Trócaire Blogs


December 02, 2016

Water for everyone - Supplying water in rural Africa

The Trócaire team from Malawi, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, presented their innovative and sustainable work on supplying water, at the rural water supply network forum (RWSN) this week.

The RWSN Forum is the foremost global event on rural water services and takes place every 5 years. The 7th RWSN Forum, held in the Ivory Coast, explored the practicalities of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Human Right to Water in rural areas and small towns.

The team contributed lots of valuable innovative experiences and sustainable technologies to the discourse, including rainwater harvesting technologies and community solar systems.

Community Solar Systems in Malawi

Trócaire Malawi is providing water to homes using community solar systems. Salome Mumba, Trócaire Water Field Officer in Malawi presented our work at this global forum, attended by over 600 participants.

Salome Mumba from Trócaire Malawi

Caption: Salome Mumba, Trócaire Water Field Officer, Malawi explains our work on Solar systems for community domestic supply to RWSN visitors.

Supplying water for drylands in Zimbabwe

Nelly Maonde and Melody Makumbe explained Trócaire Zimbabwe’s sustainable systems for supplying water for growing dryland in Zimbabwe.

Nelly Maonde and Melody Makumbe Trocaire Zimbabwe

Caption: Trócaire’s Livelihoods Programme Officers Nelly Maonde (Zimbabwe), and partner field officer Melody Makumbe sharing knowledge on sustainable ground water development.

Rainwater harvesting in Rwanda

Trócaire Rwanda presented an 18-month pilot project in nine villages in upland Rwanda, which provided technologies for rainwater harvesting from roofs, and from the ground. Families in the villlage used the harvested rainwater to water and maintain small vegetable gardens. Read this short paper prepared for the RWSN.

New ideas were gathered to help solve specific existing challenges. The team are going back to Rwanda with ‘Tulip’ water filters for families to trial purifying the water in their new rainwater tanks.

Emmanuel Karulinda and Janvier Ngabo Trocaire Rwanda

Caption: Emmanuel Karulinda and Janvier Ngabo,Trocaire Rwanda and Trócaire partner water Field Officer glean new ideas from posters at the RWSN Forum, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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November 22, 2016

Trócaire and NGO partners organise north and south climate action lobby events

Lobby events held in Dublin and Belfast to coincide with the COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh, where diplomats gather to discuss the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action. 

Stormont Climate Lobby Event November 2016

Activists gather outside Stormont Castle before lobby event. Photo: Justin Kernoghan

At a joint event at Stormont on Monday 14 November organised by Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth, members of the public met their MLAs and local representatives to urge them to support a Stormont Climate Change Bill. 

Northern Ireland is the poorest performing region of the UK when it comes to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and is being left behind by other parts of these islands such as Scotland & the Republic of Ireland who have Climate Acts. Climate action is long overdue and urgently needed.

The Stormont lobby took place at a critical time as the Northern Ireland Programme for Government is still being discussed and decided upon. The Programme sets out the region's priorities and direction for the next five years, so it's vital that there are strong climate targets in the Programme for Government. 

Chris Lyttle MLA with East Belfast constituents

Chris Lyttle MLA with East Belfast constituents. Photo: Justin Kernoghan

Every constituency in Northern Ireland was represented at the event, and activist groups including the Clogher Peace and Justice Group, the Armagh Trócaire Ambassadors, and the newly founded Queen’s University Belfast Trócaire society attended, alongside volunteers and supporters from Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth. 

The event was the largest ever climate lobby in Northern Ireland with approximately 100 people in attendance who met with representatives from all the main political parties, with the exception of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

The next day in Dublin (Tuesday 15 November), 150 constituents met with TDs and Senators from across the party and independent spectrum to push for stronger action on climate change from the Irish Government.

Declan Breathnach, FF TD, Louth, Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth, Selina Donnelly, Trócaire at Stop Climate Chaos lobbying event, Buswells, Dublin, Nov 15, 2016.

Declan Breathnach, Fianna Fail TD for Louth; Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth; and Selina Donnelly, Trócaire at Stop Climate Chaos lobbying event, Buswells Hotel, Dublin, 15 November. Photo: Alan Whelan

The Government is soon set to publish a draft National Mitigation Plan, the first of its kind under the new Climate Act. This critical document will determine the level of ambition for meeting Ireland’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.  

Nearly 100 politicians attended the Dublin event organised by Stop Climate Chaos, including Government Chief Whip, Regina Doherty, Micheál Martin, Hildegarde Naughton (Chair of the Oireachtas Committee), and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten's, special adviser. 

Seán Sherlock (Labour) speaks to constituents at lobby event in Buswell's hotel, Dublin

Labour TD Seán Sherlock speaks to constituents. Photo: Alan Whelan

They were asked to support the following:

1. Enabling community ownership of renewable energy;
2. Divesting taxpayers’ money from fossil fuels;
3. Achieving the goals of the Smarter Travel Policy.

And nearly half the politicians who attended signed letters to Ministers Naughten, Michael Noonan (Finance) and Shane Ross (Transport) calling on them to deliver on these demands. 

Take action

Use our online lobby tools to call on your MLA or TD to take action on climate change.

November 17, 2016

Trócaire condemns the murder of Jeremy Barrios, staff member at our partner organisation CALAS, Guatemala

Jeremy Barrios

November 12, 2016

On November 12, 2016, in Guatemala City at around 5:30 pm, Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima was shot twice in the head by two unidentified assailants on a passing motorbike.

He was 22 years old. He had worked for the last two years with Trócaire partner organisation CALAS – the Centre for Legal, Environmental and Social Action as assistant to the director.

We stand in solidarity with his mother, sisters, and other family members, as well as the Guatemalan human rights community.

Jeremy supported day-to-day operations and handled sensitive information related to high profile cases that CALAS is litigating. 

His assailants did not steal his personal belongings, which included two mobile phones, his identity card, and a savings card.

According to information provided by CALAS, Jeremy had not received any threats in the days prior to the murder.

However, other members of CALAS have been subjected to intimidation, attacks and attempted assassinations in the past.

Attacks on members of CALAS

On 30 November 2015, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores, head of the legal team at CALAS, received death threats via his Twitter account.

A few months earlier, on 29 July 2015, Pedro Rafael was in the CALAS office, when an unknown gunman on a motorbike fired a number of shots outside.

CALAS director Yuri Melini also survived an assassination attempt in 2008, when he was shot several times outside the home of a family member.

The investigation into Jeremy’s murder should explore the very likely possibility that he was killed in retaliation for his legitimate human rights work.  

Read: Report from Telesur on Jeremy's murder, his work at CALAS, and the implications for other Guatemalan human rights defenders

Deadly environment for human rights defenders

Trócaire is deeply concerned about the dangerous and often deadly environment for human rights defenders working in defence of environmental, indigenous peoples’ and land rights in Guatemala and urges the State of Guatemala to provide adequate and effective protective measures to guarantee their safety and security as well as:

1. Strongly condemning the killing of human rights defender Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima; 

2. Carrying out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Jeremy;

3. Guaranteeing that all human rights defenders in Guatemala are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

Trócaire is communicating the above concerns and requests to the Guatemalan authorities.

Take action now

Please join us in asking the Guatemalan authorities to condemn and carry out an impartial investigation into Jeremy's murder. You can send a letter, an email, or tweet the following officials:
Attorney General
Thelma Aldana
Fiscal General de la República
15 Avenida 15-16, Zona 1
Edificio Gerona 8º Nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, C.P. 01001
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MPguatemala
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Estimada Señora Fiscal
COPREDEH (Presidential Commission on Human Rights)
President Víctor Hugo Godoy 
2a Avenida 10-50, Zona 9 
Ciudad de Guatemala 
Email: [email protected] 
Twitter: @COPREDEH
Salutation: Dear President Estimado señor Presidente
And copies to:

Avenida Mariscal No. 13-59, Zona 11 
Colonia Mariscal Ciudad de Guatemala
C.P. 01011 
Fax: +502 2473 0813 
Email: [email protected]

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeremy's family and his colleagues at CALAS.

November 14, 2016

Trócaire nominated for world's biggest humanitarian award

Trócaire has been nominated for the 2017 Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Prize in recognition of its humanitarian work in countries across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. 
Worth $2 million to invest in vital programme work, the prize is the largest of its kind in the world. 

Ixil women celebrate after former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide.

Ixil women celebrate after former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide. Trócaire supported partner CALDH in its decades-long fight for justice for the Ixil people. Photo: Elena Hermosa, 2013

Trócaire was nominated for the prize by the inspirational Sr Geraldine Henry, a Daughter of Charity with extensive experience of mission in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. 
Supporting the nomination, Trócaire received glowing endorsements from partner organisations from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Guatemala. 

The Reverend Fr Dr Henry Saindi, Secretary General of Episcopal Conference of Malawi stressed the importance of Trócaire's work with CADECOM, the Development Agency of the Conference.
He said of Trócaire: "Its demonstration of long-term and meaningful partnership with local agencies makes it a model for true partnership... We believe Trócaire in Malawi serves as a model for other non-profits here and internationally". 
Trócaire was instrumental is setting up CADECOM in 1999, and continues to support it to build its capacity.Together the organisations have delivered humanitarian relief in Malawi to many thousands of beneficiaries.  

Women in Nyambio village, Chikwawa, Malawi build a water reservoir in preparation for drought.

The community of Nyambio village, Chikwawa, Malawi was supported by Trócaire partner CADECOM to cope better with drought, growing more drought resistant crops and water conservation, as seen in the building of this water reservoir. Photo: Alan Whelan/Trócaire, 2011. 

Roselyn Hanzi, Acting Executive Director at Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) praised Trócaire for its long-term support of the organisation's work in the area of HIV/AIDS and the law, and in funding access to justice and protection of human rights defenders, offering her 'unequivocal' support for the prize nomination.
She also described Trócaire as a "model for other non-profits" adding that "It comes in as an equal partner and not as a donor willing to listen to the views of local partners and incorporate their suggestions into its strategy. Trócaire does not impose projects on partners, it actually creates platforms for engagement of partners from different sectors."
Juan Francisco Soto, Director at the CALDH in Guatemala (Centre for Legal Action on Human Rights) wrote: "CALDH truly values the unconditional support that Trócaire has provided us for more than 13 years in the search for truth, justice and the historical memory for the survivors of the Internal Armed Conflict in Guatemala; and for strengthening the justice system to guarantee the non-repetition of egregious human rights abuses."

About the Prize

The prize is awarded by the Conrad N Hilton Foundation. Launched in 1996, as a tribute to the humanitarian efforts of the renowned businessman and hotelier, the prize is awarded to non-profit organisations judged to have made extraordinary contributions to the alleviation of human suffering.  

The outcome of this year’s nomination process is expected to be announced in late 2017.

The 2016 winner of the prize was The Task Force for Global Health, a US-based organisation that uses collaboration to address large-scale health problems that affect populations in 151 countries.

November 08, 2016

Dear Stormont: we need to talk about climate change

By Mary Friel, Campaigns Officer, Trócaire Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland lags behind other regions in reducing carbon emissions, and has yet to pass a local Climate Law. As world leaders gather in Marrakech to progress the commitments of last year’s historic Paris Climate Agreement, Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth are holding a lobby event at Stormont to call on all MLAs to take urgent action on climate change.

mla heads in sand

At the lobby event at the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday 14 November we will push MLAs for much-needed action on three areas:

1. Set strong climate targets in the Programme for Government
2. Develop a local Climate Change Act
3. 100% clean energy within a generation

The Paris Agreement commits to: “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. 

The Paris Agreement text emphasises the “emissions gap” between the temperature goal and the pledges that countries have made so far. Independent analysis by Climate Action Tracker concludes that current policies put us on track for global warming of 3.6°C while current pledges, if they were all delivered on time, would only limit warming to 2.7°C.

All existing targets and timelines for emission reductions therefore need to be re-evaluated.

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Northern Ireland is the lowest performing region in the UK. 

In total, the UK has reduced emissions by 36% (between the base year 1990 and 2014).

England and Scotland are the highest performing regions with reduced emissions by 38% and 41%. But Wales and Northern Ireland reduced emissions by only 18% and 17% respectively. 

While this year in Northern Ireland we did see a decrease in carbon emissions by 3% on the year prior, the long-term emission reductions trend reveals how much more work we need to do to get serious about climate action to align with the ambition in the Paris Agreement.

We need climate action now to do our fair share to protect the livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities in the world, many of whom are already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change, through increased droughts and floods which is driving hunger and poverty.

Join us for the big climate change lobby at Stormont 

To join us, all you have to do is register to attend the event and send an email asking your MLAs to meet you there.

When: Monday 14th November 2016, 4pm – 7pm 
Where: Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast  

Register to attend event on Eventbrite 

For more information on the key asks, you can read our short two-page briefing paper

If you have any questions about the lobby please contact Mary Friel: [email protected].

Supporters in the Republic of Ireland can join the Stop Climate Chaos lobby event taking place in Dublin on Tuesday, 15 November.