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Alumni Associations

ICOS, in conjunction with Irish Embassies/Missions in key partner countries, aims to support efforts to form and develop alumni organisations that bring together former Irish Aid supported fellows. Steps have been taken in several countries toward establishing groups, with efforts most developed in Uganda, Lesotho, Tanzania, South Africa and Vietnam.

The guide below is intended as a starting point for alumni seeking to build a local chapter.

Please contact us via if you would like to work with others to build an alumni group in your country.

Procedures for setting up an Alumni Association

1. Roles

1.1 Role of Former Study Fellows

  • Commitment by key individuals to lead and establish alumni network at country level
  • Willingness to participate in local structures.
  • Communication to ICOS and Irish Aid to outline plans for the year and reports on local activity and lessons learned to support development of other country chapters.
  • Active use of web pages / Irish Aid Fellowship Alumni Facebook Group to communicate local news and events.

1.2 Role of Embassies

  • Coordinate an annual alumni reception.
  • Possible attendance at alumni activities.
  • Logistical support such as provision of meeting room(s).
  • Approved expenditure to be processed by the Embassy from the fellowship other budget line, as is the case with in region expenditure.

1.3 Roles of ICOS

  • Promotion of the alumni from the beginning of the fellows’ involvement with Irish Aid Fellowships. The benefits of membership will be clearly articulated and reinforced at every available opportunity from pre-departure to final return.
  • Establishing and maintenance of central alumni contact database.
  • Development and maintenance of online Alumni webpages and resources (Facebook, LinkedIn).
  • Research and provision of guidance and tools to aid local chapter development such as a chapter manual with suggested organisational structure and lessons and ideas from successful initiatives. (reference 3.3 and 3.4 below).
  • Liaison with chapters and gathering up to date info on local activity.

2. Getting Started

2.1 Get in touch with ICOS. ICOS will help you to make contact, via group email, with other former Study Fellows (SFs), who are interested in forming an alumni network via the Irish Aid Alumni network database.
2.2 Promote development of the alumni to other former Study Fellows, whom you know, through word of mouth.
2.3 Set a time and date for an initial alumni planning meeting to take place in your Irish Embassy, following consultation with Embassy staff.

3. Structures

3.1 Establish an Executive Alumni Committee with members who are willing to provide voluntary leadership. Suggested roles include Chairperson, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

  • The Chairperson will be the key contact person for the alumni network. S/he will; manage executive committee; chair meetings; oversee development of alumni network, ensure that all relevant documentation including annual work plans and reports are submitted to ICOS.
  • Vice Chair will work closely with the Chairperson on various tasks.
  • Secretary will be in charge of publicising events, recording and documenting minutes from meetings and communicating them to members and maintain an up-to-date members contact information list.
  • Treasurer will oversee financial issues and document all financial records.

3.2 It may be beneficial if other volunteers are assigned roles e.g. help with maintaining members list, taking minutes and providing help with planning events.
3.3 Make your Alumni organisation an official and legal entity by formally registering it. Contact your Irish Embassy for further information on registration.
3.4 Documentation: (i.e. constitution/mission statement/work plan/annual reports. It may be useful if templates are placed on alumni webpages).
3.5 Annual General Meeting (AGM).

4. Financing

4.1 Seed Financing: A small budget (c €2,000) will be set aside to support local alumni chapter formation. In the start up phase of chapter development it is anticipated that local alumni will need support for initial get-together/planning meetings and funds to cover legal establishment costs. Requests for funding will be processed by Embassies with copy to ICOS.
4.2 Activity Financing: When chapters are up and running, it is anticipated that they will hold 2-3 events annually for which they may need support (budget c €1,000 per annum). At least one of these events should be an educational activity on a relevant development theme. Irish Aid alumni should be the principal organisers of the event or initiative although other alumni/sponsors may be involved. The initiative must be of direct relevance to alumni association development. Stand alone social events will not be considered for funding support. It is expected that alumni themselves will contribute a minimum of 25% to the costs of any event. Applications for funding support should be submitted to the Embassy at least 2 months in advance of any activity.

5. Activities

5.1 An Annual General Meeting will take place.
5.2 An annual reception will be hosted by the Embassy of Ireland.
5.3 The alumni chapter will organise 3 activities each year.
5.4 Members of the alumni chapter may be invited from time to time by the Embassy in country to speak at meetings on the work of Irish Aid and their experiences of fellowships.

6. Communication

6.1 Monitor any relevant developments in your former university department in Ireland which may be of significance to the Alumni Organisation.
6.2 At least 3 yearly chapter events should take place; these can be advertised via the alumni network database and website .
6.3 Document all activity including photographing chapter events and send regular updates, including photos, to ICOS who will seek to maintain up-to-date Alumni web resources.
6.4 Questions? Comments? Please contact ICOS.