Last month Comhlámh travelled to Belfast to meet with a group of global educators who had made the request to develop an active group in the north. Grainne O’Neill, our Volunteer Engagement Project Officer has this report.
We met in the Youth Action offices right in the city centre and the fruit, buns and chatter got the meeting off to a friendly start.
The group, all involved in some form of global education, ranged from returned development workers, NGO workers, freelance educators and active citizens (some all of the above!). The group explored the possibilities that having an active group in the north might manifest. These possibilities included options for global education across the north, campaigning and advocacy options as well as opportunities to knit together returnees from different places through talks and social meet ups.
Mark Cumming, Head of Comhlámh, gave a history of the organisation, including the different regional groups that used to exist and the activities they were involved with. He shared how many groups found their space within Comhlámh and, supported by the emergent energy around these times, grew and consolidated their activities. Examples of the issues that have emerged and acted upon over the years include: anti-apartheid, refugee support, anti-racism, trade justice, FGM, and on-going support for returned volunteers and development workers.
There was a restless but really positive feeling in the room, and while there is still a lot more discussion needed for the activity of the group and wider Comhlámh activity in the north of Ireland, it was great to get the conversation started.
Watch this space!