The Giancarlo Ramaioli Scholarship Fund - MA in Social Justice and Public Policy

Activelink grew out of a project that Giancarlo Ramaioli began in 1999. Over time, Giancarlo, together with Hyperlink, built Activelink into a leading online resource for the community and voluntary sector.  Giancarlo passed away in 2009. Activelink continues to grow guided by Giancarlo’s vision and we have now established a biennial scholarship fund in his memory.

The Giancarlo Ramaioli Scholarship Fund 2023-2025

The Fund established a relationship with Social Justice Ireland and the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) whereby it would finance two scholarships on their MA in Social Justice and Public Policy programme. Each scholarship is worth €10,000, which covers WIT's fees and gives the scholar a stipend to cover their basic expenses.

The MA in Social Justice and Public Policy is a two year part-time programme, taught from Dublin, which gives students a unique opportunity to develop a theoretical framework and the deep capacity for analysis, understanding, knowledge, skills and practices needed to engage meaningfully in social change towards a more just and inclusive society focusing particularly on influencing public policy.

All applications were evaluated by Social Justice Ireland, who were responsible for selecting the winning candidates.

The successful candidates for 2023-2025:

Rachael Falconer

Rachael Falconer
Rachael Falconer

Rachael graduated from the Applied Social Studies in Social Care degree programme in Waterford Institute of Technology in 2011 and spent the next several years working in a variety of services for people experiencing homelessness. During this time she supported individuals and families who presented with complex needs in a mix of residential and community based services. This work involved engaging with people experiencing poor mental health, addiction, disability, domestic violence and other difficulties which often made their experiences of homelessness more entrenched. This led her to become passionate about helping people to access supports within their own communities.

Following this, Rachael spent almost five years working in the area of child protection and welfare which proved to be a very rewarding yet challenging sector, often meeting children and their families at the most difficult periods in their lives.

In 2022 Rachael began working in HIQA, the independent statutory body established to promote safety and quality in the provision of health and social care services. This broader view across the health and social care sector in Ireland provided her with a new perspective on social justice and our strive towards promoting people's human rights.

Heather McKenna

Heather McKenna
Heather McKenna

Heather has spent the previous 13 years working with children and families. Starting off with The Salvation Army supporting homeless teenagers, moving on to a Family Support role with Tusla, then working in the Domestic Violence Sector since 2017. Here Heather developed a domestic violence service for children in crisis and focused strongly on community based partnerships to meet the complex and very serious needs of children and adults experiencing domestic violence.

Having recently joined the public sector, Heather now supports Irish organisations and charities in their goals of responding to domestic violence in Ireland.

Heather is passionate about developing support services that reflect the varied needs of those who use the services and as such is a strong advocate for hearing the voice and needs of those who experience Domestic, Sexual, Gender Based Violence in Ireland.

Previously successful candidates were Faye Hayden and Barry Murphy