Developing Cultural Competence

Globe Project

The All Ireland Programme for Immigrant parents was a cross-border, inter-agency initiative aimed at immigrant parents and practitioners working with them throughout the island of Ireland.

The Globe Project aims to promote positive parenting through the provision of resource and practice tools which can be used by practitioners in organisations that work with immigrant parents.

Migrants have become an increasingly visible client group for both statutory and NGO sectors. They have particular needs which require tailored response. There is a growing wealth of experience of working with immigrant parents but little opportunity to collate the experiences and information – much of which is being carried out on a local level.

Background to the Project

In early 2006, a number of organisations working with the immigrant community, from both a statutory and NGO background, began to recognise and respond to, the specific issues which can arise for parents in unfamiliar circumstances.

This growing awareness was coupled with uncertainty and lack of good practice models in how to respond to these issues, in the context of an Ireland for whom immigration was a new and entirely unprepared for, phenomenon.

Informal discussions across organisations and between service providers on both sides of the border, began to focus on the need for “home grown”, accessible materials to support practitioners in their work with parents, whilst the need for relevant, translated information for immigrant parents themselves was also highlighted.

I n order to progress and formalise these discussions a meeting of key stakeholders, in the Republic of Ireland both statutory and voluntary, was held. Both this forum, and the subsequent consultation undertaken through questionnaire format, strongly reiterated the need for such developments. A similar process was undertaken in Northern Ireland.

As a result of this consultation there was a Research Report produced, that constituted the basses for development of the programme materials: Information Pack for Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland, a Toolkit and a DVD to support it.

During 2009, the 2 nd Part of the Globe Project started. It aims to provide Awareness and Capacity Training Programme to practitioners working with immigrant parents and offer support in using the programme materials: Information Packs, Toolkit and DVD.


Following a competitive tender, NUI Galway was awarded the contract to externally evaluate the programme.

Summary Findings

Having decided to extend the lifetime of the project, the PMC issued a request for tender in early 2009 to commission a two year awareness raising and training programme to be developed and delivered to 1200 participants over a two year period from Summer 2009-Summer 2011. Culturewise Ireland secured the tender and began developing the awareness raising and training programme over the Summer of 2009, with the programme being piloted over the course of six sessions in Autumn 2009. By the end of term three (December 2010) Culturewise had trained 1154 of its target of 1200, with the target being exceeded in term four. Over the summer of 2011, the project was extended to include the development and implementation of a mainstreaming strategy, which was delivered in term five (September – November 2011).

Originally set a target of providing the Capacity and Awareness Raising Training (CART) day and disseminating project resources to 1200 individuals, Culturewise ultimately delivered the training to over 1700 people by the end of 2011, drawn from over 130 organisations. Notwithstanding the recruitment strategy of first-come-first-served for enrolment on the CART day, the numbers of individuals and the different sectors from which they are drawn reflect a concerted effort by Culturewise to reach as many appropriate individuals as possible.

It is clear from the various sources of data that the CART delivered by Culturewise has made attendees more culturally aware, made them more conscious of the needs of immigrant parents and the experiences they have when parenting in a different cultural environment. This is a positive outcome. Furthermore, both the on-the-day evaluation and follow up survey data reveal that attendees have placed great value on possessing a set of resources which they can use as required or when the opportunity arises. Most significantly, the CART day and the resources have made attendees more aware of issues which affect immigrant parents.


“I thoroughly enjoyed the training day and the toolkit received. Through our work meeting parents from many cultures every day, I feel we can make good use of the equipment received and the helpful information and techniques. It was of great value for our organisation to have attended the training session as it adds more depth to our work with families from diverse cultures.”

Deirdre Lindy
Childcare Development Officer
Waterford City Childcare Committee


“I attended the Globe training and found it invaluable in providing me with the skills, tools and ideas for working with parents from other countries. The actual toolkit provided at the end of the training was amazing and had everything from ice breakers to case studies for providing training in the community. I am already using some of the information in my work and would recommend the training for anyone working with minority ethnic communities”.

Bernadette Murphy
Family Support Outreach Worker
Cobh Family Resource Centre


“Training was very relevant and provided me with easy to use tools for further work. I particularly benefited form the practical cultural awareness-raising exercise”

Imelda Graham
Training Co-ordinator
Barnardos’ Training and Resource Service


“I really enjoyed the Globe training day. The materials are beautifully produced, and laid out in a user friendly manner. There was lots of time on the day to put some of the tools to use. They would provide valuable information for anybody thinking of facilitating cultural diversity training, but also could be used on a one to one basis with families. I would have liked more time to explore the kit in more depth and suggest that the training should take place over two days!”

Caroline Duingan
Child and Family Care Training Officer
HSE West


“The training day was very well organised and very professionally facilitated. I also felt that having facilitators who are not Irish by birth gave a greater credibility to the information presented and to the day as a whole. I did not exactly learn anything new, however one fact struck me very strongly and that is that in the same way as every person is unique, so is every culture unique and in the same way as individuals are more alike than different so are cultures. In short, we can look for the differences and we can find them but we can also look for the similarities and find even more of those. However we must never make presumptions and always be open to challenges to our world view.”

Patricia FitzPatrick
Community Psychologist


“I attended the training in Cork on October 20th and found it to be a very informative day. While I dont have regular contact with women form other cultures, my work in Health Promotion has included cultural diversity training for staff and we are currently planning a process for feedback from women from other cultures who use our Maternity Services. The content of the training helped me to reflect on my own awareness level of the barriers for women from diverse cultures who are accessing our services and seeing the situation from their eyes makes the basic difficulties very clear. It also highlights that we can make small changes that would make a big difference to our service users.”

Maria Gibbons
Health Promotion Coordinator
Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital


“I found the training informative. I value the opportunity to meet and network with other practitioners. The exercises we did were practical and helpful. I also pleased to receive the up-to-date information pack.”

Gloria da Rocha
BME Family Support Worker
Barnardo’s Tuar Ceatha Services


Globe project has been funded by:

“Alvina’s presentation to the Credit Union Manager’s Association (C.U.M.A.) on managing cultural diversity was one of our most meaningful, useful and well received programmes in recent years. Alvina’s presentation showed a keen understanding of the unique nature of credit unions, and of the challenges of cultural diversity. She delivered her presentation and interacted with the large group of Managers present with insight, understanding and humour. The success of her interaction with our Managers is best measured by the numbers of people who came up to her immediately after the session to thank her, and the number of Managers who, afterwards, indicated to us that they would like to have Alvina back at a future stage.
I would, without hesitation, recommend Alvina to other organisations and businesses.”