The Public Health Agency launches new Primary school organ donation education resources


The Public Health Agency (PHA) is delighted to launch new primary school organ donation education resources aimed at introducing organ donation education at an early age.  With the educational curriculum in mind, the resources will provide Key Stage1 and 2 pupils with the information they need to find out more about the topic and to discuss it with family and friends.

Northern Ireland also becomes the first region in the UK to introduce 'Orgtober' to the school calendar for the month of October, leading the way in organ donation education and early awareness.  Orgtober is an innovative project initiated by the Orgamites, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency, Live Life Give Life, and Team Margot.  Orgamites is a global education programme that introduces organ donation to children in an age-appropriate way, and it was fitting therefore that new Primary school resources were launched today (18 October) during Orgtober.

A working group of teachers, chaired by the Public Health Agency, collaborated on the Orgamites resources to tailor them for pupils across Northern Ireland.  The group includes teachers, a Learning Support Assistant, and others with direct personal or family experience of organ donation and transplants.

This initiative was significantly inspired some years ago by Lucia Quinney Mee, a young multiple liver transplant recipient in Northern Ireland, whose passion for and commitment to organ donation awareness led her to begin a campaign, Live loudly Donate Proudly, and to raising the importance of organ donation education directly with the education minister and representatives from the Department of Health.  Lucia died in 2020 but would be thrilled to see these resources come to fruition.  

Lucia’s mum and sister were involved in the working group and her sister Alice commented:

"Lucia was passionate about organ donation conversations. She had complete faith in children’s abilities to learn about the topic and potentially save lives. She knew that these young people could be proud of making a real difference by finding their own voice."

Fellow working group member and P3 teacher, Kathryn Glover from Cedar Integrated Primary School in Crossgar said:

“We hope these new resources will help normalise organ donation conversations in Northern Ireland, both in schools, and between pupils and their parents.  Together with the Orgamites, the local working group, who all have first-hand experience of transplantation, worked hard to create regional, tailor-made resources that are fun, interactive and age appropriate for KS1 and KS2.  As a transplant recipient and teacher, I am delighted that these resources are now available to every school in Northern Ireland.’

A successful pilot of the resources was conducted this year in selected schools and was well received.  This approach helped ensure that the resources are easy to deliver within the educational curriculum, that children respond well to and gain from the learning, and that teachers have appropriate guidance in delivering the topic.

Aidan Dawson, Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency commented:

The Primary school Organ Donation Education Resources are an exciting development for the topic of organ donation and transplantation, which saves many lives each year.  We hope to see good uptake and participation with teachers and pupils, and that their adoption within schools will be a transformative endeavour that will inspire young minds, encourage family discussions, and sow the seeds of compassion and generosity that will benefit society for generations to come.”

Initiated by the Orgamites, the aim of Orgtober, together with these new primary school resources, is to enhance children's understanding of their incredible organs, stimulate family dialogue about organ donation and transplantation, and encourage the young people to consider how they feel about organ donation and what their decision might be.

Through a range of free, fun, and interactive educational toolkits, and other resources that pupils can take home, children will learn all about their organs, as well as why and how to take better care of their bodies, and why and how kindness really counts. Importantly, the Orgamites characters mean that pupils, and teachers, will have lots of fun while learning!

Roydon Turner, the founder of the Orgamites said:

"While Orgamites' toolkits have already earned a cherished place in the classrooms of thousands of students in Canada, Greece, and the UK, the launch of Orgtober is is a first for the UK and the perfect opportunity for Northern Ireland to launch the resources to lead the way in showing schools, organisations, and individuals how it's done. Together, we aspire to raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation that can help in more lives being saved.”

Primary 4 teacher Daniel Watson from Cedar Integrated Primary School in Crossgar, one of the schools involved in the pilot of the resources, welcomed the launch of the educational resources saying:

“It was a pleasure to be involved as a pilot school with my Primary 4 class.  The organ donation resources for KS1 were easy to use, age appropriate and stimulated lots discussion amongst pupils, who were responsive to the lesson content, videos, and activities.  Our parents were also supportive of the school introducing such an important topic.”

The Key Stage 1 and 2 resources can be downloaded at:


Notes to editors:

For additional information please contact Catherine McKeown, Organ Donation Promotion Manager on 07917 514485 or

  • Why engage with school children?

Starting early awareness conversations with children around organ donation is important. Research indicates that parents are more willing to engage in such conversations when initiated by their children. This captures a large audience that can significantly impact the organ donation landscape.

Children also tend to wait longer than adults for organs they urgently need, and many tragically die while waiting. By fostering open discussions about our remarkable organs, their health, and acts of kindness, we hope to encourage more families to talk about organ donation and share their choices with loved ones. The primary reason for declining donations is families not knowing their loved ones' wishes regarding organ donation. One conversation can change that, and Orgtober aims to facilitate these vital discussions.

  • What is Orgtober in a nutshell?

Orgtober is 'Organ Donation Education Month’– a month dedicated to promoting organ donation education among pupils, teachers, and families across the world (starting in Northern Ireland and Canada).

By highlighting the importance of organ donation and encouraging more people to talk to their loved ones and consider the topic of organ donation, it is hoped to create a worldwide movement that will impact generations to come.

  • Resources and more information

To access the Key Stage 1 and 2 resources, please visit

To learn more about the Orgamites, visit

  • Organ donation law change and background information
  • Organ donation law in Northern Ireland changed to an opt-out system on 1 June 2023
  • This means that all adults are considered to agree to donating their organs and tissue when they die, unless they have confirmed otherwise (generally via the NHS Organ Donor Register or by confirming with family), or are in an excluded group
  • Even though the law has changed, you can continue to opt in, opt out, or amend your decision at any time
  • Families will continue to be involved at all times before organ donation goes ahead
  • Whatever you decide, the best thing you can do is talk with your loved ones to give them the certainty they need to support your decision
  • Only half of families agree to donation if they don’t know their loved one’s decision, but this rises to 9 out of 10 if they know their loved one wanted to donate
  • Only 1% of people die in circumstances where donation is possible, therefore every donation is precious
  • Each year in Northern Ireland around 10-15 people die while awaiting a transplant
  • There are 155 people in NI on the waiting list (as at 10 September)
  • Over 1 million people (1,026,294) or 54%, have registered to be a donor on the Organ Donor Register (as at 10 September)
  • 20,821 people have registered to opt-out (as at 10 September)