Development Perspectives were winners of the 2017 Dóchas SDG Champion Award. We spoke to Stephanie Kirwan of Development Perspectives to gather her impressions on winning the Award and to learn more about their exceptional work for SDGs.
How did you feel when you found out you were nominated for a Dóchas Award? And how did it feel when you won?
It was an honour to have been nominated for the SDG Champion Award. Having the support and commitment from both the public and other Dóchas member organisations for the #SDGchallenge is great.
To have been nominated alongside other organisations including NYCI and INTO Global Citizenship Schools who are contributing great work to the achievement of SDGs was a privilege.
When Development Perspectives won the SDG Champion Award, it was quite overwhelming. We were extremely grateful to all those involved in the judging process.
You won the SDG Champion Award – what is the most challenging part of this work, and what is the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of working on a project involved with the Sustainable Development Goals is meeting so many passionate, creative and ambitious active citizens that are working tirelessly to make the aims of the SDGs a reality. Over the last 18 months, we have had the honour to work in close partnership with many organisations across Ireland that are contributing daily to achieving the goals. We have also been fortunate to meet with citizens across Ireland, from many community groups, who are eager to learn more about the goals and how they can take an active role. This energy and drive has really been extremely rewarding.
The most challenging part of this work is, firstly, the limited financial resources which small NGOs have access to for projects such as the #SDGchallenge. The strain which is often put on personnel within the sector can be intense. The second challenge is the lack of recognition of the importance of development education that can sometimes happen within the development sector. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, development education is key.
What’s next? What are you working on at the moment that you’re excited about?
It has been an incredible journey to date for the #SDGchallenge and no doubt 2018 will be the same. As we continue through cycle 2 of the project, we look forward to continuing with the SDG Advocate programme and our National Showcase Event, which will take place in February 2018. This showcase event will highlight the important work which the SDG Advocates have implemented in communities across Ireland.
We have also recently launched this years ‘Perspectives – A Time to Focus’ short film competition whereby members of the public will be creating short videos to highlight the SDGs. We look forward to sharing these videos with the public with the hope of increasing public awareness.
Finally, we are looking forward to the 4 upcoming #SDGchallenge workshops taking place in Tipperary on the 4th of December, in Drogheda on the 16th of January, in Sligo on the 6th of February and in Dundalk on the 6th of March.
Who do you admire in the field? Name a few people who do similar work that you find inspiring, and tell us why?
As an organisation, that benefits so much from the dedication and passion of our team we are reluctant to name individuals as we recognise that ‘it takes a village’
We would, however, like to acknowledge the fantastic work of organisations like Trócaire, Concern, IDEA and Dóchas who have been leaders within the Irish development sector. And of course, there are many others. The work of these organisations and the passion and commitment of the people working within them has always been an inspiration and a motivation for us to keep doing what we’re doing.
We’ve also been very fortunate to work with fantastic partners overseas, such as Ben Mongi and his colleagues at Uvikiuta, Dorothy Tooman and her colleagues at DEN-L and the teams in Civicus and Concord. Seeing the standard of work being done on a global scale has also been influential to the work of Development Perspectives.
For more about Development Perspectives' work, visit www.developmentperspectives.ie