Changing role of international charities


Sir, – Sally Hayden’s wonderful article “There is nowhere I’d rather wait out coronavirus than Uganda” (World, July 6th) brought back many happy memories of a country I lived in for six years.

Amid her reflections on the vibrancy and rich culture of Uganda, she is right to point to the changing role of international charities in that country and beyond.

In all the countries where Trócaire works, our staff are almost exclusively from the communities they serve. Their remit is not to impose solutions but to work in partnership with local civil society organisations already implementing those solutions.

With the help of people in Ireland, we support these local organisations, building their capacity to a point where they can thrive independently.

The Trócaire box, which Sally Hayden refers to, is aimed at primary-school children in Ireland. Its purpose is to build affinity with children living elsewhere in the world. Each year, the box is accompanied by a detailed teaching resource exploring human rights and the interconnectedness of our world.

When I lived in Uganda in 2012, the Trócaire box featured a boy called Daniel from Lira in northern Uganda. He is now a young man, doing well in school. Local organisations, with our support, helped to rebuild Daniel’s community after the conflict that destroyed that region. His story is an example of global solidarity and partnership to support people bringing about change in their own communities.

People must be authors of their own futures. Development needs to be locally managed, locally driven and locally owned. In Trócaire, we see our role as being a core part of that effort. – Yours, etc,


Director of International




Co Kildare.