Strategic Planning

Supporting Development Education in Ireland

“The contribution of the ISOS team to the success of the overall reviews has been invaluable. The high level of commitment and professionalism which they brought to what was a complex process was outstanding.”


What did we do?

Irish Aid, part of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland, commissioned five concurrent reviews of Development Education in primary schools, secondary schools, higher education, the youth sector and the adult and community learning sector. Isos developed the review methodology, carried out the reviews in the primary and secondary sectors, and coordinated all five reviews.  Isos also led on the development of a performance framework for Development Education, based on the outcomes of the five reviews.

The purpose of Development Education in schools is to ensure that children and young people gain a critical understanding and awareness of issues relating to global poverty and injustice.  The reviews carried out by Isos focused on the extent to which Development Education had been successfully integrated into primary and secondary schools in Ireland.

We undertook a desk-based analysis of the existing research, written evaluations of major development education programmes, funding information and project documentation. We then used this evidence base to inform fieldwork  that included semi-structured interviews and focus groups with a wide range of stakeholders, alongside visits to schools to see their approach to development education in action. We also provided project management to coordinate the outputs of the three other related reviews, and worked consistently with the other reviewers to ensure that a clear and coherent set of messages emerged from all five reviews, to underpin the performance framework.

What difference did we make?

The evidence gathered during the review process enabled us to make a set of clear recommendations to Irish Aid on how to maximise the impact of their future funding for Development Education. The recommendations identified a number of priority areas for support which will be critical to increasing the integration of Development Education in primary and secondary schools in future. The reviews also highlighted a number of practical ways in which the overall programme of support for development education could be made more coherent and better aligned towards Irish Aid’s strategic priorities.

Building on these recommendations, we worked with Irish Aid colleagues and the other review leaders to create the basic structure for a performance framework, against which the impact of support for Development Education might be measured in future. We tested the outcomes of the reviews, and the approach to a new performance framework, with a diverse and broad-ranging group of over 70 stakeholders, who welcomed the opportunity to engage with the findings. As a result of this project, Irish Aid has a strong and evidence-based set of priorities to maximise the impact of their funding over the next three years.

What did the client say about our work?

“The contribution of the ISOS team to the success of the overall reviews has been invaluable. The high level of commitment and professionalism which they brought to what was a complex process was outstanding.  They succeeded in winning the confidence of external stakeholders and feedback was extremely positive.   Excellent conceptual, facilitation and  organisational skills were displayed throughout the process.  Their ability to deliver against a very tight deadline time was much appreciated.”