2015 marks the end of the fourth year of our current five year development programme and we are pleased to report that Aidlink’s continued efforts to combat poverty yield strong results and positive outcomes for some of the world’s poorest and most isolated communities. In 2015 we reached 15,500 people with improved access to water and sanitation, 18,000 children benefited from our primary school WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiatives, over 50,000 people now live with improved access to community healthcare in Uganda and our health programme in Kenya served a catchment of 300,000 people.
With over thirty years of experience, we have come to know that effective development practice is a lengthy process, requiring enduring commitment, trusting engagement and constant learning. This year we commissioned two externally led processes, examining and evaluating the impact of our work. The programme evaluation found that, year on year, our work contributes to real and sustainable improvements to the lives of the poor, especially women and girls. The ten year review of our partnership model confirmed that Aidlink’s distinctive partnership approach to development, built on foundations of trust, equality and solidarity, is truly participatory. Our commitment to investing in the capacity building of local communities and local organisations garners lasting results, and ensures that communities are empowered with the skills and knowledge to lead and shape their own development.
The successful delivery of our development programme relies on the successful operation of Aidlink as an organisation. We are extremely proud of our achievements in governance, accountability and transparency, and we welcome to the Aidlink Board of Directors this year Ms. Meadhbh McCann and Ms. Marion Shaw, who will both undoubtedly, serve to further strengthen our governance practice. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Mr. Mick Dunne whose retirement this year from the Board brought to an end 15 years of tireless commitment to Aidlink. We wish him every success into the future and thank him for his significant contribution to the story of Aidlink.
Financially, partner budgets for the year have been met, allowing for the implementation of all intended interventions. Expenditure is down €180,000 on 2014, reflecting an off-year in Aidlink’s School Immersion Programme, while income is up €104,000 on 2014, due to the generous bequest of Hugo Macklin.
It was with deep sadness that we learned this year of Hugo’s passing. A founding member of Aidlink, Hugo’s lifelong commitment to the poor, shaped and moulded the values and principles espoused by Aidlink today. His substantial bequest is greatly appreciated, and will allow Aidlink to expand our work, reaching more communities with our development programme into the future. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. His legacy will live on in Aidlink’s work.
As we reflect on our achievements we also acknowledge that Aidlink works as part of an international network of development actors, together contributing to global progress. 2015 has been a huge year for the world’s development community, as we marked the European Year of Development – a year-long European initiative to highlight and emphasise the European Union’s development programmes, and the end of the pioneering Millennium Development Goals – the world’s committed targets to address extreme poverty. While significant progress has been made worldwide over the past two decades, a renewed and reinvigorated commitment to ending poverty and inequality, in all its forms, is required. In this spirit, we welcome the launch this year of the Sustainable Development Goals, and commit ourselves to being part of the global movement to bring about real and lasting change.
Ireland is recognised as a leader on the global development stage, as a nation committed to ending poverty and injustice, and upholding human rights. As we emerge from recession, we welcome the formation of the new government and urge them to ensure that Ireland continues to play a leading role in contributing to a better world.
We truly believe that for Aidlink, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The combined strength of individuals, communities, our partner organisations, our partner schools, our generous donors – big and small, Irish Aid, our friends, families, and supporters, make Aidlink what it is today. We thank each and every one who has contributed to our 2015 story, and hope that you will continue, with Aidlink, to be part of the change.