9 episodes

Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers. Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

Focus Podcast Focus Podcast

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0, 1 Rating

Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers. Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    Focus: Green New Deal, Just Transition and Covid 19

    Focus: Green New Deal, Just Transition and Covid 19

    Todays guests are Lorna King, Conor McCabe and Sean McCabe.























    What are the kinds of things we need to think about and act on to realise a New Green Deal and Just Transition in the time of COVID19. Economies across the world deliberately put into deep freeze as part of halting the spread of the virus. Stay at home measures, massive unemployment and unprecedented state intervention contrary to accepted norms of neoliberal democracies have trailed the spread of the virus as it continues to move across the planet.Shibboleths of economic logic have been shaken, and in many countries the impact of years of cuts to funding to public in health, education and care work have had impacts still yet to be fully understood. And yet the crisis of climate justice only a few months ago, loomed large in the mind of much of the worlds population. We were living at a time of great dissonance between science and evidence of the social and ecological costs of climate change, yet also at a time of resistance to deep political thinking and actions around what is needed to face those challenges







    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Focus: Social Justice and Radical Hope in a Global Pandemic

    Focus: Social Justice and Radical Hope in a Global Pandemic

    Three Comhlámh staff members, Sive Bresnihan, Caoimhe Butterly and Mark Malone asked if it were possible to have radical hope and show solidarity with social justice issues during a global pandemic, when people are experiencing such challenging feelings. 















    Mark Malone, who is Comhlámh’s communications officer, started the discussion by noting the number of deaths from Covid-19 and he reminded the listener that these were real people who were mourned by families and friends around the world.  He then asked his colleagues to begin to think about how it was possible to still show solidarity with social justice issues when everyone is living in a time of such grief, fear and anxiety. 







    Caoimhe Butterly was the first to try and answer this.  Caoimhe is working on a European funded project for Comhlámh called Working for a Better World which aims to provide psycho-social supports to people working directly with people applying for international protection, in several European countries. Caoimhe is also a trainee psychotherapist, so it came as no surprise that her first concern was the general mental health of people.  She noted that people were struggling to manage feelings of grief, loss, anxiety, fear and uncertainty and that many people were experiencing trauma.  However, she was encouraged to see that people were being open about their worries and their vulnerabilities and were, perhaps, more willing to discuss these issues than normal.  She was also positive that as we are all going through this crisis together, (albeit subjectively and with unique pressures and challenges) we will all have an opportunity to go through a healing process together too.   







    Caoimhe was hopeful that the experiences people are having now, might make it easier in the future, to show a greater empathy with those who are seeking refuge or applying for asylum. People are now experiencing how it feels to have life decisions taken out of their hands and to have even daily routines restricted and controlled, and she very much hoped that we would be able to use these feelings in a positive way, in the future. 







    Sive Bresnihan is Comhlámh’s education and training officer and she develops and delivers training courses on global citizenship.  She wondered if this pause on busyness and activity could be an opportunity for people to reflect on the structural inequalities in society and their place within it.  She asked us to think about the benefits we enjoy in this society, and our embeddedness and complicity in it. She warned that these questions and answers might not be easy to work with, but hoped that the compulsory silence might be a time to do it. 







    Further reading: 







    Buzzwords and Fuzzwords:  Deconstructing Development Discourse (2007).  Andrea Cornwall: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25548244?seq=1 







    Gesturing towards decolonial futures:  (a number of contributors, including Vanessa Andriotti): https://decolonialfutures.net/house-of-modernity/ 







    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 50 min
    Focus: Visiting Achill Island, global health and growing inequality

    Focus: Visiting Achill Island, global health and growing inequality

    We headed to Achill island for the the second International Health and Development Training for Healthcare Workers.







    Organised for people interested in volunteering or working in healthcare in less developed countries, this two day residential workshop of the west coast of Ireland looks at the nature of global health care in resource poor settings. 







    Focus spoke to organisers about why the weekend was put together and about the big picture politics around global inequality and health.















    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 29 min
    Focus: The Cambodia-Ireland Changemaker Network


    Focus: The Cambodia-Ireland Changemaker Network


    Focus dropped into Donabate-Portrane Educate Together National School (DPETNS) and PEPY  Empowering Youth during an exchange visit to speak about the work of the  Cambodia Ireland Changemaker Network.







    The network  has developed from 2013, when four young Irish teachers from Dublin travelled to Cambodia seeking to establish an educational partnership that would benefit both Irish and Cambodian students.   A partnership was established between DPETNS and PEPY  Empowering Youth, based on strong principles of development.















    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 28 min
    Focus: Eilish Dillon on rethinking the divide between community and international development

    Focus: Eilish Dillon on rethinking the divide between community and international development

    Focus has a chat with Dr Eilish Dillon, exploring some of the ideas, assumptions and practices underpinning much of the work of the international development sector in Ireland and elsewhere.







    We explore the problematic and artificial divide between community and international development that has evolved over times.







    Eilish shines a light on the way that the language of international development and ‘social justice’ can disguise power imbalances and lead to choices of actions around change, that are much less effective that they might seem. 















    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 29 min
    Focus: Extinction Rebellion, Civil Disobedience and Social Change

    Focus: Extinction Rebellion, Civil Disobedience and Social Change

    This episode is an edit of an panel discussion on “Civil Disobedience and Social Change” that took place in the Teacher Club in Dublin a few weeks ago.  While the discussion looks at civil disobedience in the general sense, a lot of the conversation revolved around challenging preconceptions of the term as well as its limitations. A significant theme arising in the discussion focused Extinction Rebellion’s organising models, strategy and the perceived lack of politics in the context of civil disobedience. 







    On our panel were: 







    Manuel from Extinction Rebellion, the climate action group at the centre of international actions around climate change. Extinction Rebellion is drawing large number of people together to act on climate change and encourages acts of mass civil disobedience and deliberate arrests as a key strategy for achieving policy change governments. 







    Aisling Hederman from Dublin Housing Action, a community activist involved with ‘Apollo House’ – a widely supported occupation in Dublin in December 2016 focusing on the still growing homeless and housing crisis in Ireland – and ‘Dublin Housing Action’ , a community led organized response to the housing crisis and 







    Jerrieann Sullivan, teacher and educator involved with the Shell to Sea campaign which ran for almost 10 years and remains one of the most significant social struggles in Ireland in recent decades involving resistance to oil and gas giant Shell. Jerrieann has a background in both formal and informal education and as we hear was involved in some initial trainings for XR, an experience which has helped inform some of the questions arising in the discussion. The panel was facilitated by Tom Campbell from the Department of International Development at Maynooth University. If you like what we are doing, please subscribe and share via you favourite podcast platforms.















    Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.

    • 56 min

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