International Development and Development Education report: Challenging the Dominant Economic Paradigm?

05 December 2022

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New research commissioned by the Centre for Global Education, Belfast, and Financial Justice Ireland has investigated the extent to which the international development and development education sectors are engaging with neoliberalism as the main cause of poverty, inequality, and injustice. 

The research is based on the assumption that, in order for their work to have a lasting impact, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) need to give attention to the 'root causes' of poverty and involve the public in investigations of and responses to those causes.

The research methodology includes: 

  • a literature review of a number of Irish development agencies and networks
  • an assessment of their systemic analysis of issues in the context of neoliberalism
  • an online survey of DE practitioners; and
  • two consultative online seminars

The findings show that INGOs don’t “give anywhere near adequate attention to explorations with the public of the economic causes of poverty, inequality and injustice.” They also fail to provide a "systemic analysis of reasons for the existence of the issues” they address.

The research raises the question - is it acceptable that INGOs are largely ignoring the systemic causes of poverty in the midst of a cost of living crisis, a food crisis, an energy crisis and a climate crisis? We think it is completely unacceptable.

Please take the time to read the report and discuss it with colleagues and agitate for change with regards the important issues it raises.

Research and development of this report has been funded by The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.