Dóchas Global Citizen Award 2019

The Dóchas Awards, now in their fifth year, are an opportunity to come together and celebrate the inspiring humanitarian and development work of individuals and organisations in the Dóchas network. Find out more about the Dóchas Awards 2019, the other award categories and the Dóchas Awards Photography Competition.

The Dóchas Global Citizen Award acknowledges an outstanding individual, who shows leadership, courage and commitment and inspires and empowers others to work towards ending global injustices and inequality.


Self Help Africa – Mary Sweeney

Global Citizen Award - Mary Sweeney

Mary’s career in International Development began in the 1980s working with Concern in Tanzania and Sudan, supporting hundreds of smallholder farmer communities to improve households nutrition. Mary has continued to work tirelessly across multiple countries, from managing women-led and youth projects for Eritrean refugees, to managing large-scale projects and several volunteers for APSO in east Africa. Mary worked with Trocaire for 18 years providing field support work in over 20 countries globally and engaging and inspiring teachers and school children across Ireland in her Development Education work.

In her current role as Gender and Social Inclusion Advisor with Self Help Africa , Mary advocates for the greater voice, choice and control for women over their lives and has embraced the role of safeguarding  across all the communities SHA  supports. Mary is a hugely active member of the Gender Based Violence consortium and recently represented them at a GBV conference in Amman, Jordan.  Mary’s passion and devotion to her work continues to inspire and empower thousands of people in Africa, her co-workers and partners, peers, friends and family.


Judge: David Donoghue, former Permanent Representative to the United Nations

David Donoghue has had a long and varied career in Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. He was one of the Irish Government’s negotiators for the ground-breaking Good Friday Agreement and has also served as Irish Ambassador in Russia, Germany and Austria.   From 2001-4 he was the Director General of Ireland’s development co-operation programme, today known as Irish Aid.  He also served as Political Director from 2009-13, a post which gave him responsibility for Ireland’s overall foreign policy. From 2013-17 Ambassador Donoghue was the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in New York.  He served as co-facilitator (with Kenya) for the UN negotiations which led to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.   He also served as co-facilitator (with Jordan) for the negotiations which produced the New York Declaration on large movements of refugees and migrants, adopted at a special summit in September 2016.