It Takes a Village #51 #cong19


Chloe will talk about how her community has shaped who she is today, sometimes quite literally due to geographical location! Chloe will discuss how her rural, agricultural, maritime background influenced her decision to study at Maynooth University and become a professional Community Development and Youth Worker.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Without Community there is no foundation to life.
  2. People are expert in their own lives and the concerns of groups to which they belong both geographical and of interest.
  3. The knowledge that locals have in rural areas needs to be listened to and accepted as part of any planning process by policy makers.
  4. As community workers we strive to increase peoples knowledge to enable them to participate in meaningful decision-making, helping to put the ‘Unity’ in ‘Community’.

About Chloe O'Malley:

Chloe O’Malley is a 20 year old, student from Curradavitt, Louisburgh, Mayo. She was educated at the Holy Family National School Killeen, Sancta Maria College Secondary school in Louisburgh. Through Foroige Chloe achieved 1st Class honours in Youth Leadership and Community Action from NUIG in October 2017. She is currently studying a BA Honours degree in Social Science Community and Youth Work in Maynooth University. Chloe is a Volunteer, Community Activist & Leader, Mentor & Motivator and a passionate young person positively making a difference in County Mayo and further afield. Chloe is involved in the following organisations: Foroige, Mindspace Mayo, Shaping Our Future Together a subgroup of the Tochar Valley Rural Community Network, Louisburgh- Killeen Heritage and is a regular voluntary Community Activist in the Killeen/Louisburgh areas. Through her course in Maynooth University she has experienced work placements with Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education and Training Board, Mayo Children and Young Peoples Services Committee, Youth Action Northern Ireland (Belfast, Derry, Down, Armagh) and is currently in her final year placement delivering community development and youth work with Comhar Caomhan on Inis Oirr of the Aran Islands.
Chloe is interested in social change, empowering youth participation. Chloe has and maintains strong voluntary commitments and a passion to positively impact and develop rural Ireland and further afield. She is passionate about social justice and using tools of engagement from community and youth work approaches to achieve transformative social change. Chloe brings a rural, agricultural, feminist, critical thinking, proactive frame to her work. No stranger to hard work in the past 10 years Chloe has been versatile in her employment roles and gained experience in many local enterprises. Chloe learned valuable events co-ordinating skills through her work in hospitality and knows all too well the power local media, social media and good professional public relations can have on the sales and marketing of in local communities. From her experience growing up in rural Ireland she has developed endurance, drive, team leadership skills, communication, diligence and resilience. Chloe strives to inspire and cultivate creativity. Her main ambitions in life are to showcase gratitude towards society through active leadership in community by volunteering, leading and empowering others to make life a much better place for all.
• Turas na mBan – Celebrating the Journey of Women – Conference speaker 2019
• Mindspace Mayo Youth Panel member (Mental Health) 2016- ongoing
• Clew Bay Young Person of the Year 2017 (Westport Lions Club & The Mayo News)
• 2017 Ambassador for the 280km Charity Fundraiser Cycle for Crumlin Children’s Hospital
• Secretary and Founding member of Shaping Our Future Together – ( subgroup of Tochar Valley Rural Community Network ) 2016 – ongoing
• Louisburgh/ Killeen Heritage website contributor / photographer/ events coordinator / press releases / social media 2012 – ongoing
• Regular Voluntary Community Activist Killeen/Louisburgh
• Among Others EU Intercultural competence training – LEARGAS & Maynooth University 2019
• Louise McDonnell – Facebook/ social media training 2018
• Sancta Maria College Ambassador of the School 2017
• Sancta Maria College Community Person 2015-2016
• Sancta Maria College Mentor 2015- 2016
• Sancta Maria College Best Junior Student 2014- 2015
• Westport Foroige Project and Tusla Family Support Volunteer Summer 2018 (Garda vetted/ Child Protection Training)
• Foróige Leadership for Life Programme 2016-2017
• Representative of Sancta Maria College on Mayo Comhairle na nÓg 2016 – 2017
• Member of Louisburgh Foróige 2012- 2017(Junior Secretary Louisburgh Foróige 2014-15)
• Member of Louisburgh No Name Club 2015-2017
• Mayo Foróige Forum member 2014-2015

Contacting Chloe O'Malley:

You can follow Chloe on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, or send her an email.

By Chloe O’Malley

I believe that without Community there is no foundation to life. In our areas that we live we would never have locals, we would not do our favourite pastimes or really feel like we are existing without having a sense of belonging. The feeling of belonging is different for everyone and this variety and diversity is what attracts me to work in this area and become a professional Community Worker. When we think of Congregation some of us associate the word with a religious aspect, but I also think of our farm when the sheep don’t be long congregating when a new bale of silage is opened!

My village is rural and remote, growing up on my grandparent’s farm I gained close relationships with family & neighbours which also stretched to the community, shaping who I am today. Our village is so rural we still don’t even have mobile phone signal in 2019! But we don’t let this lack of external connection inhibit our personal connections through congregating to visit or storytelling and no one would ever see you stuck for teabags or fresh hen eggs. I have had the pleasure and freedom to grow up in the safety of a rural, agricultural, maritime community.

People are expert in their own lives and the concerns of groups to which they belong both geographical and of interest. “The first challenge: whose knowledge counts the knowledge that ‘local people’ or ‘community members’ acquire from their lived experience involves an ability to see and understand the nature of connections and interrelationships more clearly than professionals can do working from within the conceptual frameworks of their particular silos or expertise”1. The knowledge that locals have in rural areas needs to be listened to and accepted as part of any planning process by policy makers.

Words have meanings; some words, however, also have a feel. “Community” is one of those words. I connect strongly with the word community, especially coming from a rural background where community is to the fore. “It is like a roof under which we shelter in heavy rain, like a fireplace at which we warm our hands on a frosty day.”2. My ancestors endured hardship and for some emigration, in order to support their families. They never forgot where they came from and kept the connection strong by sending home whatever they could. I often wonder just how different our lives would be had they stayed? I grew up with the excitement of parcels in the post filled with provisions that made a real difference in our lives. Unfortunately, emigration is still a reality today. But you won’t get through customs today with Poitin in a knock holy water bottle or your grandmothers five pound porter cake!

As community workers we strive to increase peoples knowledge to enable them to participate in meaningful decision-making, helping to put the ‘Unity’ in ‘Community’. Community work is about the transition of community from the real to ideal. Starting at: Individual, Personal and Local and moving to: Collective, Political and Global.

The community I come from is a hive of activity with lots of voluntary hard work going on behind the scenes. Many projects & events have successfully happened due to the voluntary work of like minded people coming together working for a common goal & creating a sense of pride in our community. Whether celebrating a sporting win with returning teams welcomed home to bonfires or where traffic management to accommodate a funeral of a difficult tragedy is needed, our community spirit of kindness & support always comes to the fore. “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm”3. “It takes a village” is a proverb originating from African culture meaning that a child belongs not to one parent or home, an entire community of people must interact with children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. My own neighbours are the best example of rural Irish villagers. I have been reared by not just a village but an entire community.

1. Participating in development : approaches to indegenous knowledge Paul Sillitoe, Darrell A Posey, John Clammer, Aneesa Kassam, Peter Croal and 8 more Published in 2002 in London by Routledge
2. Bauman, Zygmunt (2001) Community: Seeking Safety in an Insecure World. Cambridge: Polity Press.
3. Henrik Ibsen (1828- 1906) Major Norwegian playwright of the late 19th Century.


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