Dóchas Conference 2017 – ‘Reclaiming the Story’

12 Fri, May 02:00 PM to 12 Fri, May 05:30 PM


2017 Conference - Reclaiming the Story

Supported by Irish Aid

Our Generous Sponsors


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There are two ways to look at a challenge; as an obstacle to be overcome immediately or as a path that leads to changes and new ways of thinking.  Dóchas’ 2017 Conference will explore these new pathways to change. 

We know we are facing a new political reality where the space for civil society to promote the values of social justice, and to campaign to tackle the root causes of poverty, inequality and climate change, is both changing and shrinking.  Brexit and the US elections are symptomatic of this new political reality.  So how do we need to respond, organise, and change, in order to build a strong story of change, and then shout about it.     

The Speakers

Full Programme


Keynote address - Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Africans Rising and former International Executive Director of Greenpeace (including Q&A)


Session 1: Navigating for Change

Featuring James Crowley of the Crowley Institute and Professor John Gaventa, Director of Research, Institute of Development Studies.

How are NGOs thinking about and adapting to change to understand possible pathways to better leadership, accountability and effectiveness?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Session 2: Protecting Civil Society Space

Featuring Ellen Dorsey (Wallace Global Fund), Mandeep Tiwana (CIVICUS) and Ruairi McKiernan.

We need to break out of silos and work collectively as a diverse and vibrant civil society if we are to defend rights-based principles and civil society space.  What are some of the successes, challenges and opportunities?                                                                                                                                                                 

Session 3: Breaking out of our echo chamber

Featuring Jess Day (digital campaigner and founder of the ‘Let Toys Be Toys’ campaign.

Whilst there has been a lot of innovation in the sector on using new forms of social media, and bringing back storytelling as a way of getting our message across, are we actually succeeding in using these tools to reach outside of our existing supporter base? This session will explore ways  to understand the barriers to supporting your cause, and ways to craft your message to reach audiences outside of the 'usual suspects'.












Wrap-up panel discussion featuring James Crowley, Ellen Dorsey, Jess Day, Laura Sullivan



In the run up to the conference, we've commissioned a series of guest blogs. 

We asked leading figures across civil society 4 questions - around what they think of the challenges facing civil society, what NGOs need to change to fight these problems head on, how activists need to protect civil society space, and ultimately, how we can reclaim the story. 

We had some fascinating insights and contributions from our contributors:




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