Looking back on the Dóchas Awards 2017

26 july 2018

Winners at the Dóchas Awards 2017

Ahead of the Dóchas Awards 2018, we have been catching up with last year's award winners to hear what winning their award meant to them and to find out what they are doing now.

The annual Dóchas Awards celebrate the amazing work of our members and the inspirational individuals who bring about meaningful change through their tireless work to eradicate global poverty and inequality.


Global Citizen Award Winner 2017 - Bobby McCormack

The Global Citizen Award celebrates an outstanding individual, who shows determination and leadership, and inspires and empowers others to work towards ending global injustice and inequality. 

Bobby McCormack is Co-founder and Director of Development Perspectives


Winning the Global Citizen Award was a personal and professional honour. Receiving positive recognition from your peers is high praise especially within an area we all feel so passionate about. I know of and work and network with dedicated professionals from many organisations, which are members of Dóchas. To be in a room full of people I admire and respect and to hear praise of my contribution to Development Perspectives (DP) and Development Education more generally is a morning I won't forget. The award was celebrated in DP and acted as a source of inspiration to our team over the last few months. The award also afforded DP some welcome media attention, which to a small NGO is hugely valuable.

I'm beginning to work with our team and board on our new strategic plan for 2019 - 2024 and in August will be putting the finishing touches to a new documentary, which DP will be releasing online in September.

Draw inspiration from last year's finalists.


Humanitarian Award Winner 2017 - Mary T. Murphy

The Humanitarian Award celebrates an individual or organisation that has shown exceptional commitment and dedication to a cause or a country in crisis. It recognises those working on the front line of humanitarian work and highlights the increasingly challenging context within which we work. 

Mary T. Murphy is Refugee Programme Manager with GOAL in Ethiopia.


It was a great honour and I was surprised and delighted when I received the Dóchas Humanitarian of the Year Award. I could not have achieved this on my own, the award was a recognition of all the wonderful colleagues and friends I have met and worked with over the years in the humanitarian field, especially with GOAL. The award gave me a boost and an encouragement to strive to be a greater humanitarian and to show my appreciation for the honour I received.

I was in Ethiopia during the Dublin award ceremony so my GOAL colleague Mary Van Lieshout brought the award to Ethiopia. Minster Coveney was in Addis Ababa at the time and I have a nice commemorative photograph. The plaque itself is very special and I cherish it. Many people contacted me individually, and I got some nice messages from some old colleagues and friends. In 2017, I was very honoured also to receive the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish overseas.

I continue to work with GOAL responding to the humanitarian needs of refugees. I work with a strong and committed team of Ethiopian staff delivering emergency Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene promotion programmes.

Draw inspiration from last year's finalists.


Respect and Equality in Communications Award Winner 2017 - Self Help Africa (Two Villages)

The Respect and Equality in Communications Award celebrates inspiring Communications. It recognises an organisation that consistently uses empowering images and messages in their communications, that challenge stereotypes and are based on the values of respect, equality, solidarity and justice, in line with the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. 

Self Help Africa is a leading international development charity with an expertise in small-scale farming and growing family-farm businesses.

George Jacob, Communications, Self Help Africa:

The award for ‘Respect and Equality in Communications’ from Dóchas reminds us all of the responsibility that we have when telling the stories of the poor, the vulnerable and the often voiceless people with whom we work.

Last year, in presenting us with this prize, our peers acknowledged, to some extent at least, that we had achieved what we set out to do when we first began collecting the materials that became a part of ‘Two Villages.’ Over the course of four years we made repeated visits, conducted successive interviews, and spoke time and again with people from two small communities in Zambia, and tried to tell their stories as accurately as we could – their dreams, their hopes, the challenges they faced but also the improvements that they experienced through their work with Self Help Africa.

Those who worked on the project over a four year period know better than most that while some aspects worked out for us, it was far from plain sailing. Nonetheless, the Dóchas Award acknowledged that our effort was worthy of recognition, and it was respectful of the villagers of Malela and Nsunda, without whose participation we could not have carried out this work.

In the past year we have developed new school workbooks that are being used by our Development Education colleagues in their activities with students in Irish classrooms, and have toured an exhibition to locations across Ireland, including to events such as The National Ploughing Championships, Africa Day and Electric Picnic, third level institutions in Galway and Maynooth, and at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

We believe that the endeavour still has some distance to go too, and are currently in conversation with TV producers, in the hope that a stand-alone film documentary about the lives from these communities in Northern Zambia might materialize in the year to come.

Draw inspiration from last year's finalists.


SDG Champion Award Winner 2017 - Development Perspectives

The SDG Champion Award recognised an organisation that has done outstanding work around the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Development Perspectives is a development NGO based in Drogheda, Co. Louth, which specialises in development education. The #SDGchallenge is a development education project which aims to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills and motivation to take informed action to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Stephanie Kirwan, #SDGchallenge Coordinator:

In 2017, the SDG Challenge was honoured to have won the SDG Champion Award in the lead up to the 2nd anniversary of the project. The award assisted Development Perspectives in raising the profile of the project and gaining further attraction to the project.

Since winning the Dóchas SDG Champion Award, the SDG Challenge was selected as a finalist in the UN SDG Action Award in Bonn, Germany. This provided a great platform for learning and sharing from other finalists. The SDG Challenge is currently in the midst of the 2018 SDG Advocate Programme where 22 SDG Advocates are taking part in this 8 month project with overseas elements with our partners in Tanzania and Vietnam. In the Autumn months, all advocates will be implementing SDG related action projects in communities right across Ireland to share their learning from the project, raise awareness of the SDGs in Ireland and make sure that the SDGs become a reality. The SDG Challenge continues with workshops in counties across Ireland, alongside our partners. New additions have been added to the project in terms of mentoring, coaching and engaging activities.

We are extremely grateful for the recognition and support for the SDG Challenge and to Dóchas for awarding the project as the Irish SDG Champion for 2017.

The Innovation Award will be awarded at the Dóchas Awards 2018 instead of the SDG Champion Award. 


Further Information about the Dóchas Awards 2018

Nominations for the Dóchas Awards 2018 closed on 24 September. Finalists will be announced in the Autumn and winners will be announced at the Dóchas Awards ceremony on 5 December 2018 in Wood Quay Venue, Dublin.

More information about the Dóchas Awards 2018 can be found here.