connectivity.   Ms. Krukiel is a key advisor to top level UN technology stakeholders and passionate about applying technology to build capacity, increase transparency and key innovative services into the developing world and emerging markets.

Ms. Krukiel, who is based in London, studied Computer Science at the University of Mary Washington in the United States.  Prior to joining Microsoft she spent 8 years in the global consulting space focused on public sector solution development.  She has a broad range of innovative solution development and design and in her free time an active volunteer and mentor for women in technology

The Awards

The 2015 Conference also featured two inaugural Dochas awards -  Global Citizen of the Year and Innovative Programme of the Year.  which celebated  particularly inspiring people in the development sector, and innovative programmes undertaken by Irish NGOs.  The winner of the Global Citizen of the Year Award went to  Breda Gahan, of Concern Worldwide who has dedicated her life to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Innovative Programme of the Year Award went to Plan Ireland for their programme- “Promoting Universal Birth Registration for Children’s Development and Protection’. To find out more visit our awards news page.

Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award Nominees

Heydi Foster, Misean Cara
Heydi Foster Breslin is CEO at Misean Cara, a recipient of Irish Aid funding, with an annual budget of E16 million, working with missionaries to deliver services in 50 of the poorest countries in the world. Heydi, a Harvard Graduate is a Presidential appointee to the Human Rights and Equality Commission, where she acts as Commissioner. Born in Guatemala, Heydi was displaced during the civil war. She worked in Mexico and Boston with vulnerable migrants, including refugees, asylum seekers, children and women and girls in prostitution, providing key support services. She furthermore influenced policy via lobbying and advocacy campaigns. She founded an inner city school to meet the educational needs of low income Latino and African-American students in Boston.  She moved to Ireland in 2006 leading Exchange House National Travellers Services in its work to improve opportunities for Travellers within Irish society.  She has worked globally for over 25 years in addressing the human rights, educational and social needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people across several continents and countries.

‘Heydi’s story is an inspiring example of what can be achieved through belief and determination. Against the odds of fleeing a civil war, finding a new home and starting over, she has dedicated her life to making a difference globally.’- quote from a nomination for Heydi for the Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award.

Breda Gahan, Concern Worldwide
Breda Gahan is a Dublin trained Nurse and Midwife (Mater and Coombe Hospitals) with a Masters Degree in Public Health from Liverpool University.  She has worked and lived overseas since 1984 in Iraq, Sudan, Cambodia, and Mozambique, following on with frequent visits to Bangladesh, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and other countries.  For the past 27 years, joining in 1988, she has worked with Concern Worldwide, principally supporting Health and HIV programmes in some of the world’s poorest countries. Breda held the position of Chairperson of the Dóchas HIV and AIDS Working Group from 2006 to 2010.

 ‘Breda is the ultimate Global Citizen – having worked in the development and humanitarian fields for the past 27 years, she has contributed in some of the most difficult contexts imaginable – ranging from emergency responses in Rwanda and Burundi to work in Haiti.’  - quote from a nomination for Breda for the Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award.

Paula Galvin
Paula Galvin has been a primary school teacher for the past thirty five years. She has taught in England and at post-primary level in Zimbabwe. Paula`s M.Ed in HRCE dealt with children`s engagement with global justice issues and she spearheaded the campaign to have Fairtrade Town status conferred on Clondalkin in 2014. A recent finalist in the National Volunteer of the Year awards, her classes have also won the Irish Aid Our World Awards on three occasions as well as awards from Integration Ireland,Trocaire and Concern. She is a volunteer with Focus Ireland, and lectures part-time in global citizenship at St Pats, Drumcondra and is a Right Sparks facilitator with Amnesty Ireland.

 “It is a pleasure to nominate Paula for this award in recognition of her tireless commitment to infusing a global dimension into her education and community work. She has a passionate interest in global justice issues and in teaching young children about these issues in the classroom.” – quote from a nomination for Paula for the Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award.

Virginia Hardy
At 86 years of age, Virginia has a long history of volunteering. Since retiring from the BBC in Northern Ireland in 1989, Virginia has been volunteering with the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Ethiopia. 

Trained as a shorthand typist in Belfast she has worked in Hong Kong, for the United Nations in New York for 6 years and then for 32 years with the BBC in Northern Ireland. During her 25 years visiting Ethiopia, sometimes for periods of a year to latterly a couple of months, she has been an English teacher, information officer with an urban development project, minibus driver and  numerous other advisory capacities! 

‘Virginia’s solidarity with people in need enables her to be an impressive ambassador for the role of the volunteer. She visited Ethiopia in the 1980s during the most extreme famine that the country has experienced in modern times. On return, Virginia felt inspired to do some volunteer work in Ethiopia after her nearing retirement. She is an inspiring woman.’-quote from a nomination for Virginia for the Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award.

Mary Keogh
Mary Keogh has worked for over 10 years at an international level on disability rights and international development. She previously coordinated a European wide research project on monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities in EU member states.  She currently works with CBM -a disability and international development organisation where she provides technical assistance on research, policy and advocacy to their Irish, EU and Australian offices. She has also worked with the UNDP and the World Bank on disability-inclusive development. She holds a PhD in Law and Public policy. Her PhD research contributed to the limited field of research on how disability is mainstreamed in international development. She is also the author of a publication due to be released in late April entitled 'The Future is Inclusive: How to make International Development Disability Inclusive.'

‘Mary has been a powerful voice and strong advocate for people with disabilities, in particular those living in the most vulnerable communities in the world. Her work has had a tremendous influence on government policy and the wider international development sector. She is an inspiration to all who know her, and a most deserving nominee for this award.’ – quote from a nomination for Mary for the Dóchas Global Citizen of the Year Award.

Innovative Programme of the Year Award

A number of development projects were also  nominated in the category of Innovative Programme of the Year. These were projects and organisations that were thought to be leading the way, thinking outside the box and working towards global justice in an imaginative and innovative way.  

The programme nominations were:

  • Development Perspectives for their ‘Insight’ programme – Ireland

  • UNICEF for their ‘U-report’ programme – 11 countries

  • Plan Ireland for their programme ‘Promoting Birth Registration for Children’s Development and Protection’– Liberia and Sierra Leone

  • Oxfam Ireland for their ‘Female Food Heroes’ programme – Tanzania

  • Trócaire for their ‘Tackling Domestic Violence through working with Faith Communities’ programme- Uganda

Workshops on the day included

  • What are the essential elements of an innovative campaign? 

  • Beyond Charity: Innovative NGO-Private sector partnerships

  • Challenging the role of NGOs: ICTs and changing practice in international development 

Further resources



The Dóchas Annual Conference is proudly sponsored by JLT Ireland.

Insurance Broker providing General, Life & Pensions, Employee benefits & Personal Insurances. 


For a full list of conference sponsors click here