Sustainability Story: Four Questions for Caroline Kuyper



Q1: Tell us about yourself, where in Donegal are you based and what things do like to do?

I live in Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal. I like going for walks by the sea or anywhere else in nature, working in my garden, taking part in community activities, in particular creative ones like with Artlink, spending time with my grandchildren one afternoon a week, knit & crochet yarn bombs for change. Singing and reading.

I took part in the IMMA Eco Art Festival last October and I felt heartened by the many different creative approaches to ecological issues, how many people do care and do what they can, awareness raising, planting trees, rewilding, growing mushrooms, visioning the future, litter-picking etc. What is missing is urgent radical action by government and corporations and we need more truth telling by the mainstream media, whether that is highlighting the daily weather extremes in the wider context of rising CO2 or calling out Greenwashing etc.

Q2: What change making activities are you pursuing in your life at this time?

I grow some of my own food, I have a rainwater harvesting system (barrels) to water my garden, I use water in my house sparingly.

I compost my food waste.

I am learning about saving seeds and I give/share/swap them with folks in the area – seeds, seedlings and produce.

I am part of the Amach Anseo Community Garden at Dunree.

I use a bus whenever possible or walk to town, try use my car as little as possible, combine journeys & things to do when I do use the car. As I live up a hill, it’s about 25 minutes down, and 35 minutes up!

I pick up local litter regularly, sometimes as part of Buncrana Tidy Town Committee, sometimes on my own.

I sing in a local choir about climate change, biodiversity and social justice.

I co-set up Extinction Rebellion Donegal-Derry/Strabane and the Red Rebel XR Donegal group too.

I co-founded the Buncrana-Palestine solidarity group, regular stalls, info evenings & fundraisers and bulk buying Palestinian produce (olive oil, dates etc) yearly.

I am involved in the Inishowen against Goldmining campaign.

I am involved in the Action North Waste Campaign, about safe disposal of buried toxic waste dump at Bridgend and holding those responsible accountable.

I support the local organic farms (White Oaks and Bee Organic) buying their produce regularly when money permits.

I am involved with Derry Zero Waste as well as the Environmental Gathering in Derry.

I make yarn-bombs, (knit and crochet) to highlight ecological issues and raise awareness to hang in public spaces.

I am part of an informal group of people in the area that run occasional swap shops or passing on items of books, clothes and household items and ran a Repair café in the past etc. We are like a Transition Town collective.


Q3: How do you interact with ChangeMakers?

I did the original course at the start, then later did part of the facilitators course, I go to the seminars yearly and when possible, to workshops. I organised a zero waste training workshop, given by Rachel Dempsey, whom Changemakers had used.

They are ‘my tribe’, people who care about social and ecological justice, about human rights, global and local etc. I have learned a lot, been challenged, stimulated and encouraged.

Q4: What conversations would you like to pursue with the wider ChangeMakers community?

  1. Political economy: We need to name and understand the ideological economic model of neoliberalism – that harms planet and people- and increases inequality, in order to effectively challenge it. I know Trademark in Belfast run courses on it. Further info:
  2. Doughnut Economics. I took part in a workshop at IMMA on this alternative economic model, staying within ecological and social limits. The Irish Doughnut Economics Network offer training/workshops, I spoke to a woman, Mary from Transition Kerry, and Roisin from Wexford Environmental Network. Further info:
  3. We need to talk about local turf cutting! How it is a tradition and ‘free’, which matters to a largely poor population in rural Donegal, but how it’s costing the future in reality. How folk need to be fully supported to insulate their houses better (government aid) and use more sustainable alternative sources of fuel & value the bogs for the vital carbon sink it is!
  4. Wind-power/water power: Not the corporate profit-driven huge models, but smaller scale community owned and managed, not on the bogs (Meenabog landslide) etc.
  5. Tree-planting – yes, but native and varied. Not Sitka spruce monoculture plantations, laden with pesticides, as they are ecological dead zones.




Disappear Here Film Club at Inishowen Pride


The Disappear Here Film Club is going on the road for one week only from its usual location, Clonmany, to feature in the Inishowen Pride weekend in Buncrana for the first time on Friday 2 June.

The Disappear Here Film Club is designed to bring people together once a month to see a societal or global theme played out on screen and to give people the opportunity to discuss these issues as a community.

Everyone is welcome to join our Club which is a partnership between Disappear Here Film Festival, ChangeMakers Donegal and Concern.


To reserve your seat visit Eventbrite and enter the words: Disappear Here Film Club at Inishowen Pride.

Further Information

As part of the Inishowen Pride Weekend, Michael McLaughlin of Disappear Here Film Festival has chosen five short films to reflect LGBTQ+ stories. The short films will be followed by a post-film discussion featuring Orla Walsh, the Director of the film Bent out of Shape about a gay punk working in a video shop.

A panel discussion will follow the Film screenings and it will feature Karl Hayden, LGBTQ+ and HIV activist for more than 30 years, Orla Walsh, Film-maker and Anne-Marie Mc Laughlin, Healthy Club Officer at Buncrana GAA, chaired by Ruth Garvey Williams of Exchange Inishowen.

“We’re very much looking forward to hosting the Film Club in Buncrana as part of Inishowen Pride weekend,” said Myra McAuliffe, Project Coordinator, ChangeMakers Donegal.

“And we expect the panel discussion after to be very lively and informative. As well as being an activist, Karl has been working on a scheme to disregard historic convictions of men prosecuted under Victorian Law, which criminalised consensual sex between men up to 1993.

“Karl was also one of the organisers of the Dublin Pride so we’re looking forward to having him in Buncrana,” added Myra.

“Also on the evening, an exhibition Where Love is Illegal, will be unveiled. Witness Change has partnered with Inishowen Pride to bring this exhibition to Ireland for the first time. The exhibition documents and shares LGBTI+ stories of discrimination and survival from around the world. The exhibition will be on display throughout the weekend at The Exchange Inishowen.“

The Disappear Here Film Club will take place in the Exchange on Friday June 2 at 7.30pm. It is free and open to everyone over 18. However advance booking is required to be able to accommodate everyone.


The programme of short films is as follows:

Film Title 1: Bent out of Shape

Director: Orla Walsh (IRL)

Description: Danny, a gay punk working in a video shop, befriends a young bullied boy Stephen but their friendship has consequences…

Running Time: 26 minutes


Film Title 2: Dream Kitchen

Director: Barry Dignam (IRL)

Description: A young man arrives home to find his Dad repairing the car again and his Mum busy cooking, as usual. In these depressingly dreary surroundings the son imagines a luxurious dream kitchen, in which he plucks up the courage to tell his astonished parents the good news: “I’m gay”. But, all too soon, his fairy-tale comes to an end…

Running Time: 9 minutes


Film Title 3: Different

Director: John Farrelly (IRL)

Description: Summer 1980’s, The West of Ireland. A time and place where homosexuality is frowned upon, a promising young gaelic footballer, Patrick, falls in love with another young man from his local village.

Running Time: 20 mins


Film Title 4: In Orbit

Director: Katie McNiece (IRL)

Description: There was once an invisible optician, trapped in a strange and lonely world. Her story starts with a broken lens and the woman who taught her to see things differently.

Running Time: 17 mins


Film Title 5: PINK

Director: KY Baldwin – (USA)

Description: Elody is realizing that finding love is a gift not to be ignored. Being happy and living without fear is what matters and will make you the person you are destined to be.

Running Time: 7 mins


Panel discussion to follow the event, details to be announced soon.

Hope for a Home: A Story Exchange Workshop for Women

A story exchange to share stories about home for women living in Direct Provision in Donegal.

What makes a home?

What are your hopes for the future?

You are all welcome to join us for a story exchange and discussion workshop facilitated by Francine Blaché-Breen and Eve Li.

Here, we will look at the topic of home as a local, national and global issue to raise understanding, awareness and empathy as global citizens.

Exact location in Ballybofey to be announced, places limited to 6 to 8 people.

Registration link

Let’s make change together at our 11th annual seminar

SUSTAINABILITY and solidarity in the community will be at the fore of the annual ChangeMakers Donegal seminar early next month.

Taking place at the Station House Hotel in Letterkenny on Friday, June 9, the annual seminar is inviting everyone who is interested in coming together to share ideas to attend the free and public event.

Speakers on the day include Rebekah Shirley of World Resources Institute Africa and David O’Hare, Communications Officer with Trócaire, who are ChangeMakers partners, along with Inishowen Development Partnership, Self Help Africa, Donegal ETB, and Concern Worldwide.

David will speak about the impact of climate change on Somalia following a visit there recently.

“I am looking forward to delivering a speech about climate change at ChangeMakers Donegal’s upcoming annual seminar,” said David.

“Trócaire has enjoyed a long partnership with ChangeMakers Donegal and both organisations are funded by Irish Aid to work for global justice in today’s unbalanced world.

“Just six weeks ago, I visited Somalia, where eight million people are facing starvation. This is the consequence of three years without rain. A drought the like of which hasn’t been seen for four decades has been fuelled by climate change and the result has been devastating for the people of this east African country.

“While these are hard truths to confront, it is my hope that speaking about my recent experiences in Somalia, telling the stories of the people I met, will spur on more action at a local level as we all have a role to play in confronting climate change.”

ChangeMakers raise awareness of global issues, such as sustainability, climate change, gender equality, Fairtrade, and so much more, but in a local way.

“Global issues are local issues and that’s what Irish Aid and our partners support us to highlight here in Donegal,” said Myra McAuliffe, Project Coordinator of ChangeMakers Donegal.

“In the past year we’ve worked with local people to embrace Fairtrade products in towns and villages across Donegal and we’ve celebrated UN Mother Tongue Day and we’ve launched our new Sustainability Passport programme.”

The ChangeMakers Sustainability Passport Programme offers a guide to a more sustainable life specific to Donegal and isopen to individuals, community groups, social enterprises and businesses.

Buncrana Tidy Town Committee piloted the Sustainability Passport by choosing to focus on reusing and recycling in recent months, by taking up community gardening in the community garden owned by the Swilly Community Employment Programme behind the Vincents Buncrana shop on the Main Street.

“This shows sustainability in action in the community and we hope it will encourage local people to reuse waste materials in their everyday activities given Ireland produces the highest

volume of plastic waste per person in the EU ,” added Myra.

Myra hopes that the annual seminar on June 9 will be an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, as well as a chance to look to the future and see how when local come together to share conversations and ideas.

“ChangeMakers is quite unique in Ireland and thanks to our partnership model we’ve been going 11 years now,” said Myra.

“We invite anyone interested in a movement for change to come along to the Station House Hotel Letterkenny on Friday 9 June 2023 as we’ll make plans there for the year of ahead of inclusive education and discussion for adults.”

As well as Rebekah and David being the main speakers at the annual seminar on June 9, there will also be a a panel discussion featuring Greencastle Community Centre, Muff District Heritage Group and the Donegal Gay Walking Group and others who signed up to the Seeds of Change Grant and Mentoring programme as well as music from the New Lands Choir.

Booking for the seminar is now open and while it is a free event people are asked to book their spot in advance to allow for lunch/dietary requirements for the venue.

Book your free spot now via Eventbrite and the link below:

For more information see













Walk & Talk on World Migratory Birds Day at Glenveagh




As #World Migratory Bird Day approaches, the massive movement of birds over our heads is already underway. And yet, we are experiencing a dramatic decline in many of the species. Join us for another of our popular Walk & Talk Series with Aengus Kennedy of @Naturenorthwest at the beautiful Glenveagh National Park.
Booking link:

‘Machines’ screening at Disappear Here Film Club in June


📌 Our May Film Club screening is the exceptional ‘Machines’ directed by Rahul Jain, a portrait of the daily life of the workers in an Indian textile factory, revealing its beauty as well as its shameful working conditions. 🎦

May 6th 7.30pm The Market House, Clonmany. Admission is €7.50 🎟️

Many thanks to Clonmany Community Centre for providing this wonderful venue.

As usual, our club is brought to you with our partners at Change Makers Donegal & Concern Worldwide 🌍

This is another one not to miss. ✅



Leave No Trace is the April Film Club Film

🎥Our monthly Film Club in association with the Disappear Here Film Festival and funder, Concern Worldwide, is back. Change makers are invited to attend our screening of Leave No Trace on Saturday 8 April at 7.30pm in Clonmany at The Market House, Clonmany. Admission is €7.50 and you don’t need to book in advance.

Post Show Discussion

For the post show discussion, we will have a special guest speake,r Eric Ede from Disappear Here Film Festival’s sister festival Black Rock City Film Festival, at Burning Man in Nevada, USA. Leave no Trace is one of the 10 principles of Burning Man and we will open the floor to questions afterwards.

What is this month’s feature film about?

Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland.

The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock.



Film Club Update

For this year’s Club, we have changed the day to Saturdays (usually the first Saturday of every month) and we have changed the format to include feature films on important topics (such as housing) and documentaries, we will retain the post-show discussion.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our March Film Club during which we presented Black Gold, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee followed by a great post-show discussion about all things Fairtrade.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Celebrating Women of the World with Amanda Obidike

Meet Amanda Obidike, Founder of STEM-i Makers Africa and a Mentor in the New York Academy of Science. As part of the ChangeMaker’s Global Voices Series, she spoke Diane Greer of ChangeMakers Donegal ahead of International Women’s Day 2023. This year’s themes are Equity and Innovation.

In this 10-minute interview, Amanda talks about her work in Africa, to connect young women to role models and the world of STEM. She offers advice ‘to the women of the world’, to embrace collaboration in all spheres of life. She shares the saying: ‘when you empower women, the woman empowers her community’.

A message of empowerment from Nigeria to Donegal

Amanda sent a special message to the women of Donegal. Because the theme for IWD 2023 is equity and innovation, we introduced Amanda to Donegal women at an International Women’s Day event hosted by our main partner, Inishowen Development Partnership and Women’s Collective Ireland-Donegal. The event celebrated women ‘just like you’ and saw local women nominate someone inspiration from their lives. Amanda encouraged women to be free to dream and excel and to embrace learning amongst their peers. This chimes very well with the adult global citizenship education of ChangeMakers Donegal. She finishes her message with a call to arms to ‘stand together in the embrace equity hug’.









About Amanda Obidike 

Amanda Obidike is the founder of STEMi Makers Africa, an organization addressing the underrepresentation of young women and girls in STEM and the fragmented education system by training teachers and students in STEM Education. Amanda is a key champion for championing diversity in technology and innovation for women and has been recognised for her work with a number of prestigious global awards.

She is also an international speaker and a Mentor in the New York Academy of Science, Cherie Blair Foundation, the 1 million Women in Tech, and Global thinkers for Women where she lends her voice, knowledge, and serves as a role model to girls in Africa. She currently serves on the Leadership Team of the 500 Women Scientists, USA and Trustee Board of the MAI Foundation.

Celebrate #Fairtrade Fortnight in Donegal


THREE INISHOWEN towns are aiming to secure Fairtrade status ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight 2023.

Buncrana is currently in the running to be named Inishowen’s third Inishowen town [Carndonagh and Moville have already received the prestigious title], with Ballyliffin and Clonmany setting their sights on ‘Fairtrade Community’ status.

As part of the campaign, ChangeMakers Donegal has been working with volunteers in the local communities and is now inviting Inishowen shoppers to buy fair trade products this February during Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 27 February to 12 March.

Myra McAuliffe, Project Coordinator with ChangeMakers explains how encouraging people to buy Fairtrade products, such as tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate and even flowers and cotton with the Fairtrade mark can make a difference.

“Most of us enjoy a cup of tea or coffee but did you know everyday items such as these provide an opportunity to act in solidarity with the people who produce the goods?” explained Myra.

“The Fairtrade movement works with farming co-operatives, businesses, and governments to make trade fair for farmers and workers. It provides safer working conditions and fairer pay while for shoppers it means high quality, ethically produced products.”

To support the Buncrana efforts, ChangeMakers are inviting Ugandan Tea Farmer Innocent Owomuhangi to Inishowen to speak to the community about how important it is to them that we buy Fairtrade items where possible.

The first of these events will take place on Monday 6 March at 1pm in the Exchange Buncrana. This is a public event and everyone is invited to come along and listen what Innocent has to say and how local people’s shopping choices make a difference to the people in his community in Uganda.

Buncrana councillor Jack Murray, who is also chairperson of the Fairtrade Buncrana committee said they have small changes within the council, ensuring that fairtrade tea and coffee is available in all Donegal County Council buildings. It will also be available in local restaurants and cafes, where possible.

“This Fairtrade Fortnight we encourage Inishowen people to buy Fairtrade,” said Cllr. Murray.

“We look forward to welcoming Innocent Owomuhangi from Uganda to Inishowen for events in Buncrana and Clonmany.

“Everyone in the community; whether you are a shopper, a chef or business owner, is welcome to come and meet Innocent who is a worker on the Kayonza Growers Tea Factory Limited in Uganda and an Ambassador for Fairtrade International.”

Cllr. Murray added: “While buying Fairtrade is an act of solidarity with people in places like Africa and Colombia, it is also another step towards being a sustainable region.”

Meanwhile other Inishowen events as part of the Fairtrade fortnight include:

  • On Sunday 5 March at 7:30pm, the monthly Disappear Here Film Club is back with a climate change themed film planned and a post film community discussion with Innocent Owomuhangi, Fairtrade International Ambassador.
  • Carndonagh residents can attend the Carndonagh Fairtrade Coffee Morning, in association with Spraoi agus Sport Mother and Toddler Group on Saturday 4 March at 11am.
  • Fairtrade Dunfanaghy are organising a Fairtrade Coffee morning on Thursday 9 March, location and time to follow on our social media pages.


Local Schools to embrace Fairtrade

Local schools are also getting behind the campaign; Crana College in Buncrana is applying for status as a Fairtrade School. Its students will present a stall at SuperValu Buncrana showcasing Fairtrade products and they will partake in an education workshop with ChangeMakers Donegal, the Irish Aid funded community project, which champions the cause to think global and act local in Donegal. Primary school students at Scoil Phadraig, Rasheeny, will learn about Fairtrade too in a workshop with Patsy Toland of ChangeMakers Donegal and WorldWise Global Schools.

For more information and resources visit & or contact



Donegal Businesses; Start Your Sustainability Journey Today

Donegal Businesses; Start Your Sustainability Journey Today

Sustainability for Everyone – start your journey today and gain your passport to a better tomorrow.

ChangeMakers is looking for six local businesses in Donegal to take part in our new certified Sustainability Passport programme.

What is it?

A certified, guided, free programme designed to help businesses take more sustainable actions in their workplaces and communities.

Made up of five ‘how to’ guides providing key facts and figures, suggested actions and their measurable impacts, and an online link to resources across five routes:

Route 1.          Water and Energy

Route 2.          Reusing and Recycling

Route 3.          Ethical and Responsible consumption

Route 4.          Biodiversity and Gardening

Route 5.          Equality and Inclusion in our communities







How Does It Work?

Embark on your Sustainability Passport journey in three easy steps:

Step 1 ­- Attend an engaging and informative ‘how to’ webinar for Social Enterprises (time to be decided in consultation with the local businesses that sign up).

Step 2 – Consult with a designated mentor who will guide you on your chosen route and what actions to take.

For example, if your chosen route is Water & Energy, then you could take simple actions such as adjusting eco setting on appliances to power-saving mode, installing sensors and timers throughout your premises and switching to LED lighting to reduce usage, decrease emissions and save money.

Step 3 – Share your actions (via an ‘easy to use’ online platform) to gain certification, while creating a resource of local-based knowledge, tips and learning that helps your whole community progress along their sustainability journey, with local and global benefits.

To start your Sustainability Passport journey today and ensure a better tomorrow for you and your community, click on the SIGN UP button below to contact Kate at ChangeMakers Donegal.

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