How words can make a better world

09 January 2015

A new year is seen as a new beginning — symbolically at least. But this year, we’re hoping, will go beyond symbolism: more than ever we’d like this to be a year of action. And the timing is certainly good: 2015 is the European Year for Development (EYD). EYD is officially described as “a key opportunity to raise awareness of development across Europe, and to show European taxpayers know that every euro spent on development benefits both people living in some of the world's poorest countries, and EU citizens themselves”. It’s also an opportunity for groups working in development aid to highlight the work they are doing, why it’s needed, why it’s effective and why it should be supported.

But it’s not just about organisations or world leaders. This should be about everyone. That’s why Dóchas, which has been appointed as the National Coordinator for the EYD programme of action in Ireland, aims to use this European Year to encourage people in Ireland to take action, and to think of themselves as change makers.

The idea is to use 2015 to show the many ways in which ordinary people can make a real difference — to highlight examples of ‘active citizenship’. These examples will, we all hope, inspire others to take action. With that in mind, Dóchas, Friends of Londiani and our fellow development organisations are asking people to take the first step: to make a New Year’s resolution to help build a better world.

Just a few well-chosen words could inspire others and even challenge them (and yourself) to change the world for the better in 2015. So if you haven’t made a New Year resolution — and even if you have — why not make one specifically for development? Show everyone that you’re not content to sit and wait and that you are doing your bit to build a better world. And don't keep it to yourself! Put your resolution — or challenge — up on social media using #NewYearNewWorld or #EYD2015.

EYD is now under way. Activities are planned throughout the year to encourage people to recognise their potential as change makers, and to support individuals to take initiatives that tackle instances of global injustice. Anything you can do to raise awareness of development and of the role everyone can play in advancing it would be a marvellous source of support for an important initiative. It would also be an important reminder that individuals, as well as NGOs and parliaments, can help to make a better world.

So… what’s your #NewYearNewWorld resolution?