A recent Dóchas survey of over 1,000 adults in Ireland shows that two thirds are in favour of supporting overseas aid, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new data comes as The UN’s World Food Programme recently estimated that up to 270 million people will experience acute hunger in 2020 and fear that 12,000 people per day could die from hunger by the end of the year. This is potentially more than the number of people that will die from COVID-19 itself.
At the height of the global lockdown, the UN reported that around 1.5 billion children were out of school. As Irish children return to school this month, it is estimated that around 20 million girls who were in secondary school, will never return to the classroom. There is also substantial evidence that domestic violence is on the rise.
Furthermore, a recent report by the Gates’ Foundation shows that vaccine coverage, a good proxy measure for how heath systems are functioning, has dropped to levels last seen in the 1990s. The report states “We’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks, as result of COVID-19”.
Dóchas, The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, is today launching a new campaign to raise awareness of Ireland’s contribution to overseas aid and international development. The campaign also aims to influence the Government to continue its support for overseas aid and development during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Dóchas’ chief executive officer Suzanne Keatinge said “We know there are still huge challenges facing the Government and the country, both in the run up to 2021 budget and beyond. But we also know that Ireland has a proud history of reaching out and supporting those who need it most across the globe. We are urging the Government to continue in that proud tradition, especially during this challenging time, and ensure the aid budget is maintained. As Ireland’s Dr Mike Ryan from the World Health Organisation continues to remind us: “No one is safe until we are all safe.”
The Irish Government has already set out its pledge in the Programme for Government to maintain Ireland’s existing investments in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) - €838 million in 2020 - and to continue to strive to reach 0.7% GNI. Dóchas is urging the government in Budget 2021 to maintain that momentum.
Dóchas is also urging the Government to respond to both COVID-19 and pre-existing humanitarian needs; to support the implementation of Ireland’s International Development Policy ‘A Better World’ to ensure Ireland’s quality aid programme quickly adapts to the changing context presented by the pandemic, and to support the full, coordinated cancellation of all bilateral, multilateral and private sovereign debt repayments due in 2020 and 2021, from low and middle-income countries.
Ireland's Global Solidarity Campaign
Dóchas and its members are asking all of our friends and supporters to watch the video below and then share it on social media with the hashtags #IrishAidWorks and #LeaveNooneBehind. We are also asking that people tag their local TD in their post.
If you are unsure as to who is your local TD, please use this website https://www.whoismytd.com/