My company has been lobbying Irish Aid through social media campaigns and letters to continue supporting our organization. Even after we gathered results proving the drastic advancements and improvements prompted by one of our programs in West Africa, Irish Aid decided to cut spending from that single program. In our eyes, this is one of our most successful, impactful, and necessary programs.
As an inter, my task during this campaign has been to create several videos highlighting specific beneficiaries of the program. These videos are then posted to Twitter and Facebook and our website accompanied by a story. Although having our funding stripped is less than ideal, I have been learning a lot from this situation. I’ve been able to observe how a company responds to adversity. The office did not just accept the outcome they were given. They are trying, and truly believe they can, change Irish Aid’s mind. This effort does not seem futile to me, which normally I’m a sort of glass half empty kind of person, because we have facts on our side. The program they are cutting has drastically improved the rates of malnutrition among children, and the overall health of communities has skyrocketed by looking at several different indicators. I attended a small presentation by our nutrition expert who implemented the program and collected the data and I was absolutely stunned and moved by the results. I think Irish Aid would be too if we could just make them see these results.
This is an example of a political force my organization has to deal with. While they’ve been thinking Trumps presidency would pose a threat to their funding, the cuts have already begun much closer to them. While they were prepared for the worst in terms of their involvement with organizations like US Aid, they did not anticipate a failure from Irish Aid, and frankly they cannot afford it in the wake of America’s political climate; one that values the individual over the collective.
What’s most heartbreaking is during interviews with beneficiaries, several have said over the years that they never expected SHA to return. They thought it was a mere fantasy. They cannot believe the support they continue to receive and with each visit they plead that it carries on. I’m worried Irish Aid will let them down. SHA will keep fighting for those who are silenced by distance and destitution. I’m proud to be assisting, even in such a small way, in this crusade.