“The crisis has a woman’s face”

Now more than ever, we need to increase our Official Development Assistance: Dóchas calls for increased aid funding

13 Jul 2021

Members of the Oireachtas will tomorrow (Wednesday) hear from leading Irish NGOs that COVID is eroding decades of development gains. The pandemic has not only had a devastating health impact, but it has undone some of the major development gains of recent years, including in relation to poverty eradication, public health advances, and equal access
to education for girls.

Representatives of Dóchas, Trocaire, Concern will tell TDs and Senators that increasing Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend in Budget 2022 is vital if we are to prevent the situation worsening. 

“Now more than ever, the triple burden of COVID-19, Climate Change and Conflict are being felt by those in the poorest parts of the world. Increasing Ireland’s aid spending in real terms in Budget 2022 will become a critical lifeline for many thousands of communities who are unvaccinated and slipping further into poverty, including women and girls, people with disabilities, refugees and other marginalised groups,” says Dóchas CEO, Suzanne Keatinge. 

“Ireland has shown solidarity for the world's poorest people through both its international development and humanitarian aid programme, and its work on peacebuilding. We are rightly lauded as leaders in this work and it is why Ireland won a vital seat on the UN Security Council this year which, as a nation, we can be immensely proud of,” said Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire.

“However, despite the government's pledge to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development aid by 2030 we aren't even spending half that at present. The government must increase its spend and provide a clear targeted pathway to achieving what it has promised”.

Research conducted by Dóchas Worldview project indicates that there is strong public concern in Ireland (75% of people) about levels of poverty in the developing world, with a further 70% of people polled saying they would feel safer if Ireland was part of a coordinated global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The committee will also hear how violent conflict has been exacerbated by COVID, particularly against women. “The crisis has a woman’s face, violence against women and girls in all forms has skyrocketed, from online abuse to domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation and child marriage”, said UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres.

Since the pandemic began, Zimbabwe has seen a 75% increase in demand for services for women suffering from gender based violence. Official Development Aid in Zimbabwe has supported Oxfam and partner Musasa to scale up services and advocate for women’s rights, doubling capacity in shelters in Harare and Mberengwa.

“To say the pandemic has been devastating for the poorest people is an understatement. Our initial expectation of COVID was of a health crisis, but what we now see is a crisis on every level – health, gender-based violence, education, mental health, livelihoods and peace and most importantly, a crisis of hunger and deepening inequality,” said Dominic MacSorley,
Concern Worldwide’s CEO.

In light of the devastating impact of COVID-19, now more than ever, Ireland needs to show leadership, solidarity and urgency. 

-- ENDS --

For media enquiries, contact: 

● Ronan Doyle, Head of Communications and Public Engagement, Dóchas
ronan@dochas.ie or 087 132 5256
● Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide
eamon.timmins@concern.net or 087 9880524
● David O'Hare, Communications Officer, Trócaire
David.OHare@trocaire.org or +44 (0) 7900053884

Notes to Editors:

Dóchas’ Worldview project is a comprehensive online survey of over 70 questions was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes amongst a sample of 3,008 adults aged 18+ in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, a detailed segmentation exercise was conducted to understand the factors motivating support for overseas development. The statistics in this release are from that research, and some additional results are copied below:

Media Coverage 

Irish overseas aid spending has ‘stagnated’, NGOs say - Irish Times

Government is not even spending half what it promised on overseas development aid - Irish Independent


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