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Mark Cumming Looks Back At The Year Just Gone And What’s Ahead For 2015.

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Infographic: Click for full scale version or download here.

How do you review a year? One way is to look through the ‘numbers’ and the attached info-graphic highlights some of the vibe off Comhlámh in the last year. While numbers give one insight, it’s not the full story. Mark Cumming, the head of Comhlámh looks back and talks about the year ahead.

Another way would be to read the online volunteer stories; read the blogs by staff, members, workshop participants and sending agency staff; review the twitter feed; read Focus magazine; read the policy papers; watch the online videos or think back on the interactions you had yourself at workshops, trainings, debates or social events.

In 2014, some of my ‘stand out’ moments was the HSE’s recognition of Comhlámh as the lead ‘go to’ agency on responsible volunteering; the launch of our new home with a mural to the memory of Marius Schoon, attended by past members from each decade of Comhlámh going back to the 1970’s; re-connecting with the global diaspora in Ireland; the launching of new ‘core’ standards for the Comhlamh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies; the return of the #FirstWedsDebates and the launch event of the new Comhlámh Northern Ireland members’ group.

Mark Cumming with a copy of the first edition of our new look Focus magazine.

Mark Cumming with a copy of the first edition of our new look Focus magazine.

Our political work saw us pressure 13 MEP candidates into signing the #AlternativeTradeMandate pledge which Comhlámh spearheaded in Ireland; we also shared platforms with the Minister responsible for Irish Aid, other TDs and Senator and to cap it all the Tanáiste came to the launch of the newest Comhlámh group – the Dympna Meaney Women’s Leadership Development Fund.

 


 

“I have a New Year’s resolution to get active in Comhlámh. It was supposed to happen after your open day, but hopefully over Christmas holiday I’ll make time to read packs of info you have sent out. You seem to be doing great work, but having been on the Comhlámh Executive many years ago, I know Comhlámh is nothing unless it is driven by an active membership. It was the first organisation I joined when new to Dublin and the fount of most of my friendships. So I intend to call into you early in the New Year to see what’s to do.”

 

– One of the last emails received in the office before we broke for the holidays.


2015 is a landmark year, our 40th , but more importantly a pivotal moment as the global community decides on what direction to take post the MDG’s. Will it be characterised by a commitment to a rights based perspective, that places rights, sustainability and a commitment to the participation of those excluded from power at the centre of any programme of commitments?

2015 is the EU year of development, at its core is the hope that it will engage people to become actively interested in development issues and contribute to debate and policy formulation. Comhlámh members given their global experiences are centrally placed to make a contribution to these debates.

We face a challenging year financially, our 2015 budget from Irish Aid is down 12% on 2014. But we will face this; membership is growing, our committed giving is building and our NGO donor base is diversifying.

Do renew your membership and if you can, think of joining the Solidarity Circle and commit €10, €15 or €21 per month.

I look forward to being in touch with as many of you as possible in 2015.



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