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Minister Costello welcomes poll showing 88% of Irish people are proud of overseas aid programme

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello, TD, today welcomed the results of an MRBI poll which found that 88% of Irish people are proud of Ireland’s overseas aid programme.

The Minister was speaking ahead of the Dóchas Annual Conference in Dublin, where he will discuss the role of NGOs in shaping public attitudes on aid, development and global poverty.

Minister Costello said:

“Irish Aid has been recognised time after time, by independent international observers, as one of the best aid programmes in the world. Irish Aid is the Irish people’s aid programme and I am glad that the public takes pride in our role in supporting the world’s poorest communities to tackle hunger and poverty.

“Through our effective and targeted partnerships with governments and communities in the developing world, enormous success has been achieved in increasing the number of children at school; immunising against childhood diseases and providing clean water, basic healthcare and improved economic opportunities to millions of people. We spend a little over 5 cents of every €10 that the country produces on overseas assistance. This supports millions of people  –  the vast majority of whom live on less than €1.25 a day – to build better futures for their families.

“Our aid is delivering results which we can see and measure: There are now 46 million more children in school in Africa than 10 years ago. Even allowing for population growth, there are 15 million more children alive today than a decade ago, thanks largely to a targeted and widespread vaccination programme, which Ireland has supported.

“Irish people have contributed to these remarkable results through our deep-rooted solidarity with the people of the developing world. Public support is critical to our ongoing efforts and I believe that Irish Aid and NGOs must strive to communicate the progress that is being achieved by Governments and communities in the developing world, with the support of donors including Ireland.”

Today’s conference C (Cubed) will focus on how NGOs can creatively communicate complex ideas about the effectiveness of international aid. 

Minister Costello urged NGOs to move away from negative imaging and messaging which still tends to portray people in the developing world as passive victims.

“Too often the messages and images portrayed in fundraising and communications focus on the negative and the simple. We must communicate the more complex picture of international development and portray people in developing countries as active citizens rather than just victims; as agents in their own political and economic change. It is not only the right thing to do: international research has shown it is what the public wants to see and read.”