Groups engaged in ‘decolonising education’ among recipients of grants totalling €410,000.

Two leading liberal philanthropic foundations, The Community Foundation for Ireland and The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, have announced that they are introducing a new pilot scheme “to strengthen the voice of civil society across the island.”

The pilot scheme will see 30 Civil Society partnerships receive funding of €410,000 provided from private donors and other foundations.
Among the groups are the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, who will be partnering with the Belfast-based Committee for the Administration of Justice, while the Law Centre NI will be partnering with Dublin-based Free Legal Aid Centre (FLAC).

According to The Community Foundation for Ireland, the partnerships will cover a broad range of issues and challenges including Migrant and Refugee Rights projects aimed at bringing about improved access to services for migrant women, research on cross border human trafficking for sexual exploitation, support for schools and universities of sanctuary.

The grants will also enable equality work which will include “the development of legal policies for an all-island ban on LGBTI+ conversion therapy as well decolonising education systems to ensure all identities and traditions are represented.”

According to UNESCO, decolonising education systems involves recognising that much of the knowledge, values and skills that we are expected to learn in formal education systems have been Eurocentric in nature:

“That is to say that they draw primarily on Western frameworks and histories, excluding other ways of conceiving the natural and social world. Protests including those led by the Black Lives Matter, Rhodes Must Fall, Indigenous and other anti-colonial, anti-racist social movements have called for education to be decolonised and for diverse knowledge systems to be the basis for realising equitable and sustainable futures.”

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland, announcing the grants said:

“For too long groups like young people, women, migrants and many others have been pushed aside or ignored.” “The challenge for us now is to ensure continued support not just from private donors but also from Governments.”

In 2020 Community Foundation Ireland provided over €15 million in grants and formed partnerships, including RTÉ Does Comic Relief as well as the Late Late Toy Show Appeal.

Since its establishment 21 years ago CFI has provided in excess of €75m through what it terms “strategic investments” in communities.

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