Dublin, Ireland- The Irish AWEPA Section held its second Annual General Meeting in the Irish Parliament, on 10 June 2015, where AWEPA’s CAO Theo Kralt was the guest speaker and gave a presentation on the role of core funding in AWEPA’s recent development.
As part of its professionalisation process, the Irish AWEPA Section now holds Annual General Meetings where its audited accounts are presented to Irish AWEPA members.
Fielding questions on a range of topics from the role of AWEPA’s staff in Africa, to the organisation’s costs, to the challenges of the South Sudan and Somalian programmes, Mr. Kralt gave an overview that described the kind of carefully-planned programme-building that AWEPA envisages in the future.
Irish AWEPA members, including AWEPA Executive Committee member, Olivia Mitchell TD, and Head of Section, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, went on to discuss further issues of concern to the Irish AWEPA Section. Deputy Mitchell said that democratic strengthening must be used to address the underlying causes of the asylum and migration crisis in Africa. Similarly, chairperson of the meeting, Deputy O’Sullivan, called for more democratic contact between European AWEPA members and African parliamentarians, where she said the real ingenuity and energy of AWEPA lay.
Other voices, such as AWEPA Council member, Denis Naughten TD, called for AWEPA not to forget its campaigning and activist traditions, while also describing the lessons of his participation on the AWEPA Joint Monitoring Teams. Anthony Lawlor TD expanded on the challenges encountered by the AWEPA Joint Monitoring Teams in Tanzania and Mozambique, while reiterating the need for effective oversight of development aid so that resources are neither wasted nor duplicated.
Leas-Cheann Comhairle and former Minister of State for Development, Michael Kitt TD, emphasised the continuing importance of education in Africa, in particular for girls. He was supported by another new attendee, Peter Mathews TD, who also spoke of the importance of economic justice to Africa and its exploitation by powerful rogue actors, leading to the glaring economic inequalities highlighted earlier in the meeting by Michelle Mulherin TD.
In conclusion, the AWEPA Irish Section conducted its second AGM with a strong focus on the core funding contribution made by Irish Aid to AWEPA, with a short discussion on the Joint Monitoring Teams. Two new Oireachtas members participated in the meeting, following a year in which there were once again record attendances at Irish AWEPA Section meetings. The asylum and migration crisis in Africa, development and democratic effectiveness, and the need to return to AWEPA’s campaigning principles were identified as clear priorities for the year ahead.