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“The move from Ballast House to 12 Parliament Street has helped foster the sense that Comhlámh exists for its members. There’s a dedicated members’ room, library and training room where you are ‘encouraged’ to write on the walls!”

Mark Cumming, Head of Comhlámh.


Contents 4





Vision, Mission & Values




Programme Updates


Future Plans


Member Groups




Foreword Foreword from the Chairperson. It’s been a very busy year for Comhlámh. It has been a year of re-building, upwards, but also downwards as we sought to reconnect with our roots. Comhlámh’s identity as a membership organisation has been re-asserted and a concerted membership drive has been put in place, reaching out to new audiences and former members alike. This will work to ensure the sustainability and relevance of the organisation into the future. Last year’s AGM saw significant Board turnover with new members bringing a range of new skills and experience. The new Board has worked hard over the last year to support the conditions in which Comhlámh can flourish. A number of Board sub groups have also been meeting regularly and we hope that these can increasingly draw in participation of members in the year ahead. New members’ groups, including the Creative Writing group, have sprung up and existing groups such as ‘Options and Issues’, ‘Focus’ and the ‘Trade Justice Group’ have commenced a re-building process. Most encouraging is the re-emergence of a regional group in Northern Ireland. There are shoots in Galway also, and elsewhere, who knows, let’s see!

Johnny Sheehan Chairperson.

Comhlámh continues to play a key role in supporting quality and good practice in International volunteering. During the year, we supported over 40 organisations to ensure that they provide relevant, grounded and properly developed experiences for the large constituency of people involved in international volunteering. We ran a very successful Volunteer Fair on behalf of Irish Aid in the autumn with over 300 people attending and with 22 Sending Agencies exhibiting. Other highlights from the past year include the publication of important research on the economic value and modes and modalities of international volunteering, the re-launch of the First Wednesday debates in their new home in the Twisted Pepper in Dublin and the launch of the new-look Comhlámh website and online presence. The new website has replaced both the old and volunteeringoptions sites. The Back to the Future project (which reached over 1,400 people over


Kathrina Rupit, aka Kin MX, who carried out the mural of Marius Schoon which was unveiled on May 1st.

Comhlámh continues to play a key role in supporting quality and good practice in international volunteering.

3 years), finished at the end of 2013 and International Volunteer Day in December was marked by a celebration of the project, showcasing some of the innovative action projects developed. A new-look Focus magazine came out in 2014 and has a reach of around 8,000. The move from Ballast House to 12 Parliament Street has helped foster the sense that Comhlámh exists for its members. There’s a dedicated members’ room, library and training room where you are ‘encouraged’ to write on the walls! I’d actively encourage any member who has not yet visited the new office to do so. On the 1st of May this year we celebrated the life of Marius Schoon, anti-apartheid activist and former coordinator of Comhlámh with the unveiling of a mural dedicated to him. Members old and new packed the building to hear his widow Sherry talk about his work in inspiring and supporting the Dunnes Stores strikers while leading Comhlámh on a path of greater activism into the 1990’s. I would also like to thank Irish Aid for their continuing support in what are difficult times for the aid budget and also our NGO development partners in 2013, Concern and Trócaire. Thanks are also due to the European Commission. Despite this, it has been a challenging year financially. Comhlámh, like a lot of organisations in the community and voluntary sector, has had to work really hard to maintain its independence and to keep true to its vision and mission. Funding continues to be a key concern; this month, we have launched our drive to recruit members past and present to contribute to our Solidarity Circle. We will also be working to build Solidarity Partnerships with organisations in the sector. We need to remember that the ‘change’ we want won’t be donor funded. I am also delighted to welcome new staff to the team, including Mark Cumming as Head of Comhlámh. As we head towards our 40th anniversary celebrations in 2015, I firmly believe that Comhlámh is in a very good space. We have an increasingly vibrant and engaged membership,a highly effective team of staff and a lot of goodwill from organisations we work with and for. Enjoy reading the annual report and get involved in all our activities over the year ahead. Be the change.

Johnny Sheehan 29th of May 2014.


Roisin Boyle and Rose Hennessy at our Child Safeguarding Training organised in Dublin during March 2014.

Report Introduction Welcome to your Comhlámh annual report for 2013. This time is one of reflecting on the essential nature and spirit of Comhlámh. If 2013 had a theme it was about going back to our roots. What does it mean to go back to our roots? This got me thinking about school days and getting into trouble for being on the wrong side of the 1983 referendum campaign – college days and shimmying up and down lampposts putting up election posters, raising funding for the cleaners in UCD who were being contracted out to an agency employer at greatly reduced terms and conditions and standing outside Cornelscourt with my girlfriend handing out leaflets outside Dunnes Stores calling on people not to purchase South African goods. But then I grew up, gotta life, gotta job and plugged away for a few years in industry. But the lure of Brazil and Paolo Freire was calling me (and then partner) and after a year of applying to various agencies we ended up in Kenya, not Brazil, a semi-arid area and not a favella! Still I met Freire, not in person but through his ideas that were led in East and Southern Africa through the training for transformation programme of the DELTA network.

Going back to our roots is all about those ideas that Freire championed; going back to the essentials of facilitating people’s participation in making and shaping the world around themselves. It’s about helping people to come together, reflect critically on their situation, pool the resources they had and work together to change this reality. Oftentimes this involved confronting those that did not want change, Mark Cumming vested interests or those who could not accept Head of Comhlámh. that poor people had the capacity themselves to work for change. This is what good development is about. I joined Comhlámh before I went to Kenya, my sending agency situated the youth and community work we were doing as part of a wider continuum of looking at change and power in society and in particular considering the interlinkages between our world in the global north and that of the global south. In this way, my placement for two years was set as part of a wider engagement that would continue on my return to Ireland.

Going back to our roots is all about those ideas that Freire championed; going back to the essentials... 6

A detail from the mural of Marius Schoon unveiled on May 1st. Have you watched the video yet? Find it on our new look website.

In going back to one’s roots it’s good to remember those who have gone before us. If we can see as far as we can see, it’s because we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. On May 1st this year, we remembered one of those people in Marius Schoon while in the company of his widow, Sherry, and friends and colleagues including Cathryn O’Reilly one of the Dunnes Stores strikers and Brian Harvey of the ‘Advocacy Initiative’.

It was a special night, it will hopefully inspire the up-coming generation of Comhlámh members drawn now from many different Volunteer Sending Agencies. Comhlámh will work as that ‘space’ in which people can come together and work on those issues they think are particularly important at this point in time. Each generation of Comhlámh has brought something new. Drop in and hang-out in the Marius Schoon Members’ Room and see / create what’s next!

Mark Cumming 29th of May 2014.


Constitution Comhlámh is a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. Comhlámh is a registered charity (CHY7680) and company limited by guarantee, and is governed by a Voluntary Board. Comhlámh’s Vision

Supporting Values

Our vision is of volunteers and development workers working in solidarity for a just, equitable and sustainable world.

Other values which are fundamental to our vision and objectives are:

Comhlámh’s Mission Our mission is to foster good practice and critical engagement in volunteering and action for development Comhlámh’s Values The core values in achieving our vision and which underlie the overarching purpose of Comhlámh are: Solidarity – unity that produces or is based on a community of interests, objectives, and standards and results in mutual support within this community. Sustainability – the long-term maintenance of wellbeing which includes the concept of protecting and managing resources responsibly. Justice - the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance, with honour, standards, and law.

Rosemary MacCabe, a fashion columnist with the Irish Times and Clare Nally, an activist with The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland speaking at the first of our debates on the Rana Plaza disaster.


Equality - equal rights for people regardless of what factors they might have that are different. Equality states that because they are human they must be equal. Diversity - encompasses acceptance and respect, understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences. Independence - not to rely on or be controlled by others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one’s own affairs without interference, that is, self-governing. Transparency - ensure all relevant information is fully and freely available to the public. Accountability - liable to be held to account and be answerable for one’s actions.

Grow and engage our members and network to create societal and attitudinal change on development issues...

Key Objectives Míde Ní Bhriain, Mosten Mutale and Micheal Chanda pictured at Comhlamh After Hours #1. It’s our new regular meet up for members, returned development workers and volunteers.

Comhlámh’s objectives for 2013, as set out in the strategic plan are: Be the leading independent voice and source of information on volunteering for development in Ireland. Strengthen our role and position as coordinator and advocate of good practice in volunteering for development. Promote and support volunteers and development workers to critically engage in volunteering and action for development. Grow and engage our members and network to create societal and attitudinal change on development issues.


Key Activities Commencing the process of re-invigorating existing Member Groups along with exploring new areas of interest for membership engagement on development issues. Launching of our new unified website that integrates our two previous websites; this includes a regular blog column on the work of the association, a rebranding of the old Volunteering Options (#volops) along with a new LinkedIn group that will assist people interested in responsible volunteering to engage with Code of Good Practice Sending Consolidating and strengthening the support we provide for the signatories to the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice, including through issuing detailed feedback to each on their self-audits; provision of capacity building grants; revising and strengthening the framework for minimum standards; and organising tailored training courses on debriefing and M&E Encouraging the continuous engagement of returned volunteers in international development through the implementation of the third and final year of the EU-funded project “Back to the Future - Returned volunteers as multipliers on global development issues” – this work reached over 1,400 volunteers over the 3 years and many action projects have emerged from this including amongst others the launching of the ‘World’s Best News’ project and the ‘Volunteering Stories’ initiative. Supporting development workers to protect their social welfare and pension rights while overseas, including through the administration of the Volunteer Development Worker (PRSI) Scheme and the Public Service Pension Scheme for Volunteer Development Workers; Delivering training for people considering their options in international volunteering and A photography lover stops and admires the work of Jorge Ruiz’s exhibition Mane na Joso at International Volunteer Day 2014, held down in the Culture Box in Temple Bar.


development, from the ‘Volunteering Overseas: Where do I start?’ courses, pre-departure trainings, through to coming home weekends, debriefing, and courses on continuing engagement including the Trade Justice course; Finalising and launching two significant research studies on the economic value of international volunteering, and modes and modalities of international volunteering, with extensive media coverage; Providing our partners, supporters and the general public with timely, reliable and useful information through our social media work, our publications including two editions of Focus magazine, our participation in Irish and international networks and conferences, the re-launching of the Comhlámh First Wednesday Debates and our policy work; Promoting good practice in international volunteering among the Irish public through organising the very successful Irish Aid Volunteer Fair, and providing information inputs at a range of other fairs, information sessions, and discussions.

The World’s Best News crew pose for a press shot after distributing thousands of copies to morning commuters.

Programme Updates Comhlámh Code of Good Practice (COGP). By the end of 2013, there were 34 signatory organisations to the CoGP. Minimum standards were revised and signed off through the Volunteering Options Working Group and validated at the Volunteer Sending Agency (VSA) peer support meetings. These were incorporated into a revised version of the COGP. An expert panel will be put in place to assess and sign off on the new system in early 2014. Comhlámh actively supported the networking and exchange of information among VSA signatories during the year through peer support meetings, and tailored trainings on conducting Debriefing and on Monitoring and Evaluation. Further work to support debriefing will be rolled out in 2014. The VSA volunteering and development education committee met three times in 2013 and were involved in piloting a Learning Journal tool for volunteers, 17 volunteers in two programmes (UCDVO and Nurture Africa) took part, and the results will be shared in 2014. A total of 33 VSAs participated in the two peer support meetings, with 68 participants overall.

Information and Support Services for Volunteers. On behalf of Irish Aid, a Volunteering Fair was organised and held in October; it was attended by just over 300 people, and included the launching of the ‘Volunteer Initiative’ by the Minister of State for Trade and Development;

On behalf of Irish Aid, a Volunteering Fair was organised and held in October; it was attended by just over 300 people...

Continued lack of funding impacted on the support services Comhlámh could offer to volunteers and development workers; we did, however, continue to organise referrals to counselling, debriefing, and careers advice, as well as running the “Coming Home Weekends”and “Moving Forward” days. Two staff have undertaken training as ‘Debriefers’ along with one undertaking training in ‘Critical Incident Debriefing’ which is allowing for some debriefing to be offered to returnees. Comhlámh continued to manage the Volunteer Development Worker (VDW) and Public Service Pension Scheme (PSPS), processing 199 applications in total. In early 2013, a draft circular was agreed with Irish Aid providing greater clarity for the scheme and Irish Aid requested the circular be issued by the Department of Finance which hopefully will happen in 2014. We also informed the public about good practice in international volunteering through talks, stand events, and responses to individual queries.


Programme Updates Cont’d. Research and Policy Work. We published two new pieces of research that examined emerging best practice in international volunteering, and the specific contribution of international volunteering to the economy in Ireland, which generated much interest in policy circles including gaining widespread media coverage; arising from this a research advisory group will be established in 2014 with participation of VSAs and academics. Comhlámh had made a comprehensive submission as part of Irish Aid’s White Paper consultation in 2012, and followed this up with a response to the One World, One Future – Ireland’s Policy for International Development. We highlighted concerns regarding the place of Ireland’s commercial / trading interests and how these would interface with our development objectives. Extensive engagement was had with MEP elected representatives and the Minister for Trade and Development on the need to support the European Parliament call for an extension to negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements till 2016. Presentations were also made to the AWEPA parliamentary group at their conference in June on EU trade and investment policy and its impact on hunger. In partnership with France Volontaires , Clong, Zavod and FOCSIV, we agreed and endorsed a paper on the EU Humanitarian Aid Volunteer initiative and shared our perspectives with Irish Aid and MEPs; We also engaged proactively at Irish and EU level in policy fora, promoting both good practice in international volunteering and trade justice within civil society and to policy makers. The Trade Justice Group commenced a process of re-forming and re-thinking its role and its work; the group undertook an on-street petition exercise in partnership with Redress and other members of the Irish Clean Clothes Campaign to raise awareness of the need for a ‘Living Wage’ to be paid by garment companies to workers.

Grainne O’Neill our Volunteer Engagement Project Officer meets Joe Costello, The Minister of State for Trade and Development at the Irish Aid Fair in October 2013.


Programme Updates Cont’d. Volunteer Engagement In response to demand, Comhlámh ran four pre-decision making courses on overseas volunteering, which was twice the number that had been initially planned for the year. We also facilitated tailored pre-departure courses for four VSAs; As part of our work to support VSAs, we ran two training of trainers programmes that focused on facilitation skills and post-return training; At the post-return stage, we ran two Coming Home Weekends, two Moving Forward courses, and two ‘What Next’ courses, which resulted in a number of highly innovative action projects undertaken by returned volunteers. We also contributed to a range of continuous engagement sessions run by VSAs, reaching over 170 participants; the Trade Justice course was run in the autumn with 19 participants, resulting in some new members joining the trade justice group. Comhlámh’s celebration for International Volunteer Day in December highlighted the work of the ‘Back to the Future’ project with displays of work produced by returned volunteers who had been supported to undertake action projects. The Focus magazine group produced two copies of Focus during the year. We estimate that Focus reaches 8,000 people. The group undertook an extensive review of Focus in the latter part of the year with a view to a new look Focus in 2014. The new website was launched in October. The new website allows for a clearer articulation of Comhlámh, which had been undermined by the presence of two parallel websites. Efforts are underway to ensure the website and the social media strategy work synergistically together. There were 114,000 unique visitors to and during the year The First Wednesday Debates were brought back in the autumn with debates held on themes generated from member’s interests including the work of the Trade Group on ‘who should protect those that make our clothes’ and as part of Comhlámh’s contribution to the 16 Days of Action on Gender Based Violence, a debate was held on the question of sex work titled ‘Should we turn off the red light’.

Rob Furlong listens intently as speakers at a one of our First Wednesday Debates discuss trade.


Programme Updates Cont’d. Networking. Comhlámh continued to network inside the Alternative Trade Mandate and was the only organisation in Ireland to endorse the ATM’s policy position; ‘Trade: Time for a new vision’. Comhlámh was represented on the National Council of the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA), participated actively on its working groups and contributed to relevant IDEA submissions Comhlámh participated in two Dóchas working groups, Development Education and the Finance group during 2013 Comhlámh participated in the annual IVCO conference of the global network of Volunteer Organisations – this was a useful platform to share our research on new models of volunteering. Comhlámh staff and members / supporters participated in a range of international conferences during the year including the DEEEP conference and the 50th celebrations of FK Norway. Comhlámh was requested to participate in workshops as part of DG ECHO’s formulation of policy and guidelines for the creation of the EU Aid Volunteers programme. Comhlámh brought together twelve EU volunteer sending and development education groups to form an eleven country consortium to work on EU common funding applications. HIV TREATMENT IN NAMIBIA



Kate Mukungu discusses the options open to Namibia to ensure the country’s impressive progress continues.

The relationship between criminal law and Sharia law is a complex one when it comes to domestic violence.

Nader al-Masri is an Olympic standard runner who has had to turn down offers to compete in races worldwide. Find out why.





ACTION FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE. The front cover of our new look Focus Magazine which was re-vamped in February 2014.

February 2014 | Published By Comhlámh | ISSUE 93

A day of action against Direct Provision Photo credit: Irish Refugee Council

COLM ASHE. Comhlámh Staff


Lives Put On Hold.

Ireland’s Direct Provision System Is Leaving People In Limbo For Years. RORY HALPIN SPIRASI.



etween 1993 a nd 2000, the number of people seeking asylum in Ireland went from 6 a year to just fewer than 11,000 a year. In the late 90s, as a means of dealing with the unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers, the Irish State set up the Direct Provision system. Through this system, asylum seekers receive full board accommodation and personal allowances of €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child per week. While they wait for a decision with regard to their applications asylum seekers are forbidden to work and have only limited access to education. One asylum seeker says, “I am a qualified medical doctor. At least I was when I left my country 4 years ago. I would now have to retrain if I was to work as a doctor. I feel I am wasting my

life away. I want to work. I want to contribute”. The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is the government agency that was set up to manage and run the system of Direct Provision. At the end of June 2013 there were a total of 34 accommodation centres spread throughout 16 counties. These housed approximately 4,600 asylum seekers, 1,500 of which were children. Of these 34 only three were ‘purpose built’ with the rest comprising of former hotels, hostels, convents and holiday camps. The result is that residents are often living in over-crowded situations with little or no privacy and inadequate facilities, especially for children. One woman, who has been in Direct Provision for 3 years, comments, “I have seen children acting out in a sexual way. They obviously see the things their parents are doing because there is too much overcrowding – this is just not right”.

man put it, ‘Sometimes I think It is fair to say that Direct we would be better off in prison. Provision was set up with the At least in prison you know when intention of being a temporary you’re going to be released’. accommodation solution, the The solution to thinking being that asylum this is twofold. seekers would be in Firstly, to the system no improve the longer than a “Sometimes I think we legal system year. However, would be better off in because of prison. At least in prison so that processing limited resources you know when you’re applications and a widely going to be released” is acknowledged accelerated. inadequate legal In this regard framework, it is to be hoped that delays in processing the proposed ‘Single Protection asylum applications are both Procedure’ bill which has been commonplace and prolonged, to the extent that people often have to in process since 2006 is enacted as a matter of urgency. Secondly, wait several years for a definitive enough resources should be decision. The human suffering given to the 4,600 asylum seekers caused by these delays is not to currently in Direct Provision so be underestimated. Deterioration that their legal process can be in both mental and physical expedited as soon as possible to health of asylum seekers is well allow people resume lives, whether documented, with elevated levels here or back in their countries of of depression and anxiety the most origin, that have been put on hold. common ill effects. As one young

he collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh last April, brought the working conditions of textile workers in Asia to the forefront of public attention. There was public outcry as the plight of these workers, and the global fashion brands involved in perpetuating it, became public knowledge. This moved the issue up the international agenda and sent ripples across the industry. In Cambodia tens of thousands of workers took to the streets in protest, demanding that a living wage be paid to them. In the photo above a striking garment worker shows spent cartridges from police and military shootings against recent demonstrations. The strike action has threatened to bring the country’s main export industry to its knees. This coupled with the increased pressure on Western brands has put the workers in an improved position to negotiate their conditions. Recently some Western brands have condemned the government crackdown on the strikes, which left a number of people dead, and expressed support to minimum-wage reforms. These are very small steps in a movement that must essentially bring exponential change to a global manufacturing chain but it’s a step in the right direction.


It was a packed house for our open night on May 1st as friends new and old gathered to talk about going back to our roots.

Future Plans. Membership. Comhlámh recognises the need to engage and strengthen its membership. ‘Returning to our root’s has been shared with members across a number of direct mailings that have gone to the current membership. Comhlámh recognises that a re-vamping of what Membership groups mean in Comhlámh is needed with renewal in terms of the functioning of groups which allows for Members to initiate and drive new areas of work that are burning for members at any particular time. This re-building will require an opening out again by Comhlámh to a holistic understanding of the agency of membership. This process has commenced slowly with the Trade and the Focus group. 2014 will see the advent of new groups, including a Creative Writing Group and hopefully regional groupings around Ireland. This is an organisational strategic priority.Out of this energy in the past, Comhlámh has made a crucial contribution to development practice and policy across a wide range of areas. The move to new premises in 2013 necessitated by the ending of the lease arrangement in Ballast House has been an opportunity to find a new home that will be conducive to membership engagement.

Funding. The organisation, having completed the final stages of its restructuring in mid 2013, worked to catch up with lost opportunities to fundraise arising from the disruptions in 2012. A number of funding streams were re-secured for 2013 and some will come through in 2014. An opportunity to engage in some consultancy work was undertaken in 2013 which, while financially very important, it crucially was synchronistic with our on-going objectives, without which it would not have been possible to undertake key work given the reduced staff time.

This re-building will require an opening out again by Comhlámh to a holistic understanding of the agency of membership...

The financial sustainability of the organisation is however in some question having dipped into reserves each year for the last 2 years. Irish Aid funding continued to reduce in 2013 over 2012. Its funding has declined as a share of our total funding from near to 90% 4 years ago to 75% now. It is imperative to diversify our base but also crucially to commence an active role in fund-raising as opposed to only relying on grant funding. Comhlámh will continue to try and identify funding opportunities for all of the work that it is involved in so as to expand its donor base with particular attention paid towards the wider European environment and opportunities for unrestricted funding. A funding sub-group of the Board has been established which in the latter part of 2013 has done an extensive mapping of funding opportunities and fund-raising options including a Committed Giving campaign. These are to be further developed in 2014.


Future Plans Cont’d. Responsible Volunteering. Estimates of the numbers involved in international volunteering suggest that over 4,000 people from Ireland each year are involved. Comhlámh has a critical role to support critical engagement with issues of volunteering and development within the wider public and this sector of people and the Volunteer Sending Agencies. We will continue to play the role of sectoral leader in the promotion of international volunteering standards nationally and at European and international levels. We regularly receive enquiries from other countries that look at the model of practice developed in Ireland, and Comhlámh will continue to promote high standards in volunteering through the Volunteer Charter and Code of Good Practice.

Development Education & Continuous Engagement A Development Education perspective continues to cross-cut all of our work, especially the Code of Good Practice. We will continue to integrate it across all our work including trainings and courses. The move back to membership driven groups in Comhlámh will provide a platform for those returning volunteers and development workers to take on issues they see as important. Comhlámh, as part of its role in facilitating returnees’ integration back into life in Ireland and engagement in action for development, will re-invigorate its connections with local development actors, thereby acting as a bridge way for people to work on local and global issues.

Sherry McClean, the wife of the late Marius Schoon delivers a speech about her husbands life.


Comhlámh staff and members worked to prepare props for The Spectacle of Defiance in November 2013.

Member Groups Trade Justice.

Staff Support: Grainne O’Neill.

Staff Support: James Redmond.

Focus Magazine.

Options and Issues Group.

Staff Support: Roisin Boyle.

Creative Writing Group.

Staff Support: Grainne O’Neill.

Members and Returnee Meet up.

Staff Support: Mark Cumming.

First Wednesday Debates.


Staff Support: Mark Cumming.

Galway Group.


Staff Support: Mark Cumming.

Northern Ireland Group.

Staff Support: Grainne O’Neill.


Sending Agency Working Groups. Staff Support: Grainne O’Neill.

Volunteering and Development Education.

Caroline O’Connor (UCDVO), Kevin Murphy (Nurture Africa), Paula Quigley (SERVE), Mary Coogan (VSO), Claudia Hoareau (SUAS), Tara McGrath (EIL), Caroline Murphy (Children in Crossfire). Volunteering Options Working Group.

Staff Support: Shannette Budhai.

Anton Kieffer (EIL Intercultural Learning), Sarah Marshall (VSO), Tom Ryder (VSI), Mary Anne Stokes (VLM), Judith Turbyne(Progressio), Doireann Cooney (returned volunteer), Fran Egan (returned volunteer), Dervla King (Comhlámh), Holy Ramanankasina (Dóchas) Research and Policy Advisory Group.

Staff Support: Siobán O’Brien Green

Anne Matthews (Dublin City University), Mags Liddy (University of Limerick), James O’Brien (VSO), Eilish Dillon (Kimmage DSC), Helene Perold (Helene Perold& Associates - South Africa), Sharon Prado (UCD), Dervla King (Comhlámh)


Directors The Board of Directors and roles and memberships of board sub-groups was as follows: Johnny Sheehan


Katherine Meenan

Vice-chair and Operations group

Glenn Bradley

Treasurer, Operations group and Funding group

Amy Anderson

Secretary and staff liaison

Nita Mishra

Staff liaison and Funding group

Emer Kerrigan

Funding group

Robin Hanan

Continuous engagement group

Michael O’Brien

Continuous engagement group

Noel Wardick Davnet O’Driscoll Sharon Doyle

The Clean Clothes Campaign carried out an action to remember the first anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza


Funding group

Our newly named training room at the top of our building on Parliament St.

Staff Mark Cumming

Head of Comhlámh (commenced July)

(4.5 days)

Dervla King

Programme Manager (commenced February)

(4 days)

Elena Garcia

Finance and Admin Manager

(4 days)

Susan Collins

Organisation and Programme Support Administrator

(3 days)

Róisín Boyle

Training and Education Officer

(4 days)

Information and Support Officer

(4 days)

Grainne O’Neill

Volunteer Engagement Officer

(4 days)

James Redmond

Communications Officer (commenced July)

(4 days)

Communications / Policy (career break from July)

(5 days)

Shannette Budhai

Volunteering Quality Officer

(5 days)

Siobán O’Brien Green

Research and Policy Officer (commenced Nov)

(2.5 days)

Conor Grogan

Comms & Information Intern and Officer

Colm Ashe

Training and Quality Intern (Jobsbridge)

Janet Horner

Fleachta Phelan

(left October)

Ken Byrne

Receptionist (CCVG) (commenced September)

(2.5 days)

Anne-Marie Gallagher

Receptionist (CCVG) (commenced September)

(2.5 days)

Natalia Andreozzi

Erasmus Student

(3 months)

Irina Chayee

NUIM Applied Social Studies Student

(3 months)



Detailed Directors’ report and Financial statements are produced in a report to the Companies Office which is available online at


Some of the key materials for reflection at one of our What Next Courses in 2013.

Acknowledgements. Comhlámh would like to acknowledge the support it has received from various parties who have supported and engaged with our work on a voluntary basis: Peter Browne of Browne Corrigan Chartered Surveyors who provided pro-bono professional services related to our move to 12 Parliament Street. Rosemary MacCabe, a fashion columnist with the Irish Times, David Joyce, Equality Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Clare Nally, an activist with The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland, Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama, NushaYonkova, coordinator of anti-trafficking activities of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Wendy Lyon,a blogger with the Feminist Ire collective and Kathryn McGarry, Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department of Applied Social Studies, NUI Maynooth for their contributions to the First Wednesday Debates in 2013. Also a special thanks to Susan Cahill from Newstalk for her skilful moderation of the December First Wednesday debate. Mary Daly (EIL), Jenny Derbshire (EAPPI) and Patrick Davey (VMM) for their participation in the Volunteer Fair Conall O’Caoimh from Value Added in Africa who provided valuable assistance in the recruitment process for the Head of Comhlámh and Natalie MacDermot from Concern who supported the Communications PO recruitment process. Niall Crowley for being our guest speaker at International Volunteer Day on December 5th along with What Next course participants, Emily Price, Nahid Dabiri, Kate Saveljeva, Sean O’Connell and Jorge Ruiz who exhibited their work. Sharon Prado, UCD, for her input and commentary on the Volunteering research.


Thanks. A special thank you to all those who have worked with us as course facilitators over the year in providing pre-departure and post assignment training and debriefing and expert facilitation inputs on the skills in development education and Trade Justice courses, the Coming home weekends, the What Next courses and the training of facilitators: Conall O’Caoimh, Michael O’Brien, Fiona Dunne, Philip Gallagher (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation), Johnny Sheehan, Marie-Therese Fanning, Frank Naughton, Lizzie Downes, Nina Sachau, Sian Crowley, Morina O Neill, Alan Hayes, Ruth Powell, Shane O Connor, Saleh Rifaie, Jane Dunne, Mary Coogan, Emily Price, Carmel Mulrine, Gemma Baker, Selina Quinn, Maryrose Costello, Mary Hanlon, Deirdre Quinlan, Geraldine Quinlan, Jodie Neary, Orla Quinn. Thanks also for the work of Johnny O’Regan and Sandra Velthuis for their work as assessors with the Code of Good Practice. And finally to Harm-Jan Fricke who assisted us with our Results Based Framework!


The staff pose for a snapshot to reflect the organisations support of the #powerofyou social media campaign over Fair Trade Fortnight.


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Comhlรกmh 12 Parliament St, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: +353 (01) 4783490. Email:

Annual Report Comhlamh 2014  

It’s been a very busy year for Comhlámh. It has been a year of re-building, upwards, but also downwards as we sought to reconnect with our r...

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