Dóchas Public Engagement 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 Public Engagement Award will celebrate an effective communications piece or public engagement campaign. It recognises an organisation that actively and effectively engages the public on issues related to international development and humanitarian work, in a dignified, respectful manner, in line with the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages.


WINNER: Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign – Trócaire

Trocaire - Divest Dail lights

On December 17th 2018, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill was signed into law by President Higgins, making Ireland the first state in the world to commit to divesting its sovereign wealth fund of investments in the fossil fuel industry. The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign was launched in response to the devastating impacts of climate change, being experienced by the most vulnerable communities in the countries where Trócaire works.

Trócaire communicated with the public in new and innovative ways:
-Through documentary screenings viewed by approx. 2,000 people in universities, parishes and other cultural spaces;
-By inviting constituents, with Stop Climate Chaos, to meet and discuss divestment with their TDs en masse;
-By bringing journalists to see the impacts of climate change first hand in the countries where Trócaire works and positioning these stories in a wide variety of media outlets;
-By holding in-depth experiential weekends with young people on divestment and climate change;
-By getting the media’s attention with eye catching stunts and by producing disruptive, satirical social videos, viewed by approximately 400,000 people.

At all times during the campaign, we placed the individuals and communities in developing countries to the fore in our messaging. We communicated using the principle of climate justice; which means those who have done the least to create the climate crisis are suffering the most from its impacts. The Divestment campaign was intended as a strategic catalyst to build public momentum and political engagement for more ambitious and urgent action from Ireland on the climate change crisis.

Find out more.

#StandwithSyria – GOAL Global

GOAL - Stand with Syria

The #StandwithSyria mural, featuring the face of a war-weary but resilient young Syrian girl, provided GOAL with a unique public platform to highlight one of the world’s most critical and protracted conflicts.

Not only did the public stop and engage on this humanitarian crisis, but they also were offered the opportunity to be transported to Syria to briefly experience the terror of life there using innovative Virtual Reality (VR) headset technology. They were able to enter an unthinkable world where families live through hell every day, faced with bombings, death and destruction. They were also invited to write messages of solidarity for the millions of Syrians living through this daily turmoil and to share these messages on social media using the hashtag #StandwithSyria. The mural was seen by thousands of people who either walked down Curved Street or drove by, on March 15th. More than 200 people posted messages of solidarity and over 200,000 more were reached through social media channels.

This unique piece of public engagement gave people ownership of this issue. Created by the art collective, SUBSET, hundreds of visitors stopped on Curved Street on March 15th and talked to GOAL staff and volunteers who briefed them on the war in Syria, its impact on the population, and on GOAL’s work on the ground providing vital humanitarian support.

Find out more.


Vision 2030 - Children in Crossfire

Children in Crossfire - Vision 2030

‘Vision 2030’ takes a multi-layered approach to communicating with and engaging the public in International Development, aid and action for change. It offers an alternative to the ‘charity/rescue’ approach which often dominates the public sphere when discussing International Development.

The initiative includes:
-Little Book Series: a series of ‘easy read’ books which link practical everyday activities with the SDGs and wider development issues. These books are disseminated to Supporters, Development Education Target groups, Multipliers and the general public.
- Multipliers: working with already established community, arts and activist groups to enhance their understanding of International Development issues, and subsequently identify and work with key individuals to increase their capacity to act as ‘multipliers’ for our public engagement messages.
-Social Media: using an online ‘Spin the Bottle’ tool to link the SDGs to Ireland’s efforts to eradicate poverty through development.
-On the Streets and Indoor Workshops: using interactive fun games and tools to directly engage the general public in conversations about the SDGs, aid and development and to help mobilise our public’s capacity for change.
-Training of Trainers: a bespoke training course for youth workers focusing on International Development issues as a means to support young people on their journey as active citizens who work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in an ever-changing interdependent world. The training course is accredited through Open College Network for both the youth workers and the young people.

Children in Crossfire are passionate about working with public audiences to provide a new narrative for International Development, which differs from the dominant charity model of ‘us and them’. To ensure our communications are empowering and respectful we operate a communications working group made up of staff across our three country programmes.


Judge: Martin Mackin, Director of the public affairs division Q4PR

Martin is the Director of the public affairs division and a founder partner of the Q4PR, one of Ireland’s leading full-service communications companies. Acknowledged as one of Ireland’s leading communications campaign strategists, Martin works with a wide range of public and private sector clients. An integral part of Martin’s work with his clients is ongoing strategic counsel and issues management. In public information and public affairs campaigns Martin has extensive experience of: Developing campaigns from scratch, Commissioning and directing market research, Designing bespoke campaigns to meet the needs of the client, and Ensuring successful management of all the organisational, media and stakeholder engagement required by each campaign.

In 2003 Martin was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard, where he designed and taught a course on the European integration process. He has a BA Hons in French and English from UCD and a Masters in European Social Policy Analysis, following studies in NUI Maynooth, Bath and Tilburg. Martin is a former member of the board of Culture Ireland, the state body with responsibility for the global promotion of Irish cultural endeavour. He is a board member of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. He is a former member of Seanad Eireann.