Joanna Callender, 25, went with Tearfund ICS to Rwanda. She’s from Belfast but lives in England. She joined BOND for a workshop exploring how we can challenge the development narrative. All of us will have been confronted with negative images and stories of development upon returning from our placements. But in these cases what do you say back? How do we challenge the general narrative on development? Joanna shares her new insights here:

1. It turns out that not everyone understands the benefits of international development

Concern for global poverty has HALVED in recent years, and after overseas trips, it turns out that some people ask some really obscure questions, such as…..

“Did the people you were helping have pets?”

Not really the response anyone is looking for after their incredible ICS experience.

2. There are THREE big barriers to public support in development

CYNICISM – That there’s been no progress in making the world fairer
DISTANCE – That poverty is just too far away to understand.
FUTILITY – It’s not worth even trying to make a difference.

3. The Narrative project tries to re-frame development as a good thing.

Check out the ‘Independence, partnership, progress and shared values’ graphic.

4. We should use POSITIVE language when talking about development issues

Words like….


Words and stories that will make people see the positive things we can do to make a difference to the lives of others. Your positive words CAN make a difference.

5. We are fighting against the tide

Only 32% of people in the UK are engaged in global issues.

engaged public

32 % of the UK population is engaged in international development issues

It is up to us, people who already care about changing the world, to use our position to make a difference to others and to change their perspective.