THE CATALYST FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
ASHOKA IRELAND IMPACT MAGAZINE 2015
WHAT’S INSIDE: Welcome Note.......................................................................................................
A Global Home of Social Entrepreneurship .......................................
FELLOWSHIP Our Approach .........................................................................................................
New Fellow Spotlight: John Kearney .....................................................
Fellow Updates .....................................................................................................
Fellow Spotlight: Steve Collins & Valid Nutrition.............................
Fellow Spotlight: Mary Nally & Third Age ...........................................
Fellow Spotlight: Brendan Dunford & Burren Life .........................
International Fellow Updates ......................................................................
International Fellow Spotlight: Sister Cyril Mooney .....................
SUPPORT NETWORK The Ashoka Support Network (ASN) ......................................................
Irish Times Innovation Profile: The ASN in Ireland ........................
Feature Partner Spotlight: A&L Goodbody .........................................
Planting A Seed: Social Finance in Ireland .........................................
CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS Ashoka Changemaker Schools ..................................................................
Meet Ireland’s Changemaker Schools ..................................................
Spotlight: Teaching with Empathy ...........................................................
Events from 2015 .................................................................................................
Ashoka Ireland Team ........................................................................................
WELCOME Dear Friends, I am pleased to share with you the inaugural edition of the Ashoka Ireland Impact Magazine - an annual report with a difference! 2015 has seen many highlights, a number of which are captured in the pages that follow. It has been a record year of engagement, support and growth within our network - all serving to advance the impact of our Fellowsâ€™ work. To provide three examples, over the past year: CoderDojo has grown from 534 clubs in 54 countries to 850 clubs across 63 countries; MyMind has increased appointments from 12,283 to 14,000; and ALISON has grown to over six million registered online learners. Fellowship - advancing the work of the social entrepreneurs in our network - is at Ashokaâ€™s core, and to help our Fellows explore new ways of raising funds, we have initiated a new social finance programme (p. 36). We have also significantly grown our support network, welcomed new strategic partners, hosted several community events in Ireland and abroad, and elected Ashoka Ireland Fellow #14, John Kearney (p. 12), to the community. We are grateful to everyone who has helped make this year such a success - with particular thanks to our Fellows, advisory board, support network members, and strategic partners. I hope you enjoy this edition and we look forward to continuing to work together into 2016 and beyond!
SERENA MIZZONI Director, Ashoka Ireland
ASHOKA: A GLOBAL HOME OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP Ashoka is a catalyst for social change. Our purpose is to help innovative social entrepreneurs make the world better for everyone by tackling the biggest social challenges.
We do this by: •
Identifying the very best social entrepreneurs and welcoming them as Ashoka Fellows into the global Fellowship;
Providing these social entrepreneurs with finance, access to a suite of professional services and a network of business leaders, entrepreneurs and partners who are committed to supporting them in building a sustainable and impactful organisation;
Supporting them to scale their model locally, nationally and globally by providing knowledge, best practices and global networks.
Global Statistics: The Ashoka Fellowship Network includes over 3,000 Fellows across 82 countries.
83% OF ASHOKA FELLOWS HAVE CHANGED A SYSTEM AT A NATIONAL LEVEL WITHIN TEN YEARS OF ELECTION 91% HAVE THEIR IDEAS REPLICATED 80% FEEL THAT BEING ELECTED TO THE ASHOKA FELLOWSHIP HAS BEEN CRITICAL TO THEIR SUCCESS
57% OF ASHOKA FELLOWS HAVE CHANGED A NATIONAL POLICY WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF ELECTION
€108,000,000 FINANCIAL SUPPORT SINCE 1981
82 COUNTRIES 37 OFFICES IMPACT MAGAZINE
OUR APPROACH Ashoka Ireland’s purpose is to help innovative social entrepreneurs make Ireland better for everyone by tackling the country’s biggest social challenges.
SELECT We select the people with the best ideas to bring positive changes to society.
SUPPORT We support them with finance, professional services and a network of business leaders who are committed to help them build sustainable and impactful organisations.
SCALE We help scale their idea locally, nationally and globally by providing knowledge, best practices and networks.
OUR CRITERIA In reviewing potential candidates for the Ashoka Fellowship, we apply an initial “knockout” test, considering “is this a new idea?” Four additional criteria are then applied, with an assessment of the social entrepreneur’s creativity, entrepreneurial quality, social impact, and ethical fibre.
THE NEW IDEA: Is this a new idea, solution or approach to a social problem that will change the pattern in a field?
CREATIVITY: Does the individual approach opportunities and obstacles creatively?
ENTREPRENEURIAL QUALITY: Does the individual have the determination, ingenuity and realism that characterise a world-class entrepreneur?
SOCIAL IMPACT: Is the idea likely to solve a social problem at a national or international level?
ETHICAL FIBRE: Is the individual trustworthy and do they exhibit the highest ethical standards?
FELLOWSHIP IN NUMBERS In June of 2015, Ashoka Ireland developed a Fellowship Valuation Model: a tool to assess the economic value generated by Ashoka for its portfolio of Irish Fellows through the Fellowship programme. Where possible, a € value was determined for activities offered under 3 main areas: 1. Financial Support 2. Professional Services Support 3. Network Support The results below reflect the period of Fellowship activity between 1st September 2014 and 1st September 2015 in support of 11 Ashoka Ireland Fellows.
€521,260 TOTAL VALUE OF SUPPORT TO FELLOWS
13% NETWORK SUPPORT
28.2% PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
NEW FELLOW SPOTLIGHT
IRISH COMMUNITY RAPID RESPONSE WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME JOHN KEARNEY TO THE ASHOKA IRELAND FELLOWSHIP NETWORK.
Based in West Cork, John is the founder of Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR), a network of volunteer first responders, doctors and paramedics. By capitalising on existing resources, ICRR is building a highly reactive, mobile unit of experts, and bringing the Accident & Emergency (A&E) services out of the hospital and directly to the people who need it.
THE PROBLEM In times of acute medical need such as cardiac arrest, 70% of patients in Ireland who die do so at home while waiting for care. In much of rural Ireland, ambulances have to navigate a complex network of backroads, meaning that it can take up to an hour to reach their destination, and causing a two-hour delay between the occurrence of a health emergency and the patientâ€™s arrival in hospital. In these incidences, the likelihood of death increases significantly with every passing minute.
“IN JUST ONE YEAR, ICRR’S NETWORK OF RAPID RESPONSE TEAMS HAS DEPLOYED MORE THAN 100 DOCTORS TO ASSIST NEARLY 500 PATIENTS.”
Established in the rural southwest of Ireland, ICRR is focused on saving lives in the “golden hour” – the critical time when high-level early intervention can save a life. Designed as a network of first responders, ICRR supports local emergency services by providing additional medical personnel, such as paramedics, doctors and community volunteers. ICRR helps to provide these teams with all the required training and equipment, ensuring that they can deliver the best possible results for those in need.
A native of Baltimore in West Cork, John chased adventure from an early age. Following stints in the Irish Navy and working as a pilot, he returned to Baltimore and set up a diving centre. After a diving accident resulted in a close friend becoming paraplegic, John decided to organise a team of volunteers to run an emergency intervention unit, the core of which subsequently became ICRR. John lives in Baltimore with his wife and children, and operates ICRR out of their head office in the nearby town of Skibbereen.
Find out more about ICRR on their website: www.icrr.ie
In just one year, ICRR’s network of rapid response teams has deployed more than 100 doctors to assist nearly 500 patients, with an estimated 2 lives saved each month as a result of this service. ICRR is on track to triple its fleet of General Practitioners to 300 over the next three years. The University College Dublin training programme will scale the ICRR model to other specialised 999 services, including Police and Fire, whose teams often arrive before ambulance services and are limited in their ability to help the injured.
ASHOKA IRELAND FELLOWS UPDATES FROM THE NETWORK IN IRELAND
INCLUSIVE BUSINESS LEADERSHIP A world where no one gets left out Launched in 2014, Inclusive Business Leadership (IBL)’s mission is to create and perpetuate a movement in the global business community to recognise, embrace and cater for the 1.3 billion people - currently classified as disabled - as valuable employees, customers and members of the community.
“The Fellows and Ashoka staff are a unique group of people - highly capable and original thinkers. Add to this the experience and wisdom of the Ashoka Support Network members and you have a potent force for positive change.” - Caroline Casey
VALID NUTRITION Ending malnutrition through enterprise Since 2010, Valid Nutrition has produced over 20 million life-saving sachets in Malawi, and has been instrumental in shaping the global market for RUTF so that manufacturing in developing countries, as opposed to offshore, is favoured. This has created an economic multiplier effect while also increasing competition and generating far greater value in terms of social and developmental impact.
THIRD AGE & FÁILTE ISTEACH Recognising Ireland’s greatest resource There are now 83 Fáilte Isteach groups operating in 23 counties throughout Ireland. On average, 2,500 migrant students from 76 countries receive free English language tuition from Fáilte Isteach each week. There are now over 800 volunteers making a contribution to their community through Fáilte Isteach.
ALISON & IRELAND REACHING OUT Teaching the world, for free A pioneer of free online education, ALISON has 6 million registered learners and 650,000 graduates across 180 countries worldwide. Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is a volunteerbased initiative building lasting links between the global Irish Diaspora and parishes of origin in Ireland. 14
“Ashoka Ireland: Impacting social change through raising the ambition and capacity of Irish social entrepreneurs to build a better Ireland.” - Mike Feerick
GROW IT YOURSELF (GIY) Fixing the food chain, one grower at a time GIY works with over 65,000 people and 1,500 community food groups each year, inspiring and supporting people to live healthier, happier lives by growing some of their own food at home, school, work and in the community. In 2016 the organisation will work with over 130,000 children in 4,500 schools in Ireland and the UK with its Sow & Grow schools campaign.
“Ashoka Ireland helps us make big dreams happen.” Michael Kelly
BRENDAN DUNFORD BURREN LIFE
Incentivising farmers to protect the environment There are currently 160 farmers participating in the Burren Life programme - an innovative community conservation initiative - covering 35,000 acres of land in the Burren region, with plans to expand this locally-led model to other regions in Ireland in the near future.
“Ashoka Ireland is supporting eco-social innovation in rural Ireland.” - Brendan Dunford
KRYSTIAN FIKERT MYMIND
Making mental health care normal MyMind has worked with more than 5,300 people in the last 12 months alone, operating in communities across Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. With more than 80 mental health professionals delivering services in over 10 languages, MyMind is well on its way to achieving full sustainability while delivering affordable and accessible mental health care.
“Ashoka Ireland is empowering MyMind to make positive and lasting change in the community through affordable & accessible mental health care for all.” - Krystian Fikert
JAMES WHELTON CODERDOJO
Inspiring a new generation of coders The CoderDojo movement is spread and supported by the CoderDojo Foundation, which helps set up Dojos around the world. In the past year, CoderDojo has grown from 534 clubs in
54 countries to 850 clubs across 63 countries.
“The support that CoderDojo has received through Ashoka Ireland’s pro bono partnerships (A&L & Deloitte) has been truly invaluable.” James Whelton
THE GREENPLAN Changing behaviour to tackle climate change Since 2010, 8 out of 14 Dublin fire stations have implemented The Green Plan, accruing over €11 million in savings. This methodology has been written into the Dublin Fire Brigade Business Plan, The Dublin City Development Plan and the annual Dublin City Council Business Plan, and is being applied to policy at the European Union level.
MAIREAD HEALY FUTURE VOICES
Empowering a new class of leaders Future Voices has enrolled over 100 young people in a 3-year Transformation Programme. 2015 saw the launch of the Youth:Elect campaign, which empowered people under the age of 30 from marginalised backgrounds to run for political office. In 2015, Mairead was named Newstalk Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and was featured as one of Tatler’s Most Influential Women in the Media.
IRISH COMMUNITY RAPID RESPONSE A mobile intensive care unit for rural areas ICRR’s network of rapid response teams has deployed more than 100 doctors to assist nearly 500 patients, with an estimated two lives saved each month as a result of this service. ICRR is on track to triple its fleet of General Practitioners to 300 over the next three years.
“Ashoka Ireland shifts the question ‘what can one person really do?’ into ‘what can we do to back this person & scale their idea?’” - Neil McCabe
FELLOW SPOTLIGHT: ENDING MALNUTRITION THROUGH ENTERPRISE
DR. STEVE COLLINS VALID NUTRITION
Dr. Steve Collins worked in many of the worst famines of the 1990s as a medical doctor, during which time he pioneered new methods for treating and preventing malnutrition. His community-based treatment model has been endorsed as best practice by UNICEF, the WHO and World Food Programme, and has been rolled out into 65 countries across the developing world. Dr. Collins is the founder of Valid International and Valid Nutrition, helping spread his treatment models on a global scale. He received an MBE for services to humanitarianism in 2001, and was elected as a senior Ashoka Fellow in 2009. In June 2015, he spoke to Business&Leadership Magazine about the challenges of innovating in the humanitarian sector, and shared some lessons learned along the way.
HOW WOULD YOU FRAME THE PROBLEM THAT VALID NUTRITION IS WORKING TO SOLVE? Chronic malnutrition affects millions of children globally, and if it’s not prevented by the age of 2, it leads to irreversible physical and mental damage. This means that children grow up with sub-optimal cognitive and physical abilities, leading to shorter, less productive lives, filled with more ill health. The disease is preventable but the scale of the problem means that to date, the public sector and social sector solutions have not been able to make any impact at real scale. At Valid Nutrition & Valid International, we aim to generate evidence on how public/private partnerships can impact on chronic malnutrition on a global level.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHEN SETTING UP YOUR ORGANISATIONS? CAN YOU SHARE ANY LESSONS LEARNED FROM ADDRESSING THESE CHALLENGES? Three key lessons stand out in my memory...
#1: THE POWER OF DATA When we first started Valid International, we came into conflict with the UN and the medical establishment, who didn’t like the idea of taking treatment authority away from doctors and instead putting it with the patients. The only way to overcome resistance was with high quality operational research and evidence. So Valid’s team developed a database of 25,000 cases that we shared with the UN, and which proved to be instrumental in changing their policy.
#2: REINVENTION OF THE FUNDING MODEL The process of change and innovation is a messy one: mistakes can happen, and in the medical world, when mistakes happen, people die. Charities are set up to actively promote social good, and as a result, their funding streams are heavily reliant on being seen to do good. The difference is subtle but absolutely fundamental. The problem is that this restricts innovation, because it does not allow agencies to be open and transparent about making mistakes. In a true social business, revenue streams are 100% aligned with social impact.
#3: SIZE MATTERS In this model image is less important than actual impact, removing the fundamental contradiction inherent in the charity model. People feel comfortable giving to large, wellknown agencies or charities. This results in a few big players calling most of the shots, and because these same players invest hugely in image and profile, it’s quite difficult for small organisations to break into accessing significant funding. For an organisation like us, which is turning over €3-4 million, we require larger grants or investments to expand but we find it difficult to compete with the professional fundraising and grant-chasing machinery set up by the larger NGOs.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR VALID? HOW ARE YOU TRYING TO SCALE GLOBALLY? Three elements are ahead for us: #1 – We have unfinished business in the treatment of starvation, particularly with India. 40% of the world’s malnourished children live in India, and they are the only major country that has not yet adopted our treatment model. We have been working with stakeholders for several years now and are at the point of a breakthrough: governments in Odisha and Bihar states have now agreed to pilot our treatment approach. #2 – We have been investing in Valid’s own resources in developing new surveying and mapping techniques. At the moment, standard Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) produce aggregated data that cannot be disaggregated down below district (1 million+ people) level.
We are developing new surveying instruments, generating heat maps that actually will illustrate what’s happening down to a village level form a national survey. #3 – We need evidence to demonstrate that a public/private collaboration selling complementary foods through retail channels can improve health whilst generating a financial return for investors. If we can show that this is possible, then we have a real game-changer – if you can make money by improving people’s lives then why on earth would you not do so?!
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the online edition of Business&Leadership Magazine in June 2015.
IF WE CAN SHOW THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE, THEN WE HAVE A REAL GAMECHANGER – IF YOU CAN MAKE MONEY BY IMPROVING PEOPLE’S LIVES THEN WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU NOT DO SO?! IMPACT MAGAZINE
FELLOW SPOTLIGHT: RECOGNISING IRELAND’S GREATEST RESOURCE
THIRD AGE & FÁILTE ISTEACH How can host countries help immigrants integrate? The question looms large in Europe, which is experiencing a migration emergency that many are calling the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. While governments struggle to cope with the increased demand on resources, small, independent organisations are stepping in to help migrants integrate in their host communities. An unusual pioneer in inclusion has been the independent, non-governmental volunteer centre Third Age, based in Ireland. Third Age began in the 1980s as an innovative community hub for the elderly, offering voluntary services, such as a listening helpline, and social activities all built around celebrating the ‘third age of life.’
For many years, Third Age catered primarily to the needs of seniors and retirees, but by 2006, its founder Mary Nally had noticed a change in the demographics of her village. Between 2004-2007, Ireland experienced a steep increase in immigration, with thousands of international newcomers joining communities in every town and village in Ireland. Mary cites an encounter with a young Polish mother in a supermarket; when Mary saw that the distressed woman could not read the packaging, she recognised this as another form of isolation.
“I SAT DOWN WITH MEMBERS OF OUR VIBRANT, ELDERLY VOLUNTEER FORCE, AND WE DECIDED THAT WE WOULD WELCOME THESE PEOPLE INTO OUR ORGANISATION. BY TEACHING THEM CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH, PERHAPS WE COULD HELP IMMIGRANTS TO INTEGRATE INTO THE COMMUNITY.” Calling itself Fáilte Isteach (“welcome in” in Gaelic), the English teaching programme spread by wordof-mouth, and within a year was rolled out to new communities. Almost ten years after its founding, the programme counts 72 branches nationally drawing on over 600 trained volunteers, 80% of whom are elderly. The impact is significant, with over 2,000 immigrants every week attending classes in the various national centers. As the migration crisis in greater Europe has grown, so have the numbers of migrants to Ireland, and Fáilte Isteach is increasingly becoming a key support network for the communities it operates in.
“We know that it’s having an impact in many ways – for parents, it means being able to help their children with homework. For others, it’s helping make them more employable in Ireland,” says Mary. Third Age has received both local and international recognition for its work, with funding awards from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, the Arthur Guinness Fund and others. In 2009, Mary was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship for her innovative vision as the founder of Third Age. For now, Third Age and its programmes remain based in Ireland, but international expansion is not off the table. Earlier in 2015, Mary spoke at the ‘Innovate to Restart’ conference in Italy, hosted by Ashoka and the Robert Bosch Foundation, and met with several social cooperatives, including Milan-based Piccolo Principe, which expressed interest in piloting a programme based on the Fáilte Isteach model. Asked whether she could imagine that Third Age and Fáilte Isteach could expand abroad in the near future, Mary is optimistic: “We would love to share what we have learned,” she says.
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the online edition of Forbes in August 2015.
FELLOW SPOTLIGHT: INCENTIVISNG FARMERS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
DR.BRENDAN DUNFORD BURREN LIFE
Ireland’s landscape has been shaped for millennia by human activity, most notably farming. This has yielded some wonderful legacies – from the national network of hedgerows and stone walls, to biodiversity-rich pastures sustained by grazing livestock. Recent decades have seen this legacy tarnished, however, as many farmers adopted modern technologies – including heavy machinery and agrochemicals – in an understandable effort to produce food more efficiently and to improve their income. Back in the late 1990s farmers in the Burren – possibly Ireland’s richest landscape for wildlife and culture – began to realise that though they could only produce limited quantities of food, they were also in effect producing a huge array of public goods and ‘ecosystem services’ – such as biodiversity (habitats, pollinators), clean water and carbon sequestration - for which there should be a reward.
While national agri-environment programmes such as Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) sought to address this, they simply didn’t ‘fit’ the Burren and were considered very restrictive by farmers. After several years of applied research, led by teams of academics and visionary local farm leaders, a new model for farming in the Burren was crafted through which Burren farmers could in effect be rewarded annually for their agricultural and environmental performance.
The ‘Burren Life’ model of farming for conservation can best be described as a locally-targeted, farmer-led and resultsbased approach to enhancing the Burren’s farmed environment. At its heart is a simple field-based system through which the environmental health of the land (soil, water, habitats etc) is estimated annually on a 1-10 scale, which in turn translates into an income for the farmer. High scores (9, 10) yield bonus payments to reward the exceptional management involved, while scores below 5 – equating to poor performance - yield no payment. Farmers must use their own experience, ingenuity and hard work if they want to deliver higher scores and payments but they tend to relish the freedom and incentive inherent in tackling this challenge. As farmers co-fund much of the work involved to generate higher scores, and as payment only issues on ‘delivery’ of environmental goods Burren Life can guarantee optimal ‘Value for Money’ for the taxpayer who funds the programme (through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Parks and Wildlife Service who sponsor Burren Life).
One of the many spin-off benefits of the project has been the number of farmers and conservationists – including HRH Prince Charles – who have visited the region to learn more about the Burren Life model. The impact of the Burren model has also led to the introduction of a new €70m measure in Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (2016-2020) to support locally led, results based programmes elsewhere in Ireland and has also fed into new research projects in the EU. The simple model has the capacity to be easily adapted to work on any field on any farm anywhere in the world.
After 6 years of operation, Burren Life is proud to boast a measurable improvement in the environmental health of 50% of the protected land of the Burren for every one of those six years. It is now set to be extended across the entire Burren with an annual budget of €3-4m, a huge social and economic dividend to a peripheral rural area.
The main lesson from the Burren Life story has been the appetite and ability of farmers to act as effective and impactful environmental stewards of their own land if they are given the trust, freedom, support and incentive to do so. Burren Life is a simple model which does just this. Check out www. burrenlife.com for more.
This excerpt was written by Ashoka Fellow Dr. Brendan Dunford.
“THE SIMPLE MODEL HAS THE CAPACITY TO BE EASILY ADAPTED TO WORK ON ANY FIELD ON ANY FARM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.”
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWS IN IRELAND SUPPORTING THE GLOBAL NETWORK AT LOCAL LEVEL In 2009, Ashoka Ireland pioneered the ‘Localiser’ process, a methodology to import social solutions to Ireland. From 2009 to 2013, the Irish office successfully embedded the innovations of 16 Ashoka Fellows from across Europe and North America in areas including education, healthcare and the environment. In addition to the Irish portfolio, Ashoka Ireland support these 16 Fellows with professional services, networks and media opportunities. Showcased below is a select group of international Fellows and their oganisations’ impact in Ireland.
MARY GORDON ROOTS OF EMPATHY, CANADA Empathy for kids Year launched in Ireland: 2009 Roots of Empathy is a classroom programme that reduces aggression among schoolchildren by raising their empathy and emotional competence. Students are instructed to observe a visiting infant and parent in class, thereby reflecting on their own feelings and interactions with others. Roots of Empathy has reached over 450,000 children in 18,000 classrooms worldwide, including over 3,000 in Ireland. Led by Barnardos, there are 65 Roots of Empathy programmes operating in Ireland, with a further 98 in Northern Ireland.
JEAN-MICHEL RICARD SIEL BLEU, FRANCE Exercise for older people Year launched in Ireland: 2010 Siel Bleu helps older people maintain the ability to function independently and retain social connections. With an emphasis on prevention, Siel Bleu offers unique exercises and physical training to delay the onset of age-related impairment and disease. Founded in France and brought to Ireland through Ashoka in 2010, Siel Bleu now serves over 1,000 people weekly in Irish nursing homes.
THORKIL SONNE SPECIALISTERNE, DENMARK The Autism advantage Year launched in Ireland: 2011 Specialisterne (The Specialists), is leading a global movement to create 1 million jobs for people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Copenhagen-based firm now has 51 employees, including 37 with autism, and revenues of $2 million. 80-90% of employees work at corporate partner sites, such as SAP, Microsoft, and Deloitte. In Ireland it is aiming to create 50 jobs for people with an ASD in 5 years.
JILL VIALET PLAYWORKS, USA Play to learn Year launched in Ireland: 2012 Playworks trains teachers and community volunteers to re-imagine break and recreation time to increase physical activity for students while teaching cooperation, conflict resolution and teamwork. Playworks pilot projects have launched in Galway and Dublin since 2013, through the Galway Education Centre and Galway Educate Together N.S., an Ashoka Changemaker School.
SANJEEV ARORA PROJECT ECHO, USA Technology for better medicine Year launched in Ireland: 2012 Dr. Sanjeev Arora’s Project ECHO uses video-conferencing technology and case-based learning to allow consultants to train primary care providers from rural areas. In New Mexico, the ECHO methodology has reduced waiting lists from 8 months to just 8 weeks. Connolly Hospital Dublin, Galway University Hospital and Cork University Hospital, along with the NHS in Northern Ireland, have all built ECHO programmes into their hospitals since 2013.
SASCHA HASELMEYER CITYMART, DENMARK Smart sustainable cities Year launched in Ireland: 2012 Citymart.com connects cities with innovative solutions to urban problems. Through a ‘Calls For Solutions’ process, cities go through a 12-month cycle from articulating a need to overseeing a completed pilot. In partnership with Dublin City Council, Citymart has launched Cities Pilot to End Poverty, inviting 30 cities to run a ‘Call For Solutions’ and meet solution providers at a matchmaking event in Dublin.
INTERNATIONAL FELLOW SPOTLIGHT
IN CONVERSATION WITH SISTER CYRIL MOONEY, EDUCATION INNOVATOR & ASHOKA INDIA FELLOW
In June 2015, we had the pleasure of welcoming Ashoka Fellow & education innovator Sister Cyril Mooney to our office for a round table lunch. The lunch was attended by key education influencers, Ashoka Fellows and Changemaker Schools. Sister Cyril has been living and working in India since 1956, where she has emerged as a nationwide leader in bringing quality education to urban and rural poor children. She received an Ashoka Fellowship in 1990 (making her the first Irish-born Ashoka Fellow!) and was awarded the Padma Shri, the Indian governmentâ€™s highest honour for civilians, in 2007.
In Calcutta, properly known today as Kolkata, she transformed a 120-year-old private Loreto college into the “rainbow” Sealdah school. “We mandated ourselves that we would take 25 per cent of poor children every time we did admissions,” she says, and over time this moved up to 50 per cent. To help street children keep up their attendance, accommodation was provided on site, in a model that has been copied by the West Bengal government. The 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged students, which they began in 1991, is now compulsory for all private schools under India’s Right to Education Act. The law commenced in 2010, guaranteeing free and compulsory education to all children aged three to 14. At first, the law got a frosty reception in some quarters. “In some places, the higher castes don’t want to share with the lower castes. That’s why we need to build up a whole consciousness in the population – a need for inclusive schooling,” says Sister Cyril. In some schools, “lower caste” children are not allowed to turn on the tap or touch utensils and must ask their higher caste peers for a drink of water. Or they are made to sit at the back of the class, with inevitable results.
“It’s very important that we create a climate where children feel wanted, and blossom and grow to their best potential. That’s why I’m against this cut-throat competition which has come into Ireland, and all these grind schools and points systems. You end up with people who are ‘all head’; they become doctors and get the high points but they don’t know how to relate to people.” A few summers ago, Sr Cyril led a team of volunteers to train “barefoot” teachers. They were helped by students from Loreto Sealdah who gave up part of their holidays. “Every day I got about 20 kids, put them in a bus, gave them a pack of dice and a pack of Bengali letters, and they went out and they played games every day. By the end of the summer they had all of the children knowing their letters and their numbers; they could add and subtract.” Yes, the problems are huge, but Sr Cyril believes the solutions are simple. From that small project, the families of the Eastern bypass developed adult literacy programmes and later small businesses. “Now they are practically independent of us.”
This is an excerpt from an article by Education Correspondent Joe Humphreys that originally appeared in the print and online editions of The Irish Times in July 2015.
THE ASHOKA SUPPORT NETWORK (ASN) A GLOBAL NETWORK OF BUSINESS LEADERS FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION The ASN is a global network of business leaders and entrepreneurs who commit finance, expertise and skills to support Ashoka Fellows in their growth as leaders and in scaling their organisation to increase their social impact. ASN members apply their creativity, energy and connections to effect positive social change. There are over 350 ASN members globally, with 24 members in Ireland.
IN JUST 12 MONTHS, ASN MEMBERS GLOBALLY PROVIDED 3,987 HOURS OF SUPPORT TO ASHOKA FELLOWS, AN AVERAGE OF 48 HOURS EACH IN 2014, 38% OF ASN MEMBERS MADE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS (ADDITIONAL TO THEIR SUPPORT NETWORK MEMBERSHIP) TO ASHOKA & FELLOW ORGANISATIONS, TOTALLING MORE THAN €1,500,000 OVER A TWELVE-MONTH PERIOD 91% OF ASN MEMBERS IN THE GLOBAL NETWORK SUPPORTED ONE OR MORE ASHOKA FELLOWS
GLOBAL ASN INDUSTRIES
18% Financial Services 32% Education Government/ Non -Profit Consumer Goods
4% 4% 6% 6%
Oil & Gas/ Mining
ASHOKA SUPPORT NETWORK MEMBERS IN IRELAND
Partner Draper Esprit
LADY BRITTA WILKINSON Partner Buchanan AG CATHERINE DUFFY
Partner A&L Goodbody
Partner A&L Goodbody
Founder The Giving Circle Amsterdam
MD, Global Customer Experience
Partner A&L Goodbody
Founder & Former MD
Chairman & CEO
Former Executive Director
National Treasury Management Agency
SIR STEVEN WILKINSON
Founder & CEO
Former Director Accenture
Founder The Small Foundation
Former Director Unilever
McKinsey & Company
IRISH TIMES INNOVATION PROFILE: THE ASHOKA SUPPORT NETWORK
ASHOKA TAKES THE ENTREPRENEURIAL APPROACH TO TACKLING SOCIAL PROBLEMS The Ashoka Support Network is made up of over 400 business leaders across the world. Network members are business entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, top executives and consultants. There are currently 24 members in Ireland, each with engagement plans that suit their particular skills, interests and availability. One Irish member of the network is Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney. “I got involved because I knew some of the Ashoka Fellows such as Caroline Casey of Kanchi”, he says. He has a strong belief in the power of social entrepreneurship.
“I think it can make a huge difference to society. Ashoka combines the passion, energy, and enthusiasm of social entrepreneurs with better business practice and provides resources to help them to succeed.” Coveney has two involvements with Ashoka. “As part of the support network I make a modest financial contribution and I am available to assist individual social entrepreneurs with advice and assistance
from time to time. They often have tremendous enthusiasm but can benefit from some advice in putting a business plan together or on some other aspect of their project and I am happy to sit down with them and talk them through that. I also sit on the advisory board which is there to support Serena Mizzoni and her team as they take on the business challenges of running Ashoka in areas such as fundraising and supporting the fellows with additional resources such as legal, business or tax advice.” Venture capitalist and fellow network member Brian Caulfield is another strong believer in the potential of social entrepreneurship. “I have always been interested in the idea of taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling major social problems”, he says. “I believe there is an incredibly good fit between the two. Entrepreneurs tend to think outside the box and in a very disruptive way. With most social problems a solution will not be found by throwing money at them. In some cases no amount of money will fix the problem. That’s why the entrepreneurial approach is more likely to succeed. Particularly because in many cases it is a community led approach. Rather than expecting some other body or organisation to fix the problem they look for a solution themselves.”
As with all network members Caulfield makes a financial contribution. “Part of my involvement is writing a cheque but I wouldn’t want to overemphasise that”, he says. “I think about it as an investment in social good rather than profit. I have been extremely lucky in life, I have been able to make money, but no amount of money that you could donate will fix most problems. When I give money I am trying to find ways of leveraging that donation so that it will have a disproportionate impact. I have found two things that can do that – Ashoka and education.”
“WHEN I GIVE MONEY I AM TRYING TO FIND WAYS OF LEVERAGING THAT DONATION SO THAT IT WILL HAVE A DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT. I HAVE FOUND TWO THINGS THAT CAN DO THAT – ASHOKA AND EDUCATION.”
He encourages others to join the network. “I absolutely would recommend people to get involved in the support network but it has to be something that fits in with your personal ethic and outlook. I would also particularly like to see an increase in the number of women involved. I hosted a lunch recently for successful Irish women and I hope that leads to an increase. One thing I have to say is Ashoka is very good at matching the engagements of the people who get involved with their skills and abilities and taking into account their other commitments.”
This is an excerpt from an article by Innovation Profile correspondent Barry McCall that originally appeared in the print and online editions of The Irish Times in October 2015.
Patrick Coveney & Brian Caulfield
FEATURE PARTNER PROFILE A&L GOODBODY “AS ONE OF IRELAND’S LEADING LAW FIRMS, AT A&L GOODBODY WE BELIEVE WE HAVE A DUTY TO PLACE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY AT THE HEART OF HOW WE OPERATE”
It is because of this that we endeavour, through our corporate responsibility programme “Step Up”, to partner with like-minded organisations such as Ashoka, who we can support in a meaningful way through pro bono assistance and offering our legal expertise to those who need it most. A core pillar of our “Step Up” programme is enterprise, and supporting people and organisations who seek to make a tangible difference in society through entrepreneurship. We pride ourselves on supporting Ashoka Fellows with the expertise that they need depending on their legal requirements. We do this by reaching out to our team of over 380 highly trained lawyers and matching Ashoka Fellows up with volunteer solicitors who can best assist them based on the area of law that they require support with. For social entrepreneurs starting up, this support can be invaluable as they seek to grow their enterprise. Our lawyers also experience first-hand the benefits of supporting social enterprise and how their expertise can make a real difference outside of their day-to-day work.
To achieve this, we have ensured that the time dedicated by employees is facilitated by the Firm’s leadership, something which we believe is essential to this type of initiative. We firmly believe that the best corporate responsibility practices for companies should reflect that organisation’s wider business strategy and area of expertise, for the simple reason that being a responsible business involves much more than making financial contributions.
“SINCE OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH ASHOKA BEGAN IN 2013, 77 OF OUR LAWYERS HAVE DEDICATED OVER 800 HOURS OF PRO BONO SUPPORT TO 12 OF ASHOKA FELLOW ORGANISATIONS INCLUDING MYMIND, THE CODERDOJO FOUNDATION, FUTURE VOICES IRELAND AND GROW IT YOURSELF, TO NAME A FEW.”
Specific projects we have been involved in to date include supporting Future Voices Ireland, who are committed to empowering and supporting young people coming from the most disadvantaged communities across Ireland, by providing them with legal counsel on the incorporation of their organisation. We have also advised Grow it Yourself (GIY), which is a global movement of people who grow their own food at home, school, work and in the community. Our legal work is varied, ranging from the drafting and updating of corporate constitutions, assisting social enterprises with data protection and intellectual property issues, to the incorporation of enterprises as a legal entities. Companies can make a real difference to non-profits and social causes by realising that time and expertise are as much of an asset to contribute as money. Making pro bono a part of how companies do business doesn’t just benefit organisations that need support, it also inspires and engages employees in a meaningful way.
“At A&L Goodbody, we have seen first-hand greater employee engagement and satisfaction as a result of our pro bono programme and work with Ashoka. Our employees are proud to say that in addition to their day-to-day work, they have been able to support some of Ireland’s most impactful social entrepreneurs.” It is this talent that, if harnessed, will help to address the country’s most pressing social challenges and we will continue to play a central role in supporting their continued growth and success.
Sinéad Smith is Corporate Responsibility Manager at A&L Goodbody in Dublin.
PLANTING A SEED
THE BEGINNINGS OF SOCIAL FINANCE IN IRELAND THROUGH OUR GLOBAL SOCIAL FINANCE INITIATIVE, ASHOKA HAS TO DATE WORKED WITH MORE THAN 20 FELLOWS, RAISING OVER €100 MILLION IN CAPITAL. ASHOKA SUPPORT NETWORK MEMBER STEVEN WILKINSON INTRODUCES THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL FINANCE - A NEW PROGRAMME IN THE IRISH OFFICE.
A challenging economic environment over the past few years has made it even harder for Ashoka Fellows to fundraise. In addition, charitable financial resources are increasingly limited. This requires Fellows’ organisations to move beyond a reliance on grants in a move more to financially self-sustaining business models. From our experience of working with the 3,000 social entrepreneurs in our global Fellowship, Ashoka has learned than many socially impactful projects do not operate pure for-profit business models. They are either non-profit entities, or non-profits that are evolving to a hybrid business model that combines for-profit and nonprofit activities. These hybrid businesses face significant challenges including complex legal structures, financial returns that are not
high enough to attract venture capital, and, in some cases, a lack of available ‘exit’ options for investors. During our support of Fellows in the sourcing of social finance we have observed that, with the right structuring, such businesses can raise investment and become financially sustainable.
WHY? CONTRADICTIONS WHAT? KNOWLEDGE HOW? MENTORING. WHY?
Raising finance for social ventures is more challenging than raising funds for for-profit ventures. The reason is simple: for-profit business ventures have a clear profit objective and a mathematical relationship to the capital being sought. Social ventures do not have this simplicity of objective, and must, therefore, present their case in the light of desired outcomes that are less quantifiable and usually more complex than the simple “money in, money out” formula. Unfortunately, the basic laws of financial gravity apply equally in both spheres. Addressing the challenge in this inherent contradiction is, therefore, at the heart of Ashoka’s social finance initiative.
Executing on a successful social venture with the aim of creating a sustainable and self-sustaining business operation requires education and support, above all else. From delving deeply into the financial implications of the business model to sharing experience and corporate finance processes, the “what” is about sharing, educating, demystifying, and professionalising the social venture. It is also about understanding the characteristics of the social mission and the for-profit motive and finding a happy balance between the two.
Raising finance for whatever kind of venture is a process that succeeds best when those responsible for raising the capital design a rigorous and disciplined process, that is realistic in its timing: people don’t make financial decisions on the spur of the moment and often take months to research and attain a level of comfort with the entrepreneur who seek their investment. Ashoka’s social finance initiative will supply this knowledge, through a team of specialists with relevant experience. The goal is to enable as many social ventures as possible in their mission to create a sustainable legacy by enabling everyone to lead happier, less discriminated, more valuable lives.
“BY MARRYING THE BEST PRACTICES OF CORPORATE FINANCE WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CHALLENGES OF THE SOCIAL BUSINESS MODEL, ASHOKA IS PROVIDING AN VALUABLE RESOURCE TO TODAY’S CHANGEMAKERS.”
ASHOKA IRELAND SOCIAL FINANCE COMMITTEE •
Sir Steven Wilkinson, Founder & CEO, Buchanan AG
Brian Caulfield, Partner, Draper Esprit & Chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association
Maura Moore, Head of Professional Services & Nonprofits, AIB
Faye Drouillard, Founder, The Giving Circle Amsterdam
Paul Sullivan, Former Executive Director, National Treasury Management Agency
Sir Steven Wilkinson is Co-Chair of the Ashoka Ireland Social Finance Committee,
INTRODUCING ASHOKAâ€™S CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS The world of repetition - of mastering a task or trade and doing it over and over - has been replaced by one of rapid change. New rules, openness, and connectivity require different sets of skills. Ashoka believes that every young person should be given the opportunity to develop a skill-set that will allow them to unleash the full potential in themselves and be active in changing their world for the better - to be a changemaker. Changemaker skills of empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork are developed as a direct result of a personâ€™s experience. It is evident that schools are the places in which we make our most systematic attempts to develop young people. However, our priorities in school - the ways in which we judge and assess young people - reveal limited and often limiting conceptions of achievement and intelligence. Ashoka aims to catalyse changes throughout schools and the wider education system so that every young person is provided with an education experience that is explicitly designed to foster changemaker skills. To achieve this, we are selecting, supporting and disseminating the work of exceptional schools - schools that are providing pupils with opportunities to create and lead from a young age and to develop skills that unleash the full potential in themselves and in others. In 2012, Ashoka launched the Changemaker Schools programme and has since selected and supported over 150 schools from across the US, Africa, Asia and Europe, with nine in Ireland.
Students in Francis Street C.B.S., in Dublin 8, practicing yoga (left) and in St. Columba’s G.N.S. in Douglas, Co. Cork, engaging in the outdoor gardening programme (right).
DAIRE KEOGH ON THE POTENTIAL OF CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS Nothing is more important to the wellbeing of a nation than the education of its children, and it is appropriate, therefore, that Ashoka has launched the Changemaker Schools initiative to recognise, connect, and support creative schools across Ireland. School communities, in essence, are about change; about nurturing the talent of youth and equipping them to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Those schools identified as Changemaker Schools, champion the Ashoka values of empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving in staff and students and, from an initial cohort of five schools, from both sides of the border, a network has emerged where schools support each other in this critical task. Few nations appreciate the value of education as Ireland does; perhaps it is a product of our history, or a recognition of the value of human capital on an island with few natural resources. We are fortunate, too, in the calibre of our teachers – indeed, research identifies the quality of individual teachers as the most important element in an education system.
At a more fundamental level, however, schools require time and space to reflect upon their basic purpose. One hundred years ago, Patrick Pearse published his famous Murder Machine. In this essay in which he imagined the type of schooling which would best serve the New Ireland, and presented a vision of children inspired by ‘well-trained … teachers’, in ‘well-equipped, … beautiful schools’. Prosaic as it sounds, the Changemaker School initiative facilitates such discussions, not just comparing practices and policies, but opportunities for philosophical discussions on the nature of education and dispositions required to nurture schools where all students find their voices, and make a positive impact on the world.
Professor Daire Keogh is the President of St. Patrick’s Teaching College in Drumcondra.
Ireland can be justifiably proud of its education provision, but we take it for granted at our peril. This Ashoka initiative recognises the importance of investment in schools, not simply of physical resources, but of the creative energies required to maintain dynamic Changemaker communities. Educators need support to advance Teaching and Learning initiatives and the new modalities of assessment. It is apparent, too, that a greater variety of school types and models are required to facilitate an authentic values-based system where children and their teachers can flourish.
MEET IRELAND’S CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS CORPUS CHRISTI P.S. MOYROSS, CO. LIMERICK Located in the estate of Moyross on the outskirts of Limerick City, Corpus Christi Primary School is committed to celebrating the achievements of all of its students, while actively addressing the challenges of life in a chronically deprived community. Housed in a vibrant school building, the school boasts modern facilities including interactive white-board technology, computer and music hubs, libraries and kitchens available for the school community’s use. These resources, coupled with a low teacher-pupil ratio, provide children with the skills they require to maximise their opportunities.
DONABATE-PORTRANE E.T.N.S. DONABATE-PORTRANE, CO. DUBLIN In keeping with the Educate Together philosophy, Donabate-Portrane is built around their motto, “learn together to live together,” with diversity and human rights central to the daily lives of the children in the school. From initiatives as varied as learning partnerships with organisations in Cambodia to a buddy system devised to help integrate children with autism, the school uses peer-topeer learning to teach global citizenship and match it with local action.
FRANCIS STREET C.B.S. THE LIBERTIES, DUBLIN 8 Francis Street C.B.S. embraces the challenging realities of inner-city Dublin with an innovative focus on social and emotional intelligence, and an approach to discipline that is therapeutic rather than authoritative. From programmes as diverse as yoga and restorative justice, the boys in Francis Street learn to regulate their emotions and express themselves with confidence, all the while improving their literacy and numeracy skills.
GALWAY E.T.N.S. GALWAY CITY, CO. GALWAY Galway Educate Together National School (G.E.T.N.S.) was set up in 1994, as Galway School Project, by a small group of parents who wished to establish a school run on the core principles of the Educate Together network. G.E.T.N.S. aims to meet a growing need in Irish society for schools that recognise the developing diversity of Irish life and the modern need for democratic management in schools. A strong emphasis on inclusive and holistic education is evidenced through programmes such as an Autism Unit, Playworks, as well as a Mental Well-Being initiative. G.E.T.N.S. is an influential school that is comfortable being showcased and ready to co-create and share methodologies.
OUR LADY IMMACULATE J.N.S. DARNDALE, DUBLIN 17 Situated on the outskirts of Dublin City, Our Lady Immaculate is a mediumsized junior school that currently serves a student body of 240 students. Our Lady Immaculate’s approach to tackling this reality has been to develop a strong bond with their local community through various programmes, such as community library lending, art and after-school classes, as well as a meditation space. Under Principal Breda Murray’s leadership, the school has raised literacy and numeracy levels, as well as school attendance rates.
OUR LADY & ST. MOCHUA’S P.S. DERRYNOOSE, CO. ARMAGH Located in the small village of Derrynoose, Co. Armagh, Our Lady’s & St. Mochua’s Primary School is a microcosm of the huge potential in towns and villages throughout Ireland. Through peer-to-peer learning, entrepreneurship, engineering projects with local businesses and e-learning initiatives with other schools south of the border, Our Lady’s & St. Mochua’s instills leadership skills in their pupils that will be essential for rural areas to thrive in the future.
ST. COLUMBA’S G.N.S. DOUGLAS, CO. CORK With both an attached facility for deaf children and a large number of hearing impaired children in the school’s mainstream, every child and teacher in St. Columba’s Girls National School learns sign language. Where dictation is impossible, communication extends beyond the verbal and comes to life. As a result, the school is naturally and uniquely interactive and experiential, with many outdoor learning spaces designed to let the pupils speak and learn through their actions.
ST. OLIVER’S P.S. KILLARNEY, CO. KERRY St. Oliver’s Primary School is one of Ireland’s largest and most diverse primary schools. A hub of the community, local therapists work from prefabs on site and teachers from nearby secondary schools come in to prepare children for the next stage of their education. Open until late every day of the week, the school is used by community groups of all kinds to demonstrate their philosophy of lifelong learning and to re-enforce the central role of a national school in society.
ST. ULTAN’S P.S. CHERRY ORCHARD, DUBLIN 10 Situated in Ballyfermot St. Ultan’s Primary School currently serves 420 students. The emphasis in St. Ultan’s is on hands-on learning and active learning, shifting the focus away from textbooks. Children work in small groups within a classroom setting with in-class support teachers who work with the class teacher to scaffold learning and maximise active involvement. In this sense, pupils become active participants, rather than passive recipients in knowledge acquisition.
CHANGEMAKER PRINCIPAL SPOTLIGHT
TEACHING WITH EMPATHY IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR SCHOOLS MUST MEET PUPILS’ EMOTIONAL AS WELL AS EDUCATION NEEDS.
“THE WORDS ‘JUST BREATHE’ ACCOMPANY THE SOUND OF A TIBETAN BELL BEING RUNG IN FRANCIS STREET CHRISTIAN BROTHER’S SCHOOL THREE TIMES A DAY...”
During these moments, children and teachers put their hands to their stomachs and inhale deeply. This activity serves as a reminder to every student to live in the moment, to reflect on their bodies, to consider how they are feeling and how best to express this. The strategy is drawn from mindfulness practices and represents one of the many diverse initiatives run in the school as part of an empathy-based programme. Francis Street C.B.S. is an all-boys primary school located in the Liberties in Dublin. Established in 1818, it was a soup kitchen during the Famine and went on to educate 500 scholars a year, many from what was regarded as one of the worst tenements in 19th-century Europe. Today the boys in our school come from the Coombe, Pimlico, Meath Street and Thomas Street and they are offered an education rooted in self-respect, mutual understanding and building positive relationships. When I took on the role of principal in 2006, I kept hearing the same concerns about children’s behaviour. Parents, teachers and children all frequently spoke of stress, anxiety, and mental health issues, and I sensed that no real learning could occur unless social and emotional needs were also met. Art therapy was the first initiative we implemented, in order to help children with emotional difficulties. This has expanded into cognitive behaviour therapy and a wellness programme to give children the tools to manage their feelings. Every child in the school does yoga and “yogalates” — a mixture of yoga and pilates. How to sustain motivation is a topic that comes up at every staff meeting. Our teachers believe learning must be based on what children already know and what they are interested in. Behaviour is managed in a restorative way.
“I BELIEVE THAT EMPATHY-BASED METHODOLOGIES CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR ENGAGED SELFUNDERSTANDING AND LEARNING. AND THAT THIS APPROACH CAN BUILD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES.”
When a situation of conflict arises, the children are encouraged to ask themselves questions: what happened? What were you thinking or feeling at the time? Who has been affected by this? What do you need to move on? What needs to happen now so that harm can be repaired? Designated student mediators belonging to a “peace club” carry question cards in their pockets during play time, and must consult them when dealing with a situation in the yard, rather than involving an adult. Circles are a common theme in our school: peace circles, conflict-resolution circles, “circle time”. Lessons are taught in circular formation and are incorporated into the school day. In circles, everyone is equal and feels equally important. I believe that empathy-based methodologies create the conditions for engaged self-understanding and learning, and that this approach can build healthy communities. I like to be involved in the goings-on at my school by speaking to students and teachers on a daily basis. A few weeks ago, while talking to a student, I discovered something amazing: every single child in Francis Street C.B.S. can play chess, and many students choose to play it during play time and “golden time” of their own accord. I knew that a teacher had introduced chess seven years ago to improve concentration in mathematics class, but I had not been aware that the game had taken hold among the student body to this degree.
On a basic level, chess has allowed the boys to improve their problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills. However, it has also taught them to think and make good choices, thereby encouraging them to be responsible for their actions and giving them the ability to plan ahead: all values that are integral to the empathy-based methodology programme delivered by the teachers. The empathy-based curriculum has been established at our school for several years now, and we have recently received international recognition for this work. In 2014, Francis Street C.B.S. was selected to become an Ashoka “Changemaker School.” With more than 200 schools in Europe, Africa and the US, Ashoka schools form a global network of peer institutions that share a commitment to fostering empathy, creativity, teamwork and leadership among their students. The ever-growing network aims to inspire schools both in the programme and beyond, to share the tools and ideas that put them at the forefront of innovative education.
This is an article by Fiona Collins, Principal of Francis Street C.B.S. (Dublin 8) that originally appeared in the print and online editions of the Sunday Times in March 2015.
ENGAGEMENT IMPACT MAGAZINE
LOOKING BACK SELECT EVENTS FROM 2015
January February March
CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS RETREAT Hosted by St Oliver’s NS, Killarney, Co Kerry: 8th - 10th February
CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS EUROPEAN SUMMIT 27 Schools from across Europe, at Ekskaret, Sweden: 25th - 27th March
ASHOKA HEALTH COMMUNITY LUNCH Hosted at Ashoka Offices: 21st April
CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS STUDENT COUNCIL MEETING Hosted by Francis Street CBS, Dublin 8: 21st April
INTERNATIONAL FELLOW WELLBEING RETREAT 20 Ashoka Fellows from around the world, hosted at Burrishoole Lodge, Co Mayo: 1st - 8th May
ASN & FELLOW SUMMER RETREAT
Hosted by ASN member Denis Tinsely at Burrishoole Lodge, Co Mayo: 29th 31st May
ASHOKA FELLOW SISTER CYRIL SPEAKING EVENT Hosted in the Ashoka Ireland Office: 13th July
ASHOKA SUPPORT NETWORK NORTHERN EUROPEAN SUMMIT Hosted by Ashoka Netherlands in Amsterdam: 18th September
CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS NORTH-SOUTH SUMMIT Hosted by Our Lady’s & St Mochua’s P.S., Co. Armagh, and Donabate-Portrane Educate Together N.S., Co. Dublin: 20th - 22nd October
ASN & FELLOW AUTUMN GATHERING Hosted by ASN Members Steven & Britta Wilkinson at Sol Haven, Greystones: 6th November
ASN & FELLOW CHRISTMAS IMPACT DINNER No.25, Dublin: 2nd December
7 FELLOW SITE VISITS The Green Plan (Co. Dublin), Third Age (Co. Meath), ALISON (Co. Galway), Burren Life (Co. Clare), Valid Nutrition (Co. Cork), Irish Community Rapid Response (Co. Cork), CoderDojo (Co. Dublin)
4 NETWORK DINNERS Hosted by ASN Members Denis Tinsley, Neil O’Leary, and our Strategic Partner, Key Capital Private
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Serena Mizzoni Director
Conor Ward Network & Operations
Fiona Koch Communications
Erin Fornoff Venture
Maura Moore Head of Professional Services & Nonprofits AIB
Neil Oâ€™Leary Founder & CEO Ion Equity
Bride Rosney Secretary Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice
Caroline Casey Fellow Ashoka Ireland
Patrick Coveney CEO Greencore
Sharon Keilthy Practice Manager McKinsey & Company
REFLECTION As you finish perusing the 2015 Impact Magazine I trust you have found something interesting, engaging or challenging – and perhaps all three! As Chair of the Ashoka Ireland Advisory Board, I have followed all aspects of the organisation’s work and I am delighted to have seen a marked increase in engagement between the staff, Fellows and ASN members during the year. There is a growth in confidence and commitment following their interactions which bodes very well for the period ahead. 2015 has been a really good year for the Fellowship programme of Ashoka Ireland - from welcoming John Kearney into the Fellowship, to hosting international Fellows at different events and gatherings, and initiating social finance as a new programme in Ireland. These varied activities have enhanced our ‘core business’ of investing in people to help them become world leaders in social innovation. Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools programme has gone from strength to strength, with a highlight being an April retreat in Sweden which brought Irish Changemaker Principals together with many of their international counterparts. It was clear at what was a very dynamic forum that the Irish schools were leaders – and were seen to be such. In mid-year we welcomed four new schools to the Irish network and 2016 promises to be even more successful. I look forward to what’s ahead for Ashoka Ireland and the wonderful community it represents. It has been a particular pleasure to see the small and dedicated Ashoka Ireland team bring their vision and energy to addressing challenges and launching new programmes and activities.
BRIDE ROSNEY Chair, Ashoka Ireland Advisory Board
WE ARE GRATEFUL TO OUR PARTNERS STRATEGIC PARTNERS
Impact Magazine design by Amy Hore.
ASHOKA IRELAND Tribal, 23 South William Street Dublin 2 01 532 62 33 www.ashoka.ie
2015 edition of the annual impact magazine. Published in December.