Despite ongoing recession, the Irish public continues to believe Ireland should to invest in overseas aid. A new opinion poll, commissioned by Dóchas (Irish Association for Non-Governmental Development Organisations) from IPSOS/MRBI, found that 85% of people rated overseas aid as “important” or “very important”. What’s more, a very large majority – 88% thinks that Ireland should be proud of its reputation as an international aid donor.
Irish Aid continues to support The Hope Foundation’s Primary Healthcare Programme, which reaches out to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable street and slum children and their families. Irish Aid also supported HOPE’s Child Protection programme in its early years. Speaking about the poll findings, Maureen Forrest, Hon Director of HOPE said: “The Irish public have generously supported HOPE’s work since 1999. Guided by local communities, we deliver the most accessible, cost-effective interventions and we are proud to partner with Irish Aid to support the most vulnerable communities of our time.”
What also comes out of the Dóchas-commissioned report is that the public is unsure about the difference the money makes to the lives of those they wish to help. “This research confirms once again that, even in the midst of recession, the Irish public want Ireland to help the victims of disasters, violence and extreme poverty,” said Jim Clarken, Dóchas Chairperson and CEO of Oxfam Ireland.
“The poll also shows that people’s perceptions of what aid can do, and what aid is actually achieving, have not caught up with realities on the ground,” said Clarken. The research revealed that only 49% of people in Ireland believe Africa is better off now than two decades ago. In actual fact, there is increasing evidence that progress is being made in sub-Saharan Africa, where much of Ireland’s public and private aid is spent.
“This research suggests that, despite clear progress in many developing countries, the good news stories are not reaching the general public,” said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas.
“We now need a broader approach to informing the Irish people about the contribution that we in Ireland are making around the world. We need NGOs, the media and government to work together to build on the enormous support for global justice that is in evidence, and to demonstrate that choices we make in Ireland can have a big impact on poor people overseas,” concluded Zomer.
When asked where people get their information about developing countries, the vast majority of respondents indicated that they rely on television and other media. The research shows that most people get their information from the television (90%) and press (83%), followed by a mix of internet sources (73%).
Photo: David Lavery