Dochás, the Irish NGDOs platform,  collaborated closely with CONCORD and DEEEP to elaborate the European Code of Conduct on Messages and Images so as to help the Development sector communicate differently, to show NGO’s that they can reproduce stereotypes without knowing it and because we all need to question the messages and images we deliver

The Code was presented at the DARE Forum in Malta, in October 2006, and was approved by CONCORD General Assembly in June 2007. Dochás also created a “Guide to the use of the code of conduct” that we invite you to read.

Background & story behind the Code

In April 1989 the General Assembly of the European NGOs adopted a code of Conduct on Images and Messages relating to the Third World. The intention was that the Code would challenge and guide NGOs to be attentive to messages that could over-simplify or over concentrate on sensational aspects of life in the developing world, whether in education, public relations or fundraising activities.

In 2004 during the Summer School in Belgium, the issue of communicating on Development Education came up, and it was decided to look into the possibility of renewing the former NGO Code of Conduct on Images and Messages. Dóchas volunteered to play a leading role in this process and started commissioning an initial research and seeking opinions and recommendations towards an updated and more inclusive Code of Conduct.

The original Code was written by development education practitioners specifically to act as a guide to NGOs working in the international development arena. This remains a central focus of the updated Code. In addition however, the updated Code is designed to be of value to other organisations that communicate images and messages relating to Third World, such as for instance, media organisations.

Why was a Code needed?

The purpose of this Code is to provide a framework on which organisations can rely on  when designing and implementing their public communication strategy. Given that these choices are inherently subjective, the Code offers a set of guiding principles that can assist practitioners in their decisions-making about which images and messages to choose in their communication.

We recommend you to read the “guide” for more detailed and practical information you might need when applying the Code in your communication. (see in the box “resources” below).


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