Most Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a collection of some of the questions most commonly asked to the Progressio Ireland staff. If you need any more information please feel free to send us your query.
Q: How does Progressio choose a country to work in?
Initial involvement in a country depends on a number of key criteria being met. These include such factors as: Are the needs within the country great? Would the country benefit from an organisation such as Progressio? Is there a civil society sector? Are there organisations within that sector that are open to being accompanied by an organisation like Progressio?
The Progressio family then makes a long-term commitment to the country it has determined could benefit from further assistance. This long-term commitment is necessary in terms of building up the expertise to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to development within that country. On-going monitoring of the work in each country, in conjunction with more in-depth evaluations of the impacts of the work, is then used to determine if, how and when we should withdraw from a country.
Q: What is People Powered Development?
In the simplest terms, People Powered Development is giving people in vulnerable communities the power to transform their lives by exercising control over the systems that govern their lives.We believe that poor and marginalised people do have the desire and ability to change their lives and overcome the barriers that keep them in poverty; they just need support along the way. We develop long-term relationships with people in devloping regions of the world to give them the skills they need to care for themselves in the long run.
People Powered Development is the process by which people in the global South develop these skills and take control of their future.
Q: How many Development Workers does Progressio currently employ?
Answer: The Progressio family currently employs about 130 skilled development workers across 11 countries.
Q: What makes Progressio different from other development organisations?
At Progressio, we recognise that we aren’t the only organisation that works on issues of social justice; nor are we the only organisation that sends development workers overseas and combines work on the ground with advocacy and campaigning work in Europe. It is our distinctive approach to development issues that makes us different.
It is the local partner organisations that we work with that decide on what precise support they need in terms of improving their work to tackle poverty. Progressio works directly with them to develop an appropriate job description rather than impose policies that may not provide the maximum benefit to the developing regions. We then supply these organisations with a skilled worker to accompany them as they build their capacity in specific areas. Traditionally we support that person to work with the organisation for a minimum of two years. This long term approach gives organisations the time to build up their capacity, and to ensure that it is “installed” to such a degree that the skills remain long after the development worker has gone.
Q: What is the biggest focus of Progressio’s work?
In the past few years the work of Progressio as a family has focused on three main areas. One is working toward a sustainable environment, looking at supporting projects and processes that help vulnerable people have an improved but sustainable quality of life. The second concerns the active participation of these people in the processes that influence their lives, challenging their local and national governments to do better at providing for them.
Finally, Progressio has a long and interesting history of working on HIV/AIDS. Of these three areas, Progressio Ireland is now focusing much more strongly on the first two, as in recent years great improvements have been made in the HIV/AIDS sector.
Q: How is Progressio Ireland funded?
Answer: Progressio Ireland is very fortunate to have the support of Irish Aid. This contributes a large chunk of Progressio Ireland’s money. We also receive money from other institutions, from the corporate sector and from private donations. Increasingly we are looking to diversify our funding to give us more long-term security.
Q: Where does the money go?
Answer: The highest percentage of money goes towards employing development workers and in developing the advocacy and campaigning work that is so essential in challenging the actual structures and systems that keep people poor. For the Progressio family, this percentage is 78%. For Progressio Ireland this percentage is 81%. The small percentage that is left goes towards supporting the essential functions that are necessary for Progressio Ireland to be an efficient and effective organisation and to the monitoring and evaluation of the overseas work. By this we ensure that the invested money is having the desired impact on the communities with whom we are working.
Q: How can I help?
There are many ways to help. You could look at becoming a development worker with the organisation, or at giving some time as an intern or volunteer in the Progressio Ireland office. You could become involved in campaigning actions being proposed by the organisation or by becoming active in our development education work.
Finally (but of great importance to the sustainability of the organisation) you can donate money to the organisation. Any little helps. Visit our Contact or Jobs pages if you are interested in any of these options and let us know that you want to help.