Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide
Concern worldwide logo.gif
Founder(s) Kay Kennedy
John O’Loughlin Kennedy
Registration No. 39647
Founded 1968
Location 52-55 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2
Origins Dublin, Ireland
Key people Tom Arnold (CEO)
Area served Worldwide
Focus Poverty relief
Mission To work with the people living in extreme poverty to help them to transform their lives.
Revenue Fund-raising, Funding from Irish Aid, European Union, UK Government, Concern US
Motto "Make it your concern"
Formerly called Africa Concern

Concern Worldwide (often referred to as Concern) is Ireland's largest aid and humanitarian agency.[1] Since its foundation over 40 years ago it has worked in 50 countries and currently employs 3,200 staff in 25 countries around the world.[2] Concern works to help those living in the world's poorest countries to achieve real and lasting improvements in their lives.[3] Concern is engaged in long term development work, in addition to emergency relief in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Concern has 5 core programmes Education, Emergencies, HIV and Aids, Health and Livelihoods (also known as "food, income and markets").[4] They work in partnership with small community groups as well as governments and large global organisations. Concern is just one of eleven fully certified members of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership.[5]

Concern Worldwide US is an affiliate of Concern Worldwide and supports the Concern network by recruiting staff, supporting program development, creating public awareness of humanitarian issues and financially supporting programs. It has offices in New York and Chicago. Concern Worldwide is a partner of the One Campaign.



Concern Worldwide was set up by a small group of people including John and Kay O’Loughlin Kennedy in their home in Dublin in March 1968, following an appeal for aid by missionaries for the starving population of war torn Biafra. In June 1968 Africa Concern as it was originally called, launched their famine appeal “Send One Ship”. The ship, the Colmcille landed off the coast of Biafra in September 1968 with supplies of powdered food and medicine. In 1970 the public were asked to respond to the cyclone in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)and Africa Concern became Concern.[6]

Concern’s Work

Over its 40 year history Concern has worked in 50 countries and currently employs 3,200 staff in 25 countries around the world delivering programmes benefitting 10 million people.[7] Concern’s vision is to help those living in the world’s poorest countries to achieve real and lasting improvements in their lives. They engage in long term development work, emergency relief, advocacy[8] and education. Concern’s work is centered on 5 main programmes, Education, Emergencies, HIV and AIDS, Health and Livelihoods. Concern launched an appeal to tackle the drought in East Africa[9] in June 2011. They also responded to the earthquake in Haiti[10] and the floods in Pakistan.[11] The Chief Executive Officer is Tom Arnold.[12] Concern is a member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership.


Concern is controlled and regulated by its members who have responsibility for the Articles of Association, election of the Council, appointment of the auditors and approval of accounts. The Council of Concern is elected from membership at each AGM. The maximum number on the Council is 24 and one third must step down every year. The Council main role is to agree the policy parameters for the organisation and they meet at least 4 times per year. The Council is accountable to the relevant government Minister to ensure that the Companies Act is adhered to. They are also accountable to the general public to ensure that donations are put to an appropriate use.[13] Concern is the first Irish Charity to receive certification from the Geneva based organisation Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) which works to make humanitarian work more accountable and transparent through self-regulation, compliance verification and quality assurance certification.[14] Concern is a member of the Irish Charities and Tax Research Reform Group which has developed a new code of practice aimed at boosting transparency and bolstering public confidence in the Irish charity sector.[15]

Concern's annual accounts won the charity and not-for-profit category in the annual Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants awards for published accounts in 2010.[16]

Working in Partnership

Concern works closely with local partner organisations as well as with governments and large global organisations.[17] The thinking behind this is to pool knowledge and resources and work together to fight poverty. Concern became "Verified Compliant with the People In Aid Code" in 2010 in order to improve their people management and HR services.[18]


Concern raises money from individuals, communities, sponsored events and companies as well as receiving major financial support from the European Union, the United Nations, the British government and other government agencies, private donors, and major trusts.[19] Concern is one of many charities that use street collectors often referred to as Chuggers (charity muggers).[20] In 2007, the Government announced a 5 year strategic funding programme with Concern which would see funding double from €60 million (for the period 2003 to 2006) to €148 million over the 5 year period from 2007 to 2011.[21] Subsequent to the announcement, Irish Aid announced a series of cutbacks to Ireland's Official Development Aid, including the programme under which Concern was funded.

Irish Aid

In 2000 the Irish Government pledged to increase overseas aid to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNI. This target was not met, however, as overseas aid has been a casualty of the recession in Ireland and has been repeatedly cut in recent budgets.[22] In addition, the date set by the Government to increase overseas aid to 0.7% of GNI in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals has been shifted twice.[23] In recent years there has been greater focus on increasing the effectiveness of Irish Aid, the Government of Ireland’s programme of assistance to developing countries.[24] This is in line with an international approach of combining the focus on aid volumes with development outcomes. Irish Aid programmes are regularly audited and evaluated by independent evaluation and audit firms as well as by Irish Aid’s Evaluation and Audit Unit.[25] These evaluations and audits provide assurance that funds are used for the purposes intended and have a particular focus on poverty outcomes and value for money. Reports are made available to the Comptroller and Auditor General. Minister for Trade and Development Jan O'Sullivan has said that she is satisfied that “the monitoring, evaluation and audit systems which we have in place provide the best assurance that development aid funding is used for the intended objectives”.[26] In 2011 Irish Aid is planning to undertake a value for money review of Irish Aid’s support to Concern Worldwide under the Multi-Annual Programme Scheme for NGOs over the period 2007-2010.[27]

Large Donations

In 2009 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Concern Worldwide a $41 million (€29m) donation to help tackle spiraling baby and mother deaths in developing countries.[28] Last year Consultancy Company Accenture donated $1.5 million to Concern to educate and assist local farmers and communities in sustainable farming practices

Current campaigns

Drought in East Africa

Concern is currently responding to the food crisis in east Africa and is helping half a million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Over €7 million euro in donations has been raised from the Irish public for the crisis so far by Irish aid agencies.[29] In July 2011 Concern CEO Tom Arnold travelled to Somalia with former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Director of Trócaire Justin Kilcullen and CEO of Oxfam Ireland Jim Clarken to highlight the issue.[30] The NGO representatives met with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs to brief elected representatives about the situation upon their return.[31]

Flood in Pakistan

In July 2010 Concern mounted their largest ever response to the flood in Pakistan a country they had been working in since 2001. Concern estimates they helped over 2.3 million people affected and with the help of local partners distributed shelter sanitation and water.[32]

Hurricane in Haiti

Following the Hurricane in Haiti in 2008 Concern provided emergency relief to 1200 families as well as helping thousands of others with cash for work opportunities. Concern has been involved in Haiti since 1994 and is involved with Education, Maternal and Child Health and Peace Building programmes.[33]

Ongoing initiatives

Concern Debates

Concern Debates has been running for the last 26 years and provides secondary school students with the opportunity to research and debate development issues.[34]

Concern Fast

The Concern Fast is a sponsored 24 hour fast and programme of events to raise money to fight child malnutrition.[35]

Creative Writing Competition

Since 2008 Concern has run an annual creative writing competition in a number of age categories.[36] In 2011, they received more than 770 essays from 39 countries[37]

Concern Challenges

Concern runs a number of different physical challenges around the world during the year which provides participants with the opportunity to fund raise.[38]

CEO Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold has been CEO of Concern Worldwide since 2001. An economist by profession he has worked as chief economist (1988–1993) and as Assistant Secretary General (1993–2001) with the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food. He has a degree in agricultural economics from UCD and a master’s degree in business administration from the Catholic University of Leuven and a master’s degree in strategic management from Trinity College Dublin. Tom Arnold was appointed to the board of The Irish Times as a nominated director of The Irish Times Trust in July 2010. He became a Governor of the Trust in 2008. In July 2011 the Mr. Arnold criticised as “grossly irresponsible” comments made by the Head of Goal John O’Shea for UN troops to be deployed to Somalia to ensure the delivery of aid to famine-stricken areas.[39] In 2007 Mr Arnold’s salary and those of senior staff in Concern was criticised in a newspaper article. The charity responded saying that many of their staff “are on about €35,000 which is just about the average industrial wage".[40]

Further reading

Tony Farmar, Believing in action: Concern the first thirty years, 1968–1998. (Dublin, A. & A. Farmar, 2002) ISBN 1-899047-81-6

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Irish Aid : Background note for the Minister of State March 2011".'Sullivan%20brief%20-%20webpage. 
  2. ^ "Our History : Concern Worldwide". 
  3. ^ "About Concern". 
  4. ^ "About Our Programmes : Concern Worldwide". 
  5. ^ "Humanitarian Accountability Partnership". 
  6. ^ "Our History : Concern Worldwide". 
  7. ^ "Annual Report : Concern Worldwide". 
  8. ^ "News and blogs : Concern Worldwide". 
  9. ^ "Concern Appeals for more aid for Africa: Irish Times". 
  10. ^ "You Tube : Tom Arnold of Concern Worldwide thanking the public for their support of the people of Haiti". 
  11. ^ "Our work in Pakistan : Concern Worldwide". 
  12. ^ "About our CEO : Concern Worldwide". 
  13. ^ "How we are governed : Concern Worldwide". 
  14. ^ "How About us : Humanitarian Accountability Partnership". 
  15. ^ "ICTR". 
  16. ^ "Chartered Accountants". 
  17. ^ "Partners : Concern Worldwide". Concern Worldwide. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ "People In Aid: Member's Directory". Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  19. ^ "How we raise money-Concern Worldwide". 
  20. ^ Blackley, Michael (10 March 2010). "Call for Crackdown on Charity Collectors : The Scotsman, 10 March 2010". Edinburgh. 
  21. ^ "Minister Lenihan to announce new €148 million multi-annual package for Concern". 
  22. ^ "Campaign with us on Irish Aid Cuts : Concern Worldwide". 
  23. ^ "Act Now on 2015". 
  24. ^ "Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". 
  25. ^ "Irish Aid, Evaluation and Audit Overview Unit". 
  26. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Development Aid". 
  27. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Development Aid". 
  28. ^ "Gates gives Concern €29m to fight deaths". The Irish Examiner. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Donations to Irish Aid agencies : Dochas, The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations". 
  30. ^ "Mary Robinson visits Somalia : RTE News, 19 July 2011". 
  31. ^ "Press Release from the Joint Committee on Foreign Affair, 25 July 2011". 
  32. ^ "Pakistan Six Months On : Concern Worldwide". 
  33. ^ "International community must help people of Haiti build a better future : Concern CEO Tom Arnold, Irish Times, 12 January 2011". 
  34. ^ "Concern Debates". 
  35. ^ "Concern Fast". 
  36. ^ "Concern Writing Competition". 
  37. ^ "Concern Writing Competition". 
  38. ^ "Concern Challenges". 
  39. ^ "Call for UN troops in Somalia criticised, Irish Times, 26 July 2011". 
  40. ^ "Top charities defend 'fat cat' CEO salaries, Sunday Independent, 19 August 2007". 

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