Actually, an awful lot! Consistent approach to resilience as a systemic and dynamic process, a range of interventions in difficult conflict contexts, and steadily emerging evidence.
The mixed NGO, practice and academic participants gelled nicely, with colleagues increasingly combining roles and skills.
Some of the most important contributors globally were there, such as Mark Jordans from War Child in the Netherlands, Tasha Howe from US Humboldt State University, Sarah Hommel from Save the Children, and Jessica Deighton from the Anna Freud Centre just a few to mention – worth looking out for their work.
In the wider scheme of things, it seems a small achievement for our NGO FANET in Nakuru, but it is massive leap for them and of even more direct impact for the children.
A symbolic but hopefully good omen for the London conference on resilience-building in low-income countries on Thursday 12th January.
From so many special memories, today I will keep the generous welcome from the refugee children at the Syrian school in Istanbul.
Looking at the signed WACIT t-shirt while trying to make sense of the 6×6 and plan ahead, is very comforting. These were the key contacts and organisers, but they were so many more. And it is the anonymous staff and volunteers in the most adverse circumstances who deserve the praise.
So, while the WACIT t-shirts are having a good wash and rest, dear Hatice, Gura, Charles, Panagiotis, Mary, Joel, Norma, Kimmy, Amilton, Sandy and Niranjan, a huge THANKS and au revoir in 2017!
This was my third visit to Nakuru in Kenya and, as fate had it, R had to be the face of WACIT!
When I first met the children in a rural slum in April 2015, an older girl brought this 18-month-old toddler and put her in my lap. She did not move while all the other children introduced themselves. This picture somehow became symbolic of the first phase of WACIT. The visit also proved critical in trying out the training programme with a completely new group, including community leads and elders, that I had not connected with
before. And it seemed promising, giving me a lot of confidence.
When I went back in February this year, we had just tested the organisational strand of the model with regional managers in Nairobi, which seemed to take WACIT to the next level. At the time, R was almost 2.5 years, and more conscious, at least when her mum was not around.
We shared a few photos this third time around with R’s mum, almost at the end of the 6×6 programme. R was growing nicely, although she appeared more interested in her biscuits! It looked obvious that her and WACIT have been growing in parallel, I hope they do in years to come.
It was a pleasant surprise to see so many initiatives for street children in Africa and South America at the conference organised by Railway Children and Jukoni NGOs. A range of individual and family interventions have been developed and adapted for this most challenging group.
Pulling this together to test the WACIT model at the end was a telling opportunity to wrap up the last six weeks. Time to go back and think through the next steps. Thanks for your encouragement!
In each country, I asked participating children and young people to draw a topic important to them as contribution to the WACIT art train.
I was surprised that the boys in the Nakuru slum opted to draw political cartoons. Even more so, when I challenged them to tell me their meaning (or parabole, as they called it):
Here is society being torn by politicians (looked to me more like the British PM trying to deal with Brexit!); football players being exploited by agents and associations; and Kenya slowly mending their post colonial relationship with the UK.
There goes another myth that they have neither the interest nor the intellect to be involved and contribute to wider societal issues – it is opportunities that go begging instead.