As the foremost peace-building organization in Ireland, Co-operation Ireland has been leading the way in improving relations between Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for nearly 40 years.

The financial support from The Ireland Funds has enabled us to develop practical peacebuilding initiatives and the LEGaSI Leadership (Learning, Engagement, Growth and Succession Intervention) effectively illustrates this approach.

— Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-Operation Ireland

Funded by a $1 million Flagship investment from The Ireland Funds, the LEGaSI project (Learning, Engagement, Growth and Succession Intervention) aims to increase and strengthen the capacity of working-class Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist communities in Northern Ireland through the provision of learning and skills development opportunities. The LEGaSI project is taking an innovative approach to working with these working class communities, who are acknowledged to have a poorer level of social development than their Catholic neighbors, resulting in lower levels of political engagement and social cohesion in these communities. LEGaSI, whilst still in its infancy, has been extremely successful in building the capacity and confidence of many Protestant communities as well as being influential in building bridges with the Catholic community.

The LEGaSI team has created a variety of ‘islands’, that reflect the learning needs of the community. To date, islands on crowd funding, law and order, public speaking and the media have been hugely popular. Training empowers participants to become agents of change in their own communities. Participants have particularly welcomed the fact they have been able to talk directly to those organizations that make decisions in their communities, including police and the Parades Commission.

Co-operation Ireland is committed to peace-building on the island of Ireland and, with help from The Ireland Funds, continues to deliver innovative programs which challenge people’s thinking and attitudes.