Spread the word — memorably!

23 October 2013
The response to the 2014 Irish Budget from NGOs has been a disappointed one, as you might expect. A useful resource for finding out about the NGO response is, as ever, the Dóchas website. Take a look at http://dochasnetwork.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/budget-2014-reactions/. And if you feel as strongly as some of the groups quoted here we would urge you to make your voice heard (there is a link on the page). The timing of the budget cuts could be seen as ironic, at least in an international context, as development aid is about to be in the news again. On the 24th of October, the UN celebrates World Development Information Day. Now approaching its fourth decade (it was instituted in 1972), its aim was, and is, to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. To quote the UN website: “The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.” The internet, digital media, tweets and blogs were probably not part of the UN’s vision in those days; even satellite links were a fairly recent development in 1972. Today, thanks to a sky full of satellites and fibre optic links around the globe you can guarantee instant communications with almost anywhere — even video communications, and often by mobile phone. But while all these communication resources help Friends of Londiani and others like us to get our message across (and, incidentally, to get instant blogs from our Harambee volunteers rather than wait weeks for a letter), it doesn't necessarily guarantee that we’ll be heard. Today it’s less about a decent phone line than about being heard above the competing noise! So, as ever, we are grateful to our supporters and volunteers for finding effective and memorable ways of letting people know about us. Everyone, from those who climb mountains to raise funds, to blogging volunteers in Londiani and even those who simply vote for our video at http://www.bettertogether.ie/video/making-difference-education-friends-londiani is helping to spread the word about our work. And, at a time when government is still cutting back on development aid, “improving the dissemination of information,” as the UN puts it, is a more urgent need than ever. Our thanks to you all.