our work

with schools

OUR Schools Programme

Nearly 100 secondary schools across Ireland are involved with our development education programme.

Self Help Africa has been working in post-primary schools in Ireland for more than a decade. We conduct workshops and school presentations, support teachers with resources and information, and assist teenagers to become socially aware and engaged global citizens.
DOWNLOADNEWSLETTERHosting workshops, events, and participating in a broad range of activities to raise awareness and improve understanding of the challenges facing people of the developing world.

We support students and teachers with projects developed for the annual Young Social Innovators (YSI) programme, the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, and in other events and activities allowing young people to become engaged and involved in issues of social justice global citizenship.

The programme also develops classroom resources, and assists schools to access materials they might need to implement development education activities in the classroom.

To find out more about the programme or how to get involved, contact us on: 01-6778880 or dorothy.jacob@selfhelpafrica.org.

Development Education

Understanding the developing world

Development education promotes an understanding of the links between individuals and communities and the wider world around them.

It encourages critical examination of global issues, such as international development and climate change, and promotes awareness of the impact that individuals can have on these.

Self Help Africa’s schools programme seeks to educate and engage people about global issues, and recognises differing aspects of global learning, including:

  • Global Citizenship
  • Sustainable Development
  • Interdependence
  • Social Justice
  • Diversity
  • Gender Equality
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Human Rights

“Development education is an active learning process, founded on values of solidarity, equality, inclusion and co-operation. It enables people to move from basic awareness of international development priorities and sustainable human development, through understanding of the causes and effects of global issues to personal involvement and informed actions.

Development education fosters the full participation of all citizens in world-wide poverty eradication, and the fight against exclusion. It seeks to influence more just and sustainable economic, social, environmental, human rights based national and international policies.”

– DE Forum definition, 2004.

Development education supports young people to become global citizens. This idea promotes the notion that, as well as being a citizen of one’s local community or nation, it is also possible to act as a citizen of the world. Global citizenship recognises that people in different countries are increasingly connected to each other through trade, communication and the exchange of information.


School visits & Workshops

Our team want to educate, inspire, encourage and facilitate the students of today to be the informed global citizens of tomorrow.

Self Help Africa works with a network of teachers and school facilitators who visit Irish post-primary schools and deliver presentations, facilitate workshops and undertake other school-based development education activities in the classroom.

Workshops are available in your school or to a schools’ network in your locality on a range of topics that relate to Self Help Africa’s core programme activities, including:

  • Varying aspects of the role of agriculture in poverty eradication in Africa, including:
    • Why small-scale farming is so important’
    • Conservation farming and sustainability’
    • ‘The role of women in agriculture’
  • Africa – coping with climate change
  • Gender equality and the role of women in African development
  • The ethics of trade
  • The Sustainable Development Goals


Scores of students and teachers from dozens of secondary schools across Ireland have travelled to Africa on fact-finding field visits organised by Self Help Africa.

Supporting schools have been travelling with us for the past decade, and in the last three years have visited our programmes in Zambia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Malawi. If you are interested in finding out more about how your school can become involved, or want some more details about our school visit programme, just get in touch.

Find out more.

Science for Development

BT Young Scientist Award

Self Help Africa has been running the ‘Science for Development’ award at the BT Young Scientists event, in collaboration with Irish Aid for over a decade.

The prize encourages students across a broad range of science subjects to consider the challenges affecting people in the developing world, and present potential scientific solutions to these issues.

The ‘Science for Development’ award presents a €5,000 travel bursary at the annual BT Young Scientists Exhibition to the winning student project. Funded by Irish Aid and implemented by Self Help Africa, the award is adjudicated entirely independently by the judges at the annual BT Young Scientists Exhibition.

Previous winners of the award have included Tara McGrath from Kilkenny, whose subsequent visit to Ethiopia to test her cooking stove was the subject of an RTE television documentary “My Big Idea”, and Richie O’Shea, the 18 year old Cork student who also won the overall national BT Young Scientist of the Year award in 2010.

Timothy McGrath, from Killorglin Community College in Co.Kerry, received the 2018 Science for development Award. Using genetic engineering to purify cholera-infected water, his project sought to develop a micro-organism that feeds on the cholera bacteria.

Read about the 2018 award winner here

Download Science for Development Info Brochure here

Timothy McGrath, from Killorglin Community College in Co.Kerry, received the 2018 Science for development Award. Using genetic engineering to purify cholera-infected water, his project sought to develop a micro-organism that feeds on the cholera bacteria.

Jack O’Connor and Diarmuid Curtin from Desmond College, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick became the recipients of the 2017 award for their  Ergonomic Planter, designed for use  in developing countries. Jack and Diarmuid, both sixth year students, developed the planter as a way to minimise seed/ plant wastage, improve production by ensuring consistency of planting, increase land usage by guiding farmers in their planting all whilst reducing back strain and increasing speed of planting.

Ben Conlon, Ruaidhrí Jordan and Mason Scallan from Salesian College in Celbridge won the 2016 award with their project to water in developing countries using a chemical compound called sodium polyacrylate.

Megan Duffy and Zoe McGirr
from Oakgrove College
in Derry were selected as
2015 winners with their
project, which created a seed
harvesting kit for subsistence
farmers in Africa.
Ballyclare students Emily Lecky
and Zoe Cheshire were winners
with their solar powered water
sanitation furnace, which used
solar to pasteurise water and was
designed for use in the aftermath
of natural disasters and in regions
where sanitation was poor.
Clonakilty Community
School scooped the award
for the second time in three
years – this time Transition
year students Fergus Jayes,
Darragh O’Donovan and
Ciaran Crowley winning, with
their solar powered fridge.
Keane Nolan and DJ Hanley
from St Mary’s Academy,
CBS, Carlow won for a
project that analysed raw
versus pasteurised milk, and
the potential use of natural
preservatives in milk.
Students from Clonakilty Community College took the award with a project focused on better food production from small garden plots.
Richie O’Shea from Cork became the first Science for Development Award winner to also achieve the overall BT Young Scientist of the year. His project focused on a low cost fuel efficient stove.
Students from Muckross College, Donnybrook, Dublin, won the award in 2009 with their study on home birth practices and services in rural Kenya.
Leaving Cert. student Tara McGrath from Presentation School, Kilkenny, won the 2008 award with her fuel-efficient pressure cooking device.
A device that sought to purify drinking water using solar panels won the 2007 award for a group of students from St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Creggan, Derry.
The inaugural winners of the award were students from Moyne Community School, Co. Longford, who won the award for their study on volunteering and support for charity in Ireland.


Self Help Africa is committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of children while they are participating in events run by or on behalf of Self Help Africa. Self Help Africa adheres to the requirements of the Children First Act 2015 (“CFA”) and the National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, 2017 (“Children First Guidance, 2017”) developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and also requires those who run events on its behalf to do so.