About Paul O’Raw

Community Development Work – Career & Influences

I have over 25 years’ experience in community development: working with organisations, supporting them to identify their key challenges and to prepare strategic plans.  As an independent trainer and facilitator, I develop training programmes and facilitate workshops on behalf of local development companies, local authorities, agencies and independent  organisations involved in the community and voluntary sector.

Prior to working freelance I was employed as a community development officer with a number of organisations.

rural planning and development


I was the Community Development Coordinator with South Kerry Development Partnership for 14 years. This role focussed on  addressing social exclusion through building community organisations and networks, in close cooperation with various agencies.

urban planning


I supported the development of community projects in Local Authority Housing Estates in Dublin for over 10 years (Loughlinstown and North Clondalkin). I developed and coordinated schemes and projects that assisted the long-term unemployed develop skills and confidence, while also providing valuable services to the local communities.

overseas development

Overseas Development

As an Overseas Development Volunteer I supported the establishment and development of a rural credit union in an isolated community in Ecuador, South America. This enabled local people to avail of affordable loans for agriculture, small business, health and education.

Training & Development

training and development
  • Facilitation skills training with Partners Training for Transformation
  • Facilitation skills training with Meitheal Training,
  • FETAC 6 Train The Trainer
  • NUI Maynooth; Diploma in Continuing Education and BA (Hons 1st) in Community Studies
  • Certificate in Mediation Skills and member of Mediators Institute of Ireland
  • Orientation progamme in overseas development work – Viatores Christi
  • Certificate in Development Studies – Development Studies Centre
  • Lego Serious Play Certified Facilitator
  • Member International Association of Facilitators.


  • Facilitating teams, groups and communities to learn, to reflect, to  plan, and to grow,
  • Use of creative methods to ensure training is enjoyable and effective,
  • Experiential learning; drawing on the experience of the group,
  • Group work that facilitates the participation and contribution of all,
  • Facilitating consensus and ownership of outcomes,
  • Promoting inclusive and sustainable communities.
Pinewood Resident’s Association

Feasibility study for recreation area development with Pinewood Residents Association, Killarney

The four pillars underpinning this approach

Task and Process

Task and Process

Two key elements of healthy organisations are task and process. Like the wheels of the bike where the front wheel represents the task and the rear wheel represents the operating procedures. A balance is required.
Groups and Organisations under the Surface

Groups and Organisations under the Surface

A lot of the dynamics within an organisation are hidden beneath the surface and have a considerable influence on the life and workings of the organisation. Understanding the inner workings can assist in moving forward.
Groups and Organisations under the Surface

The Learning Cycle

Creating moments to reflect and to learn from experience, and to make new plans, thus helping to become a learning organisation.
Groups and Organisations under the Surface

A Creative Space

The fifth province in ancient Ireland, Mide, was a place where the tribes would come together to discuss, to resolve, and to celebrate. Taking facilitated time out provides organisations with a chance to think, to refresh, to re-build and to plan ahead.

What Clients Are Saying

”Paul is a terrific host. He gets the team working together and thinking not only as individuals but as a group also … He has opened up the dialogue for the team…’’ 

- Childcare Team, Killorglin Family Resource Centre.

What Clients Are Saying

"A huge thank you to Mr Paul O’Raw and Dr Brendan O’Keeffe for their immense contribution, professionalism, patience, and approachable manner, which made this process a thoroughly enjoyable experience (chairman Asdee Community Development Association).’’"

- Preparing a Strategic Development Plan for Asdee, North Kerry

What Clients Are Saying

"At times this was a difficult project and required perseverance and going the extra mile, and Paul always put the shoulder to the wheel to see the plan the through. The plan is now completed and published in the community, and now forms the foundations of a new Community Forum formed in conjunction with semi-states bodies to address local issues.

I would highly recommend Paul O Raw to you as person who has experience and the talents to take similar projects from inception to completion."

- Joe Whelan, Chairman Askeaton Community Council, Summer 2020

What Clients Are Saying

"The facilitation, workshop design and data collected has provided considerable understanding of community need and action focus into the next 5-10 year period. Ballyhoura Development are very satisfied that this will lead to positive change for all the communities involved and commend Paul and his team for their commitment and understanding of the process, challenges and outputs."

- Amanda Slattery,  Development Manager, Ballyhoura Development CLG

What Clients Are Saying

"Excellent and well run workshop. Very concise and user-friendly language. Nice and calm, lots of learning points in a great manner. Very effective, not rushed, made sure everyone was included. Very good interaction with the group."

- Committee Effectiveness Training, HSE Mental Health Services, Mullingar

What Clients Are Saying

"Paul was a pleasure to work with. He brought great clarity and focus to the group. With Paul facilitating we achieved more in one day than we had previously done in two months. I would highly recommend Paul."

- Louth Next Chapter Women’s Project, Review and Planning Day


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