Our collective activism will play a vital part in achieving the Global Goals and making the changes our world needs to eradicate hunger, poverty, inequality and injustice.
How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Change is needed, and it is needed urgently. It will not come about through the actions of our governments alone. It cannot be simply left to international institutions like the UN or even NGOs like Concern. Fundamental change really must involve all of us.
Our collective activism will play a vital part in making the change we need to achieve the Global Goals and eradicate hunger, poverty, inequality, injustice.
People in Ireland have a long, proud history of taking action for what they believe to be right. Remember the courageous Dunnes’ workers who went on strike in the 1980s in solidarity with those living under apartheid in South Africa? Or the bold women who boarded the contraceptive train to Belfast in 1971?
However, activism does not always have to be about impassioned protest. There are small things that every single one of us – the stressed student, the overloaded parent and the weary worker – can do to make our world a better place. We can fit everyday activism into our everyday lives.
Begin with Project Us
What social problems upset you the most? What injustices infuriate you? It could be children forced to live in hotel rooms, corruption and corporate greed or wanton environmental destruction. Concern’s Project Us is a unique forum (online and off) that provides the space for communities across Ireland to reflect, connect and get ideas sparking. You could take your first steps as an activist by coming along to one of our Project Us coffee conversation events around Ireland in 2017 and 2018.
There are also other steps that budding activists can take:
- Do some research – learn more about the current reality and find out what others are doing locally, nationally or internationally on your issue.
- Connect with others interested in the issue – in your community, region or online. Contact expert groups who may be able to advise you on the role you can play.
- Support organisations working on your issue – empower organisations like Concern or the host of other NGOs in Ireland and abroad doing excellent work. Give donations, give your time by volunteering, give your expertise – whatever you can manage.
- Speak out respectfully – as our world becomes more divisive, we have a responsibility to be more vigilant to hate speech, bigotry and ignorance, and more open and skilful in our discussions. Bravely interject and respectfully engage with your friends, colleagues and your elected representatives.
- Use social media to link into networks and raise awareness. Learn more in Amnesty’s Social media activism guide. It could be that your activism simply comes down to cleverly using your existing social media accounts and joining groups that will keep you up to date on news and events. You can take your first step right now by joining the Project Us online community:
Resources for the everyday activist
- Concern’s Guide to everyday activism gives you more helpful tips on getting active for change now!
- Concern resources on climate change, gender equality, sustainable development and hunger offer excellent introductions to these issues.
- ChangeX: Changex.org offers a store of exciting community projects around Ireland for you to get involved in – from intergenerational projects and food rescuers initiatives to Irish Men’s Sheds.
- Coalition 2030: This network of NGOs provides information on Ireland’s movement towards achieving the Global Goals.
- Enactus Ireland is an nationwide organisation working to enable third level students to develop social entrepreneurial projects.
- Volunteer Ireland offers you a bank of volunteer roles so you can choose what suits your skills and availability.
- If you’re a teacher or student, your school can get involved in Concern Debates, Campaign Academy or our Hunger Heroes Day.
- Activelink provides information on jobs, volunteering, events, training and publications related to the NGO sector in Ireland.
- Ashoka Ireland supports social innovators to bring to life projects that will help change the world.
- Comhlámh’s member groups offer the chance to join a group campaigning on an issue that’s important to you – from trade justice to welcoming refugees to Ireland.