Saturday, 29 September 2007
Sunday, 23 September 2007
The Center also publishes Energizing Entrepreneurs: Charting a Course for Rural Communities and has companion online resources available here.
There is even a link to rural entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland on their old website, see breaking news.
For information on rural and social entrepreneurship, and assistance, in Northern Ireland check Invest Northern Ireland and SABP.
'The case studies present the objectives and activities of the various projects,
the strategic context, the innovative aspects, partnership, obstacles in terms
of design or implementation, results and impacts.'
Detailed coverage of the various case studies, such as Food logistics: providing local food through individual transport and distribution systems can be found on the InfoRegio website.
Thanks to the Economic Development Resources blog for the information.
'at over 5.6 global hectares per person we have a slightly larger footprint than
anywhere else in the UK, principally as a result of over-reliance on imported
oil and coal for energy, imported food and food processing, on transport and our
reliance on the private car and our poor waste management and reliance on land
Download the full report here to learn what we can do about it
Saturday, 22 September 2007
'The Communication Initiative is a space to share, debate and advance effective
communication for development progress.'
It's brilliant, get searching.
To learn about the use of participatory video as a tool for monitoring and evaluation click here.
'As an educator-artist the opportunities in this area excite me. Some of theRead more about what Nanci has to say here. I would love to hear about individuals and groups doing similar work here in Ireland.
most inspiring work I have seen in education has been in this arena.
Circus-training used to help women who have suffered from violence re-claim
their bodies. Theatre professionals working with streetkids to produce plays
about poverty and homelessness. Collective murals used to help communities share
their ideas and history.'
For further information check the following sites:
Caroline Wang's PHOTOVOICE site
Photovoice (appears to be a different site but with same name and aims)
The Communication Initiative
Unheard Voices, Hidden Lives
Postcards from Home; Community Development through Participatory Photography is a brief powerpoint presentation that will be of use to those thinking of starting a participatory photography initiative.
If you are interested in a more detailed treatment of 'participatory photography' click here or go to the papers written by Caroline Wang on her website.
While a powerful tool for planning, M&E etc. there are important ethical implications that need to be worked through when undertaking an initiative of this sort.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Book 1: An Introduction to Engagement
Book 2: The Engagement Planning Workbook
Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit
Kila, another favourite and interesting band, have just brought out a new album, Gambler's Ballet. If it is like all their other albums it should be well worth a listen.
Finally, I caught the tail-end of ther Transatlantic Sessions on RTE last week which included excellent performances by Paul Brady and Sharon Shannon. It really was playing and enjoyment of the highest order. I am told that the 'Sessions' are not available on DVD because of 'contractual arrangements'. That's a real shame but there is always YouTube. This excerpt has Maura O'Connell with Nanci Griffith playing 'Trouble in the Fields' (and that looks like Danny Thompson in the background on double bass). Just type in 'Transatlantic Sessions' and watch the feast.
Launched in September 2006, learningpoint.ie enables you to access an extensive database of training courses and providers for the Sector, along with everything you need to know about training.'
Give it a go, I found it useful.
'Gender inequality is a far-reaching societal impairment, not merely a special
deprivation of women. That social understanding is urgent as well as momentous.'
Recently, I visited the Centre for Global Education (CGE), based in Belfast, which
'was established to provide education services that will enhance awareness and
understanding of international development issues. It aims to use education
as a means of challenging the causes of poverty and inequality in both local and
CGE, in partnership with the Suas society at Queen's University Belfast, are organising a Global Issues Seminar Series beginning on 11 October and running over eight consecutive Thursdays finishing on 29 November. The seminars cover a variety of topics, including migration, gender and climate change, that will be of relevance to local development workers and help provide a global perspective that can no doubt help influence local practice and social change in Ireland.
The venue for all of the seminars is Room 302b in the Peter Froggatt Centre in Queen's University each Thursday, commencing at 6pm. For more information and a pdf document describing the series contact the Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org. Try to get along, it should be an excellent and informative series.
While on the topic of the CGE, it is also an excellent resource/information centre with a large and accessible library, has web-based resources to support learning in local and global citizenship and offers an Open College Network accredited training course in global youth work with the aim of creating capacity in development education among practitioners in the youth sector in Northern Ireland.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
I wonder has anyone been involved in such exercises here in Ireland, north and south. I can think of a huge list of situations and contexts where such an idea could be tried in a positive way.
SEAGA has produced an excellent range of gender-related publications that are available for download free from their website including their excellent Handbooks series (this is the field level handbook). These provide practical information on how to undertake socio-economic and gender analysis at the macro, intermediate and field levels. Each Handbook presents case studies and tools to help development and gender practitioners collect, analyse and use information. Each Handbook also suggests methods for integrating the findings to policy programme and project identification and formulation.
Finally SEAGA has also produced a useful guide for those people facilitating the collection of gender disaggregated data for agriculture and rural development.
I am sure that SEAGA has much useful information and resources for local rural development and gender practitioners.
Disability Action; 'Disability Action Northern Ireland works to ensure that people with disabilities attain their full rights as citizens, by supporting inclusion, influencing Government policy and changing attitudes in partnership with disabled people.'
North West Forum of People with Disabilities (no website currently)
Northern Ireland Council of Ethnic Minorities (NICEM)
Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO)
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Click on the above links for massive amounts of useful information.
Course: Cultural Diversity Awareness Introductory Session
Date: Monday, 29 October 2007
Time: 10am — 4pm
Location: TWN Training Suite, Unit 10b Weavers Court , Linfield Road , Belfast
Cost: FREE (Limited to 20 places)
'It is nowadays incumbent on businesses to have an awareness of the implications
of having a multicultural workforce and the implications of equality legislation
for all employees. A wealth of cultural diversity awareness workshops and
training courses have been designed to assist businesses to manage cultural
diversity and equality issues in the workplace. In this unique 1 day
introductory session the hosts will seek to provide delegates with a wide
ranging overview of the issues that effect today employers based on the various
courses available. This special introductory course is aimed primarily at
frontline staff, business owners, HR staff and managers. The course involves
supporting the indigenous workforce to support multi-ethnic employees and
customers by creating awareness of the needs and customs of specific ethnic
groups. The result is a more informed and aware workforce and a more customer
friendly ethos. To book your free place on this unique course contact TWN on
(90) 319888 or e-mail mailto:email@example.com
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
'BRIDGE supports gender advocacy and mainstreaming efforts by bridging the gapsBRIDGE covers a range of themes and provides an array of information types. In relation to the issue of improved data and information systems in relation to gender the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Packs may be of interest.
between theory, policy and practice with accessible and diverse gender
information in print and online.'
The specific Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and Indicators may be particularly useful. It contains both an overview of issues and resource pack which has links to relevant information available online. The pack contains an interesting section on the need for engendering statistics systems and data collection.
Has anyone had experience using the BRIDGE resources? Have you found them useful?
'Siyanda aims to be an ever growing resource to support practitioners in
implementing gender programmes and in mainstreaming gender equality concerns,
whether they are gender specialists or not.'
'Over fifteen hundred acres of native Irish woodland have been designated as 16
'People's Millennium Forests' and are dedicated in perpetuity to the people of
Ireland. The forests include newly planted areas using native Irish seed and the
restoration of native woodlands that have been in existence for at least 200
years and probably longer. A native tree has been planted on behalf of every
household in Ireland and a certificate posted to all homes giving details about
the household's tree and where it is planted. The forests form a lasting legacy
for all to enjoy and will include woodland walks, nature trails, interpretative
and recreational facilities. '
The project also includes a Schools Programme and a resource pack is available that describes our native trees, collecting seed and setting up a school nursery.
There are also two excellent publications tied in with the project, Native Trees and Forests of Ireland and Our Trees: A Guide to Growing Ireland's Native Trees.
Another interesting read that I came across recently was Back Through the Fields: Memories of a Rural Life by Maurice McAleese (2005).
'brings together a collection of essays by a number of scholars and experts.The above website link also contains extensive resources, publications, weblinks and databases in the Irish Draught Horse Resource Guide.
Each contributor provides a unique perspective on the horse covering a wide
range of knowledge including Irish culture, economics, agriculture, folklore,
geography, art, genetics, equine science, archaeology, and history. The book is
illustrated with over 160 photographs and has an annotated bibliography.'
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
The posting referred to above on the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog called 'Mapping for Change' is a brief video on the international Mapping for Change conference that took place in Kenya in 2005 and is well worth watching.
For those interested in participatory mapping, IIED have published a special issue of Participatory Learning and Action dedicated to the Kenya conference. Robert Chambers has also written about the development of participatory mapping/GIS in his recent publication From PRA to PLA and Pluralism, which I recently posted on.
It would be interesting to learn about any similar participatory mapping exercises that might have been carried out locally with rural communities to map natural resources, cultural heritage or other community assets.
Monday, 17 September 2007
'Irish Rural Link (IRL), formed in 1991, is a national network of organisationsTo learn more about Irish Rural Link click here.
and individuals lobbying for sustainable rural development in Ireland and
Europe. IRL, a non-profit organisation, has grown significantly since its
inception and now directly represents over 300 community groups with a combined
membership of 25,000. The network provides a structure through which rural
groups and individuals, representing disadvantaged rural communities, can
articulate their common needs and priorities, share their experiences and
present their case to policy-makers at local, national and European Level'
'The documentary was filmed at the 'Ceangal' Conference, which was hosted by our
RARP partners 'Celtic Neighbours' in November last year. The 'Ceangal'
(Connections) Conference was the first of three planned annual events. The aim
of these events is to combine elements of conference, cultural showcase and
gathering of grassroots workers. This conference was hosted by Ealann na
Gaeltachta and took place in Gaoibh Doire, West Donegal. It showcased examples
of some of the most exciting arts and cultural activity taking place in the
Gaelic world – both Ireland and Scotland – and in Welsh-speaking communities in
This is part of the Trust's larger Rural Action Research Programme (RARP)
A Charter for Rural Communities - The final report of the Carnegie Commission for Rural Community Development.
Mapping Rural Needs - The Young Foundation
Developing Gender Research in Rural Scotland- UHIPolicyWeb
Asset Based Approaches to Rural Community Development- Literature Review and Resources
These and other publications can be downloaded from the Carnegie Trust website.
Saturday, 15 September 2007
The Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of Environment provides a considerable amount of the information available on general biodiversity in NI. This includes the NI Biodiversity Strategy and Recommendations for Biodiversity Conservation Action. Their website also contains useful information on the various partners involved including government departments, universities, local district councils and other relevant organisations. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is listed as the main partner responsible for leadership on the role of agriculture in promoting biodiversity and natural habitat protection with a particular responsibility for conservation arrangements for plant cultivars and livestock breeds. Unfortunately, I could not find much information on the DARD website regarding initiatives and activities that might be underway to achieve these conservation arrangements and who the main partners in agricultural biodiversity might be.
At an all-island level there are a few interesting networks and strategies that address agricultural biodiversity. Firstly, there is the Irish Genetic Resources Conservation Trust (IGRCT), which is a non-governmental organisation whose main objective is to promote the conservation and sustainable utilisation of Ireland's plant and animal genetic resources with a good focus on agricultural biodiversity. While listing those individuals and organisations involved it is not clear who is involved or participating from NI. Participation in such a network would seem an appropriate strategy of 'exploring mechanisms for promoting biodiversity conservation on an all-island basis' as highlighted in the NI Biodiversity Strategy. A National Plant Conservation Strategy for Ireland is another useful all-island document and includes a number of targets and actions relevant to supporting conservation of agricultural biodiversity.
But I am still concerned about the lack of general information on agricultural biodiversity issues in NI. If you are interested in, or work with, agricultural biodiversity in NI I would be grateful if you could share information on any of the following: What current activities are underway in relation to agricultural biodiversity and conservation in NI? Who are the main actors and organisations involved in agricultural biodiversity, in addition to DARD, in NI? What is the extent of all-island networking and cooperation among partners in relation to agricultural biodiversity?
Friday, 14 September 2007
Just read the comments from their blog on an author's culinary experiences on a recent visit to Ireland. There would seem to be much scope for improvement and innovation bringing to life Irish food in a rural setting.
- The fact that so many documents refer to the under-representation of women in rural development suggests that full account is not being taken of the work of the Women's Networks. A very solid infrastructure exists. Tapping into and supporting this infrastructure seems an important means of ensuring the representation of women in general rural development initiatives, a stated priority for DARD and the rural development organisations.
Which reminds me. I can't recall much being written in NIRDP2007-2013, which I posted on earlier, that convinces me rural development actors in NI have paid much heed to the findings and recommendations on gender from Dr Shortall's publication. I hope I am wrong.
Four scenarios for the future of shopping by 2022 are compared in a recent article published by the Guardian and based on a study carried out by the Forum for the Future which came up with scenarios of the future depending on high or low economic growth and changing consumer preferences
'Britain's biggest retailer, a giant food and toiletries manufacturer and a
group of sustainability experts have gazed into the future - and seen a new
world of shopping.'
I understand there are similar initiatives planned by the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) Rural Affairs Committee for the introduction of an agri-food educational resource pack for schools in Northern Ireland. Maybe someone can tell me about the current status of this initiative and if there are other similar initiatives underway on an all-island basis. Do you have any innovative experiences to share?
'a major opportunity exists to build on Northern Ireland's considerableSurely such opportunities, improvements and gains could be equally aided by improving the diversity of crops and livestock on-farm! Improved agrobiodiversity could also provide opportunities for innovative approaches for agri-tourism, agri-diversification and linking food marketing to improved environmental stewardship, strategies which the NIRDP also highlights.
investment to date (mainly through the agri-environment programme) in protecting the rural landscape and environment. There is growing interest within the
agriculture industry to embrace the agri-environment programme, yielding
improvements in farm practices and conserving the natural and built environment
and landscape character across a larger proportion of the Northern Ireland land
mass. This could be aided by further development of farm woodlands, with the
attendant gains in biodiversity and amenities.'
The publication describes many of the now familiar barriers facing women, and new arrivals in particular, in Ireland but more importantly highlights the massive change they can inspire if given an equal chance.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
'was the growing popularity of box schemes where households are delivered aA recent poll carried out by the Soil Association has found that 38% of people wanted local sourcing of food but the Guardian article highlights that nearly 50% of people who bought organic produce in 2006 thought that it was too expensive.
selection of fruit, vegetables and sometimes organic meat. Sales of boxes
increased 53% last year, with more being sold direct by supermarkets. But the
old idea of boxes of gnarled-looking vegetables delivered from small farms
complete with soil and beetles is changing. Some "boxes" now cost £250, and the
biggest schemes may collect from 60 or more farms and serve 10,000 or more
The NI Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 document reports uptake of DARD's Organic Farming Scheme has been much lower than expected when the scheme was launched in 2001. In 2004, agricultural land under organic production in NI was only 0.62% compared to a corresponding figure of 4.25% in England.
The Organic Action Plan Group for Northern Ireland, established in 2005 to lead the strategic development of the organic sector, produced its action plan in 2006.
'Pretty asks whether the small, mixed farm model offers anything to the
industrialised countries. It appears to have much in common with what a growing
number of farmers are attempting in his home country, the UK. Adding value,
earning a good proportion of the sales price and giving food a story - so people
know what they are eating and where it comes from - are increasingly seen as
vital to the financial viability of many UK farming businesses.'
I think it will offer many lessons.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Monday, 10 September 2007
Many of you will remember Lissan House from the BBC's Restoration series, when it finished runner-up to the Victoria Baths in Manchester. Well, the house is still very much in need of help, both financial and logistical. For more information on how you might help contact the Friends of Lissan Trust.
Hear Elsie Bell talk about Lissan House here. If you have any other stories about Lissan House you are welcome to share them here.
Sunday, 9 September 2007
I would be delighted to learn about the more innovative approaches to agritourism that might be happening in Ireland.
To obtain a copy of the toolkit get in touch with the RCN or call 022867 66670 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download full text of the document.
Saturday, 8 September 2007
- Place - from the whole earth to local communities and whatever intermediate levels may be useful
- Topic - environmental, social and economic well being - personal and community options
- Type of content - information, news, comment, images, etc., and most importantly,
- Openness to all - all stakeholders, and in particularly those that traditional and establishment initiatives tend to leave out - ordinary citizens and communities.
If you are interested in sustainability check it out. If you have time, maybe you can add information to the Ireland/Northern Ireland pages.
'it's equivalent to nearly five Hiroshima bombs exploding per second.'Definitely attention grabbing but back to the article and transition towns. The Transition Town movement was started by Rob Hopkins when he was working in Kinsale, County Cork. Transition towns are all about creating local innovative changes as a response to looming climate change. Apparently the movement is growing rapidly and individuals and groups from 176 places have now registered to become Transition Towns. The Transition Town website has an array of useful information on what communities can do and how to do it.
Kinsale is the only town in Ireland that has registered as a transition town. It would be great to hear from someone involved as to how things are progressing.
Friday, 7 September 2007
"the move endorses the overwhelming position articulated by RCN’s 450 members
and supported through 700 individual responses made to RCN’s consultation on the
Commenting on the court’s judgement Michael Hughes RCN’s Chief Executive Officer stated that
“To date there has been limited investment in seeking to understand what makes
rural communities tick. This decision provides an opportunity for an exploration
of the factors that have shaped the existing rural settlement pattern as well as
creating the space for people to engage in informed and responsible
conversations around how people will live and work in the countryside of the
Looks like a more inclusive and rural community-led policy-making and planning process might get underway. What do you think? What are your views on the ruling?
Not sure what PPS14 is about, click here?
Want to know what rural communities in NI thought was wrong with it, click here?
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
'The initiative aims to enhance the capacity of higher learning institutions
to develop and deliver effective education programs that contribute to a wider
transformation of individuals, institutions and society. It is especially
relevant to those involved in the preparation of individuals for engagement
in fields such as development, governance and citizenship, and within
sectors that aim to bring about personal and social change. It advocates
forms of learning that are grounded in the principles and practices of
participatory development and action research, and seeks to encourage these
forms through the sharing and generation of both theory and practice.'
While I understand and appreciate the benefits of such immersion programmes in the South there must also be many benefits of running similar programmes in local communities in rural/community settings in countries of the North. Surely, immersions can assist rural development professional practitioners in the North to a better and deeper understanding of the realities of rural community life. I would be most interested to hear from anyone familiar with similar programmes in Ireland, UK or elsehwere. I would be especially interested to hear from anyone involved in higher education in Ireland or the UK if immersion-type programmes or placements are used for student learning in rural and community development.