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Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD launches new volunteering initiative

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, will today launch a new initiative to assist Irish people to volunteer in the developing world.

The Irish Aid Volunteering Initiative is designed to improve the quality of volunteering from Ireland.

As part of the programme, greater numbers of skilled volunteers will have the opportunity to work overseas. Irish Aid will work closely with our Embassies in developing countries and with our NGO partners to place volunteers in Irish Aid partner countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia.

An online register to match potential volunteers to the most suitable placements is being set up, while greater support will be provided to volunteers working in developing countries.

The initiative is designed to encourage retired public servants and others to use their skills and experience to volunteer.

Minister Costello said:

”For generations, volunteers have played a key role in Ireland’s work in the developing world. I am proud to launch the Irish Aid Volunteering Initiative, which is a key commitment in Ireland’s Policy for International Development.

“This initiative is designed to streamline and focus our volunteering programmes and ensure that peoples’ skills are better matched to the needs of the countries and communities in which they will work.

“Volunteering has sometimes been seen as the preserve of the young. However, the recent early retirement of large numbers of public servants opens up new opportunities for these skilled individuals to share their experience in areas as diverse as education and health.

“We will also improve the quality of Irish volunteering by working closely with Comhlámh, which provides support and training for volunteers and agencies who send volunteers abroad. Volunteers will also have to adhere to the Code of Good Practice on Volunteering, which sets out quality standards on volunteering practice.

Minister Costello said the initiative would build on Ireland’s strong international reputation for volunteering.

“Ireland is renowned for our solidarity with those in the greatest need. I am confident that, through our new Volunteering Initiative, we will build on our reputation and maximise our contribution in the fight to end global poverty and hunger.”

· Online information on the fair can be found at and

Press office

12 October 2013

For further information contact the Press Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at +353 1 408 2660 / 097 937 2324 or by email to

Notes to the editor

- Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

- 4500 Irish people volunteered internationally in 2012, almost half of whom were between the ages of 30-65.

- Resources provided for the Volunteering Initiative are being met from Irish Aid’s existing budget. The promotion of online volunteering will be intensified.

- Irish Aid will play a strong role to support negotiations on the establishment of EU Aid

Volunteers which will provide opportunities for humanitarian volunteers from EU countries

- The African Diaspora in Ireland also presents a new cohort of potential volunteers.