Building with Bamboo at the ‘Pathways to Resilience’ conference in South Africa

I was one of the presenters at the ‘Pathways to Resilience’ conference, which was held in Cape Town in South Africa from the 14th to the 17th June 2017. Our ‘Resilience dream team’ included: Sian Wynne, the Resilience Project Manager; Sarah Thomas de Benitez, former CEO of the Consortium for Street Children and co-founder of JUCONI; and Helen Veitch, a researcher working with Oak Foundation. I arrived in Cape Town on the 11th June, so we had two days to prepare for our presentation. It was very cold for me because it was my first time experiencing winter!

pathways to resilience

Our Participation at the Pathways to Resilience Conference

To give a good presentation, you need time to plan for your presentation, evidence to support your report, and case studies or success stories of what you want to present in front of the audience.The topic of my presentation at the Pathways to Resilience Conference was “addressing the challenges and opportunities of developing resilience-informed practice in partnership with street-living children in Jinja, Uganda”. I am a Ugandan by birth but my name was printed on the conference program as ‘Alfred Ochaya from the United Kingdom’. I was pleased when I saw my name printed this way because even though it was an error, I wanted to surprise people when they saw what I looked like.


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Helen Veitch, a researcher from the Oak Foundation, speaks about the Bamboo research project, which formed the foundation for Building with Bamboo.


We prepared a wonderful presentation, but on the day of our presentation we forgot to bring the laptop adapter for the computer that had our presentation on it. We had some power saved on the computer but we weren’t sure if it would be enough. We couldn’t go back to get the adapter because it was too far, and we looked for an alternative adapter but we couldn’t find one.

Now the people attending our session were arriving. These included professors, university researchers in resilience and practitioners working with different organisations.


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Resilience Project Manager Sian explains the background to the project.


Sarah chaired the presentation and we started. Helen gave her presentation and we still had some power in the laptop. Sian gave her presentation and we still had some power in the laptop. Finally, I conducted my presentation and we still had some power in the laptop! We were so grateful that we managed to present everything we had prepared, and we even had time for the people who attended our session to ask some questions.

Lots of the attendees appreciated the way we were exploring resilience, looking at local understandings of resilience and breaking it down into a simple language for people to understand. They were really impressed with our presentation and learnt a lot from it. They sent their gratitude to the implementing organisation S.A.L.V.E International in Uganda and to Oak Foundation for funding this project. We anticipate seeing better outcomes for the street-connected children as a result of this project.

Alfred Ochaya

Before becoming Resilience Champion full time, Alfred was the Street Outreach and Drop-In Centre Manager at SALVE. He is a qualified social worker, and volunteers in his spare time for the Red Cross doing a variety of health training, including sexual health, for young people in the community. Alfred is a Street Invest global trainer with many years experience in hands-on street work and leading teams.

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