Kimmage Development Studies Centre is based at Kimmage Manor, in Dublin, Ireland. It was established in 1974 by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (also known as the Spiritans or the Holy Ghost Fathers) initially to provide education and training to intending overseas missionaries, and from 1978 onwards to cater for the training needs of the growing development NGOs and volunteer sending agencies. From the beginning, the programme of studies welcomed participants of all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, religious persuasions, and to date has accommodated students from over 65 different countries, drawn mainly from Africa and Ireland but increasingly, also from Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Since 1978 Kimmage has received funding towards its activities from the Department of Foreign Affairs (and through its agency, Irish Aid). Our other sources of funding include NGOs in the development field, the Spiritan Congregation, tuition fees and earnings from consultancy activities. For much of its history, the Centre was run as an independent unit or department within Holy Ghost College under the trusteeship of the Spiritan Congregation with a Constitution and Board of Governors.
In 2004, a new chapter in the range of activities offered by Kimmage DSC began when we successfully tendered for a contract to run a training and learning programme for the Irish development NGO and missionary sector. This programme (known as DTALK) was run by a consortium headed by Kimmage DSC which included the Dutch agency MDF, and the UK agency INTRAC. The programme continued to run until the contract ended in March 2012. Though this service is no longer subsidised by Irish Aid, due to high demand we continue to offer a selection of the services on a full cost recovery basis. A new streamlined unit known as the Capacity Development Services unit has been established and is continuing to run courses, with evident demand for same, both at Kimmage and outside the country (in West and East Africa).
In 2006 Kimmage DSC was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital. The registration of Kimmage DSC as an independent company, with charitable status, was an important strategic milestone which has enabled the Centre to consolidate and further develop activities and linkages with other like-minded organisations at home and abroad.
Kimmage Open & Distance Education (KODE) was set up following the successful piloting of distance learning courses, primarily in East Africa, in 2007-2008. It is a blended learning package for learners to work through materials at their own pace and in their own time, and gain understanding and key skills in subject areas such as Project Cycle Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Governance and Accountability, etc. To date it has six different courses on offer, including Child Protection in Development Practice and Understanding and Addressing GBV, and a team of tutors providing support in countries as diverse as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia. Read more about our KODE courses here.
Another programme which reflected the determination of KDSC to reach out to wider groups of development workers and to diversify its range of activities was the establishment of the Kimmage East Africa programme in 2007. The Kimmage East Africa programme was based in Tanzania, and saw KDSC working in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and other local NGOs, to design innovative tools and approaches for use by pastoral civil society and government in tackling the differences in power that impede policies and institutions from achieving equitable natural resource management, central to people’s livelihoods and poverty reduction.
In September 2012, Kimmage DSC was awarded a contract to provide specialist information and guides services in the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre, Dublin. Kimmage DSC held this contract from 2012 to 2016. Our team of facilitators, led by our coordinator, provided information to members of the public on volunteering, development education options and other related queries, delivered workshops to visiting school groups, and promoted the work of Irish Aid at a diverse range of events nationwide, including for example, The Young Scientist Exhibition, Africa Day, and the National Ploughing Championships. Contracts such as this provide invaluable opportunities to build connections with the development sector and the wider public.