Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

General (13)

In Ireland, Concern's registered charity number is 20009090.

Concern Worldwide UK is a Company Limited By Guarantee And Not Having A Share Capital (Registered in England and Wales with registered number 04323646) which has been granted Charitable Status by The Charity Commission for England and Wales (Registered Number 1092236) and The Office of The Scottish Charity Regulator (Registered Number SCO38107). The Registered Offices of Concern Worldwide (UK) are 13/14 Calico House, Plantation Wharf, London, SW11 3TN.

Concern's policy in the main is to work in the poorest countries as laid down by the Human Development Index governed by the United Nations Development Programme. To see a list of the countries we work in, click here.

Concern is established, trusted, well known, community-based and well-managed. Concern has won many awards for financial accounts from the Leinster Institute of Chartered Accountants. Concern also has a reputation of being emergency specialists – we respond very quickly when emergencies occur. Concern is Ireland's largest overseas development agency.

Wherever possible, we try to work through local partner organisations in order to make projects self-sustainable as well as maximising the use of local and cultural knowledge. Concern has been praised for its consultative approach to development projects in Africa, working closely with the people it is helping in order to create long-lasting solutions to poverty.

This is when Concern responds to crises such as natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, droughts, cyclones) and manmade disasters (often civil war). The most visible part of our is through emergency response.

Approximately half of Concern's resources are devoted to emergency work. In an emergency situation, Concern operates as part of the Disasters and Emergency Committee. We are most often responsible for feeding people. The way in which Concern manages malnutrition in the developing world is considered revolutionary, due to the pioneering of Community-based Therapeutic Care.

The difference between development work and emergency work is the difference between giving someone a job and giving them welfare. Relief is necessary in emergencies, but in the long term people want to earn an income.

Concern spends about half of its money on work that helps people to earn more, so that they can obtain the resources to assert their human right to food, shelter, health and education services.

The objective of Concern's long-term work is to help local organisations to grow. This will help people acquire the confidence and skills needed to lift themselves out of poverty.

According to the last annual report, 0.5% of costs went towards governance; 90.8% went to emergency relief and development work; 2.0% went on development education and advocacy; and 6.7% went on fundraising.

No. Concern is a non-denominational organisation.

Concern's mission is to help people who are living in extreme poverty achieve major improvements in their lives, improvements that last and spread without ongoing support from us.

To achieve this mission, Concern engages in long term development work, responds to emergency situations, and seeks to address the root cause of poverty through our work with advocacy and development education.

Concern's vision is a world where no one lives in poverty, fear or oppression. Where all have access to a decent standard of living and the opportunities essential to a long, healthy and creative life. A world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

The famine in Biafra in 1968 was the catalyst that gave rise to Concern.

Concern Worldwide is a non-governmental, international charity dedicated to reducing suffering and eliminating extreme poverty in the world's poorest countries.

Debates (10)

Got a question about the Concern Debates? Find the answers to commonly-asked questions below.

If the information you’re looking for isn’t here, email us at [email protected] or take a look at our troubleshooting sheet here

There are three adjudicators at each debate, one chief and two assistants. They mark students according to the Concern Debates marking sheet.

After the open forum session, the chief adjudicator will give some feedback on the debate, going over various parts of the marking sheet and offering advice for future debates. He or she will then announce that the motion has been carried (won by the proposition) or defeated (won by the opposition).

Points are awarded as follows:

  • Three points for a unanimous win (all three adjudicators agreed)
  • Two points for a majority win (just two agreed)
  • 1.5 points each for a draw (both teams were equally as good)
  • One point for a majority loss (if you lose by a majority)


Keep in touch with Concern!

Use this site to send us your photos, speeches, favourite quotes, opinions of motions, recommended sites and anything else about charity work you think we’ll like. We will use this information either on the website, on our twitter page, blog or in our debates newsletter.

Your arguments have been researched and prepared, you know what your teammates are going to say and you’ve got your points ready to refute the other team. The posters are up around the school advertising the debate, the audience is gathered and the Chairperson calls the house to order. You’re off!

The team captains will speak twice once to open the debate on behalf of your team and at the end to close your team’s arguments. Throughout the debate, you and your entire team should be listening out for points to refute and rebut the other team’s arguments. Write clearly and pass them on to the next speaker or the captain for his or her summation.

When you’re speaking, remember:

  • Use your notes as little as possible
  • Pace yourself; don’t speak too fast; the adjudicators won’t be able to follow your speech and you will waste all of your hard work
  • Be confident, enjoy yourself and be passionate about the subject (even if you are shaking like a leaf)
  • Keep your voice clear and remember you know more about the subject than your audience
  • Quote sources for your statistics and facts
  • Try to refute your opponent’s arguments
  • If you have a team line, use it sparingly and to emphasise your points – you don’t want your audience or adjudicators to become bored with it

You could advertise around your local area or town – is there a local newspaper or radio station who would be interested? Don’t forget to tell your family and friends to come along and support you!

Please ensure that as you face the audience from the podium that the proposing team is on the right and the opposing team is on the left.

Host teams are responsible for providing the chairperson and timekeeper. Check with your teacher that you have a chairperson and timekeeper assigned to the task. After the debate it is always nice to have a cup of tea and a chat. It has become a tradition of the Concern Debates for host schools to provide a cuppa and a few biscuits after a debate.

The audience will be made up of both team’s supporters. You can put up posters to encourage your friends and family to support your team. Even if you’re nervous, familiar faces in the audience will help boost your confidence. 

This is the essence of debating, the difference between public speaking and debating! Put simply, to refute an argument is to produce evidence (facts or figures) to prove it untrue. To rebut an argument is to discredit it by offering a completely different point of view.

Anticipating arguments

When preparing and researching your own speech you will need to anticipate the kinds of arguments your opponents will use. Jot down notes, quotes and statistics so that you are prepared to question the other team’s arguments.

It’s essential that every speaker attempts to have a go at their opponent’s arguments; each of you can earn 10 marks for refutation and rebuttal. Don’t leave it up to the others on your team. Remember, it’s your chance to have your two cents and convince the adjudicators how absurd your opponent’s arguments are. 

Also, try not to tack your rebuttal onto the beginning or the end of your speech. Try to weave it into the body of your speech and time it well to emphasise the points you are making.

Before you begin writing your speech you should take the following points into consideration.

Time yourself

Each speaker has four minutes and 30 seconds to speak – this includes the captains’ summation. Make sure you speak for no less than four minutes, or you will look like you didn’t prepare well. And, speak for no more than four minutes and 30 seconds, or you’ll lose some of your hard-earned marks.

Clear information

Don’t try to cram too much information into your speech. Adjudicators prefer to hear three to four well-developed points, with clear information about each of the points. Make sure your points flow together nicely. Points are awarded for clarity and logical thought.

Use facts

Find some good solid facts to strengthen your arguments, and make sure to quote your source during your speech to back up your point. 

Marking sheet

Look at the marking sheet before you debate so you know what the adjudicators are looking for. 


Prepare your cue cards for the podium. Do not write your entire speech on them. Put key points, facts and quotes on them, and use them to guide you on to your next point.

Practise makes perfect

Practise, practise, practise! In front of the mirror; using a video camera; in front of your class or parents. The more comfortable and convinced you are of the points you’re making, the easier it will be to convince others – especially the adjudicators.

Refutation and rebuttal

Leave time for refutation and rebuttal. When doing your research, try to predict what the other team will say and keep some statistics that could be used to counteract their arguments. Finally, remember to use your wit! Humour really livens up a debate.

There are many different ways you can conduct your research. For instance, school surveys are great to get some local or firsthand statistics on how your fellow students feel about some of the issues. Do they care about child labour? Do they think corruption in politics is just part of doing business? 

You could also try to interview people, such as members of charities and embassies, teachers that may have travelled overseas or perhaps someone from your local community.

Valuable sources

Documentaries and news can contain some really strong information and statistics. They can also provide useful case studies. All of this can be found in abundance on the internet. So too can podcasts, informative videos and other multimedia. 

Books and magazines can also be a great source of statistics and quotations relevant to motions (your school textbooks may even come in handy).

This is what a few of our past debaters have to say about the debates:

“I have found the Concern Debates absolutely brilliant! I have only been in two so far but it has been such a learning experience. I have not only educated myself in subjects like the UN, but I have really gained so much confidence, although the ole' legs shake still when I get up to speak! Thanks once again for this opportunity.”
Sarah Murphy

“Due to the debates, I have become much more aware; I buy fair trade products and encourage others to do the same.”
Francis Dowling

“Since being involved with these debates I have learned so much. Now especially, I am always encouraging my friends to buy fair trade stuff.”
Kate O’Connor

“The debates have helped my confidence and it has made me more aware of issues in the world today.”
Emma Fogarty

“The debates make me more conscious of the planet and its people and the fact that I’m a ‘child of the universe.’”
James Mahon


The Concern Debates, as the name suggests, is a debating competition which is open to senior cycle students (fourth year to sixth). The debates are an excellent opportunity to learn about the way the world works, and to develop lifelong skills in research and public speaking, all while having fun.

You will have the chance to have your say and argue motions on development issues against teams from other schools. Your team will participate in four debates in the League Phase between October and January. Then, if you are one of the top 16 teams in the country you will progress to the knockout phase which runs from February to May.

You begin right here! Look through all of the sections in this students’ guide. If your teacher doesn’t have a copy, please email us at and we’ll post you one. 

Make sure to log on regularly to the debates homepage. Here you’ll find all the relevant forms and resources along with research tips and the league table. 

Our latest news is also available on our Twitter account.

Get your team in place

Each team should consist of four speakers, plus as many substitutes. Each team should also have researchers, a public relations representative, a timekeeper and as many other “groupies” as you can find. Everyone that participates in the debates or assists your team will receive a certificate. 

Another important thing to do is to select your team captain. Your captain will have the job of defining how your team interprets the motion and of introducing briefly the other members of the team and their arguments. Your captain also sums up your team’s arguments and refutes the arguments of your opponents at the end of the debate.

Once you receive your motion, the whole team should get together and discuss it, especially your “side” of the motion. Teams proposing the motion must defend it; those opposing the motion must argue against it.

Plan your approach

Make sure to plan your approach. Will you use a team line? For example, will your captain be the “Taoiseach”, with the rest of the team acting as “cabinet members”? Each of your points or arguments will arise from your ministerial position.

Jobs (7)

Any offer of employment is subject to a medical check with a Concern approved Doctor and satisfactory references. We will contact three referees, one to be from your current or most recent previous employer.

In response to donors funding requirements and our determination to ensure that funds are used in an exclusively humanitarian manner, it is our policy that all job offers are conditional on our ensuring that potential employees’ names do not appear on counter terrorism lists generated by the United Nations, European Union or the United States.

Anyone working for Concern must agree to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Concern Staff Code of Conduct and the Associated Policies to Concern's Code of Conduct. Each of which is intended to ensure the appropriate behaviour of Concern staff and ensure the maximum protection of programme participants.

Employee benefits are tailored to your place of work. In Dublin, we offer a competitive range of employee benefits, while for those working internationally, we offer benefits normally associated with overseas assignments in this sector. Full details on salary and job benefits will be made available to all candidates selected for interview.

We believe in working directly with local people. In as far as possible, we try to recruit staff from the communities in which we work. For information on volunteering in our home offices click here.

We do not maintain a register of applicants and therefore recommend that you check our website regularly.

Concern works in 24 countries. For more information on these countries click here.

Dublin and internationally based charity positions are advertised here. We also advertise in jobs sections of relevant websites and from time to time, in international and local press. We reserve the right to advertise positions internally.

Payroll giving (5)

Concern is currently working in some of the poorest countries in the world. Up to date information on which countries we are currently working as well as what type of projects we are operating is available at here.

You can increase, decrease or discontinue your donations at any stage. To do this, you will need to notify both Concern and your payroll department in writing. We will then make the necessary amendment to your Payroll giving scheme immediately.

If this is the case, they may be understandably hesitant about beginning such a scheme without all of the relevant information. Please contact Concern with contact details for your payroll department. We will deal directly with them to alleviate any reservations they might have.

To give to Concern through your payroll, simply follow these guidelines;
Step 1: Decide how much you would like to donate to Concern on a weekly/monthly basis.
Step 2: Contact Concern, who will provide you with a form for your payroll department.
Step 3: Complete the form and send to the relevant person in the payroll department. Confirm with them that the company is happy to process the donation.
Step 4: Contact Concern confirming the payroll deduction has been set up and provide contact details for your payroll department.
Step 5: Take pride in the fact that you are now contributing towards Concern's work.

Payroll Giving is a form of donating to Concern through your company's payroll department. When you receive your wages, the charity donation will already have been deducted. In effect, you won't see the money before it gets sent to Concern.

Your payroll department will send your donation on to Concern by whatever means is most appropriate for them, eg cheque or credit transfer.

Your donation and tax back (11)

The government’s Gift Aid scheme enables you to increase the value of your donations by almost a third – at no extra cost to you. By making a Gift Aid declaration today, supporters can help Concern reclaim thousands of pounds. This extra funding can make an incredible difference to our work in developing countries.

If you are a UK taxpayer, for every pound that you have donated in the past four years we can claim an extra 25p from HM Revenue and Customs. It doesn't cost you a penny. To help us claim tax from your previous donations and any donations you may make to us in the future, all you have to do is fill in our online form.

If you prefer, you can download and print out the Gift Aid form and send it to us. Click here to download the Gift Aid form (pdf). Post the completed form to our freepost address: Concern Worldwide, Freepost BEL 1098, Belfast, BT1 2BR.

You can register for Gift Aid today by one of the following methods:

  • Telephone us on 0800 032 4001
  • Complete the online Gift Aid tax form by clicking here
  • Download the Gift Aid declaration form by clicking here (pdf) and post the completed form to our freepost address: Concern Worldwide, Freepost BEL 1098, Belfast, BT1 2BR.

If you make donations via CAF, tax has already been reclaimed. However, please fill in the declaration form anyway so that any separate donations you might make to Concern can be tax effective as well.

Absolutely not. It just means that if you do give any amount to Concern in the future, we can claim an extra 25% back from HM Revenue and Customs.

Yes. Your details are confidential to Concern and HM Revenue and Customs. We will not share this information with anyone else.

To ensure we don't keep asking you to join the Gift Aid scheme, it is useful for us to know if you are not a tax payer. Please let us know if you don't pay tax by calling 0800 032 4001 or e-mail [email protected]

Please let us know if your tax status changes so we can change our record and make sure we are collecting the correct tax back for your donations. Please call the Concern Supporter Services team on 0800 032 4001 or e-mail [email protected]

As a pensioner, you may still pay tax on a private pension plan or savings account, or capital gains tax if you sell property or shares. If this is the case, we can still claim Gift Aid on your donations.

Concern can only reclaim tax at the basic rate of 22%, whether you pay tax at the basic rate or the higher rate of 40%. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim back the difference between the higher and basic rates of tax on your donations on your self assessment form.

As a self-assessed tax payer, you can nominate Concern to receive your repayments as a donation, simply by entering this unique code on your form: DAD67DG.

You can join the Gift Aid scheme if you are a tax payer at the basic or higher tax rate. Lower rate tax payers (including those paying tax on investment income) can also join.

If you pay capital gains tax, you qualify for Gift Aid. Capital gains tax is applied to unearned income such as interest from savings.

Remember, to qualify for Gift Aid, what you pay in income tax or capital gains tax must equal the amount we claim from the Inland Revenue in any given year.

Trustees (14)

Concern Worldwide UK is governed and regulated by its trustees. They are elected on a rotational basis at the annual general meeting.

Sam is the Chief Operating Officer at Frontline, an independent charity with a mission to transform the lives of vulnerable children by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society.

Prior to joining Frontline, Sam served as Director of Development at Teach First, where he worked between 2009 and 2016, and has previously held positions at Yale University Office of Development and at Oxford Integra.

Sam was educated at University College London and the University of Oxford.

Peggy Walters is a policy and communications specialist in the area of global health. She is currently Communications Director with the World Heart Federation. Peggy was educated at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, where she read Communications and Sociology and holds a Masters’ degree in International Communications and Development.

After school in Edinburgh,  Donald took a degree in chemistry from Oxford. Since then he has always worked in the financial sector, latterly spending 25 years in senior roles with RBS in Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam and Asia.   His most recent roles at RBS included Executive Chairman of the Asia Pacific region, based in Hong Kong, Executive Chairman of Corporate and Institutional Banking based in London, and latterly Executive Chairman of Private Banking (which included Coutts bank).

He was also chairman of the Edinburgh College of Art, and a member of Court at Edinburgh University. He is also non-Executive Chairman of JCB Finance Ltd.

Diane joined Concern Worldwide (UK) board as Trustee in February 2017. A qualified Social Researcher, Diane completed a PhD in Gender at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a MSC in Gender, Culture and Politics from Birkbeck University of London. She also has an MSc in NGO Management from Cass Business School.

Diane is a Founding Partner of PDC: Professional Diversity Consultants. PDC provides research based advisory services relating to organisational approaches to diversity in employment through both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Previously Diane worked as Journalist in Jordan for the Jordan Times and Jerusalem Star Newspapers. She also worked for Young and Rubicam (Zambia) Ltd as Head of Public Relations, and The Financial Times Newspaper and FT Conferences as their Business Representative for Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Diane is also author of a book titled, Black Women in Management: Paid Work and Family Formations, Palgrave MacMillan

Bernadette Sexton works at McKinsey & Company. Her career has focused on international development having served governments of developing and emerging economies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Bernadette has supported development agencies and governments on a wide range of economic and social development topics. For this, she has been recognised by DevEx as one of London's top 40 international development leaders under 40 years of age, recognised for shaping and impacting on aid and development. She has a deep interest in development aid effectiveness, poverty alleviation and inclusion of marginalised groups.

Barbara worked with Concern in Dublin from 1990–1994 before commencing a two year assignment to Rwanda to help set up Concern’s operation there. She was also employed by the United Nations, focused on the repatriation of displaced Rwandans from Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania.

She holds a Masters Degree in Business and Technology from the University of New South Wales and M.Sc. in Organisational Behaviour from the University of Birkbeck. She is currently employed as the Global Network Director for RSA Insurance Group in the City of London.

She joined the board of Concern in 2008, and has now joined the Board of Concern Worldwide UK.  She was previously on the Board of the Organisational Development Committee.

Donal works as a Procurement Manager in the public sector and also lectures in Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

Donal worked for Concern Worldwide from 2001 to 2012. His work with Concern began in the Fundraising department and following deployments to Darfur, Sudan in 2004 and Banda Ache, Indonesia the following year as a member of Concern’s humanitarian emergency response team, he joined the Logistics unit based in Concern’s Dublin office. The role included significant overseas travel to many of Concern’s field operations. Donal was appointed to the Board of Concern Worldwide in 2014 and is also a member of the Audit & Risk Sub-Committee of the Board. Donal was appointed to the Board of Concern Worldwide UK in 2015.

Zamila is an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester. She is a recent former Visiting Fellow of the Brookings Institute, Doha.
Zamila previously held a variety of public policy, strategy and programme roles in government for the Prime Minister’s Strategy UnitCabinet OfficeDepartment for Innovation, Universities, Skills and the Ministry of Justice.
Her experience covers key policy areas including labour markets, socio-economic inclusion, poverty, rule of law and humanitarian aid. In 2010, she was nominated and shortlisted for the European Muslim Woman of Influence Award. She is an international public policy speaker, has published widely and appears regularly in the TV and print media.

Seán is a visiting professor at the University of Ulster where he is engaged with partnership projects with universities across east Africa. He is the author of three books, several book chapters and numerous articles on education, and on politics in Northern Ireland. He was a senior negotiator during the talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Seán served in the new Northern Ireland government first as minister for further and higher education, and later as minister for finance and personnel. Prior to his political career, he taught in secondary schools in Sierra Leone, Switzerland and Ireland


Tony graduated from Oxford University in Jurisprudence, but has spent his entire career in the shipping industry. He worked for 13 years in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, before re-settling in London in 1988. He has held numerous ownership positions in shipping and is the founder and CEO of Marine Capital Ltd, which provides commercial and technical shipping services to institutional investors. Tony became a trustee in 2011 and Vice Chairman of Concern Worldwide (UK) in 2013.

Jemima’s background is in corporate sustainability. She has spent much of her career working with companies – from multi-national corporations to small social enterprises – on how to harness the power of businesses to address social and environmental challenges and opportunities.
Jemima is currently head of food business at Compassion in World Farming, working with companies to improve standards of animal welfare and sustainability. She was previously director of partnerships at CSR Asia in Hong Kong. Jemima has a first class degree in human sciences from Oxford University and has undertaken a year’s professional leadership programme in social enterprise.

Rob has more than 26 years of financial and commercial experience in various energy sectors and has been an FCA since 1991.

He is currently a partner in Kinetix Corporate Finance, an advisory firm he co-founded in 2010, which is exclusively focussed on the cleantech and sustainability sectors.

After graduating, he spent 8 years with Arthur Andersen before joining the FTSE 100, LASMO plc, ultimately becoming Group Financial Controller.  In 2001 he became FD of an acquisitive VC-backed service company until facilitating its sale in 2003. In 2004 he was central to the preparation and marketing for AIM flotation of a renewable energy company.  Rob then spent 6 years as FD of one of the UK’s premier anaerobic digestion developers.

Barbara worked with Concern Worldwide in Dublin from 1990 to 1994 before going to Rwanda on a two-year assignment to set up our operation there. While in Rwanda, she also worked with the United Nations, focusing on the repatriation of displaced Rwandans from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania.

Barbara holds a Masters in business and technology from the University of New South Wales and is completing an MSc in organisational behaviour at Birkbeck, University of London. She is currently working as distribution director for Royal and Sun Alliance. In 2011, Barbara raised funds for Concern by taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa.

James works with colleagues in Teach First and in universities to train great teachers to serve low-income communities across England and Wales. Teach First’s vision is that no child’s educational success is limited by their background.
Before joining Teach First, James worked with charities in the UK and overseas to improve their influence over decision-makers. He managed programmes to train leaders in charities and government in a variety of countries. Most recently, he was the director of a network improving co-operation between Islamic and western aid organisations. James started his career as a commercial lawyer and has a masters degree in international relations.