Raising awareness on the MDGs through art and creativity

4 April 2012

EU-Africa Pathways to Leadership - projects
Marie Denham,  EU_Africa 'Journey to Leadership' participant from the Catholic Guides of Ireland, shares her personal project for increasing awareness of the MDG's in CGI and Dublin


The Millennium Development Goals Catholic Guides of Ireland Art Exhibition.

EU-Africa Pathways to Leadership - projectThis exhibition presented a wide variety of art works made by Guide and Ranger groups around theDublinarea and the winners of the Nationwide Art Competition. The main pieces were made through a series of Art Workshops based on teaching Guides and Rangers about the Millennium Development Goals.

These goals were developed by the leaders of the world, in the year 2000 and to be achieved by 2015. They aimed to Eradicate Extreme Poverty. However there is still along way to go, so we wanted to increase awareness of these goals and in turn more people would help make a difference.

Message from the Organiser, Marie Denham

This project was a part of my “Journey to Leadership Program”. The programme is organised by WAGGGS and funded by the E.U. It involved 3 stages:

  1. To research and write a piece on the Millennium Development Goals. Focusing how Ireland and CGI are helping toward achieving, Gender Equality and Global Development.
  2. Travel to Burundi for a European and African seminar about these our own personal leadership skills, the MDG's above and to plan a project that we could carry out when we get home.
  3. The project I carried out when I arrived home was to increase awareness of the MDG's in CGI and Dublin. I did so by carrying out Artworks with five different groups aroundDublinand a Nationwide Art Competition. Then with some help from my fellow Raheny Leaders and Yvonne Browne the International Commissioner, we organised an Art Exhibition in Temple Bar.

    Take some time to learn about the Millennium Development Goals and the ideas behind the art work.

Full Account of the Project:
Millennium Development Goals Workshop and exhibition.
Guides  get to grips with world issues through Art.

The artwork shops were very enjoyable and the Art competition produced very interesting posters. The winners of the Art Competition were:

Brigín Section: Katie Trew Age 10 from Buion Naoimh Pól Dublin

Guides Section: 1st Place Aoife Bulter and 2nd Place Ruth Delaney from Buion an Leanbh Prague Dublin.

Ranger Section: Oralith O' Connell from Our Lady of Loudes Cork.

So congratulations to those girls and thank you to all those who entered the competition.

MDG Art Expo PosterThe Art workshops involved five different groups involved in the art workshops. Each focused on a different Millennium Development Goal. The workshops involved first teaching the girls about the goal, playing games based on the goal, a discussion and finally creating the work of art. I had the pleasure of working with very enthusiastic groups from Raheny, Beaumont, Clonee, Leixlip Guides and Tallaght Rangers.

Raheny used mixed media through drawing, textile and sculpture, all based on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment. This is a very important goal as it tries to increase the amount of women in school and in politics around the globe. The girls art demanded a balance be equal between girls and boys. The also thought of ways that they could gender equality by being more supportive of their female friends and family. Empowerment of women and girls is such an essential part of Guides that this work took two workshops to finish the artwork. This goal is one of the most amazing things about girl guides as it helps develop young girls into confident, strong individuals.

Beaumont's workshop focussed on Environmental Sustainability. This taught the girls the importance of re-using, reducing and recycling. They discussed what they wanted to make and decided to build a sculpture of a tree reusing recyclable materials. They made beautiful details of flowers, leaves, birds, acorns, and even a caterpillar. As well as the sculpture in the workshop they also completed part of their Environment Thinking Day Badge. They were a lovely group to work with and even the Guiders got really into the project.

Clonee Guides were very unique. Their Guider Fiona Gaule was very enthusiastic and taught the girls a lot about reducing Child Morality even before the workshop inHQ Harrington Street. They wrote and  made short films to encourage people to give to charities that support the MDG's. I was very impressed with these girls drive to get their message across to the world.

Leixlip Guides worked onAchievingUniversalPrimary Schooleducation. Fiona Daly a Textile Artist worked with the girls at this workshop creating a very impressive weave using a clothes horse and strips of old clothes. It was truly ingenious. They also made a beautiful Wall hanging of the School for the world, including all nationalities, and walks of life.

Tallaght Rangers made a very informative poster about HIV/AIDS. They wanted to teach people the difference between the myths and the facts, to try and breakdown the negative stigma associated with it.

The art exhibition itself went on for four days in ExchangeDublin, Temple Bar. I really enjoyed the few days curating the exhibition and talking to everyone who popped their head in the door. Thank you to all those that attended the opening ceremony, including our guest speaker John Moneghan Vice President of St Vincent De Paul. He gave a very inspirational speech to officially open the exhibition. Catherine Lenihan and Yvonne Browne also said some very heart-warming words.

EU-Africa Pathways to Leadership - projectOn the Friday I sent up the Tree of Hope. On this tree exhibition goers could write down one thing that they could do in their everyday lives to help work towards the MDG's. It was filled up with lovely promises by the time the exhibition was over. The Beaumont Guides were the first to take part in this. On the Saturday the Guides who attended the Dublin Games Day filtered in and participated in the Treasure Hunt. The answers were on the walls around them or they had to ask me  for some and finally they ended with the hope tree. I was lucky enough to have to Raheny, Coolock, Clonee and Leixlip Guides attend for this. Last but not least on the Sunday I was extremely lucky e to have the Lord Major ofDublinstroll in the exhibition! He was highly impressed with the work that girls of such a young age could make and said he would love to meet any of the groups who took part to talk about it more in the Mansion House.

I want to thank everyone who took part in the workshops, the poster competition and helped me with the exhibition. Especially the Raheny Leaders Yvonne & Louise Browne, Claire Duggan (for her layout skills of the exhibition) and Hannah Ridgeway, without whom I wouldn't have been able to create such a beautiful set up. Lastly thanks to the Exec members for your valved support. I hope I have shown other Leaders that if you have an idea for a project don't be afraid to step forward and go for it! It also showed me how amazing going on trips like the Journey to Leadership Program can really revitalise and give your role as a Guider new meaning. If anyone has any other ideas on what we can do to work towards the MDG's email Yvonnne Browne the International Commissioner for tips on how to go about it.

Your comments

Louise Browne - 4 April 2012 - 12.45PM (GMT)

Well done on a fantastic art exhibition and for following up and completing your project for the programme. My girls had a great time taking part and learnt a lot about the MDGs and we hope to keep building on this for the future. Congrats again.

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