Monday, 06 Oct 2014

Conference time again!

JUCONI is in overdrive preparing for our 3rd International Conference – For a world without violence – which is only a month away – agghh!

We are at the anxious stage of waiting for registrations to roll in. We are hoping for 350 participants this year, but in Mexico we typically leave everything until the last minute so at this stage we´ve no idea whether or not we´ll reach that goal! We want to focus specifically on CSOs working with the hardest to reach children and families. It is by focusing on our very needy and resource-starved sector that we have been able to convince well-known therapists and researchers to donate their time to the conference.

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It was recognising the difficulties many organisations face in accessing ideas and particularly in finding out about appropriate therapeutic methodologies and tools that prompted us to organise the first conference in 2010. Yes, there are many books and journals available and internet makes access much easier, but making the leap from reading something on a page/screen and trying it out in practice is a big one and not at all easy. This led us to one of the guiding principles of the conference – it is practice based, focusing on the “how?”, (e.g. how do we help an angry, disaffected 13-year-old whose experiences to date have shown that no one really cares, to be able to start trusting us?). Workshops therefore form the heart of the conference and presenters are asked to give participants an experience of a method, technique or tool so that they can get a good idea of whether it is something that they could use in their own work.

How do we help an angry, disaffected 13-year-old whose experiences to date have shown that no one really cares, to be able to start trusting us?”

It cannot be denied that the majority of the presenters at our conference will be from “the North”. All the presenters are chosen because they are renowned for a therapeutic method, technique or tool that they have developed for working with marginalised children and families with complex problems and many have experience of working outside of Europe and the USA, but there is no getting away from the fact that it has been easier to identify practitioners with this profile from “the North” than from “the South”.

This is probably down to all the usual issues of inequity, but it may also be because our focus is on therapeutic methods which I suspect – without hard and fast evidence to prove it – have a longer history and are more widely used in “the North”. Even though social service budgets for working with the poorest most disadvantaged children and families in “the North” have been slashed in recent years, in general, they still have a much longer and better resourced history of providing specialised educational-therapeutic services than we have in “the South.”

Over the years, JUCONI has been extremely fortunate to be able to rely on the on-going support of a number of extraordinary therapists and this has helped our development enormously. We hope that the conference will provide participants with the chance to build such mentoring relationships between CSOs and with presenters and indeed, we have evidence of this happening.

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You can see profiles of all the conference presenters on our website here and we have interviews with many of our 2012 conference presenters available on our Resource Centre here.

We are thrilled this year to have representatives from six members of Family attending: Butterflies, India; Challenging Heights, Ghana; ChildLinK, Guyana; Hope Village Society, Egypt; Undugu Society of Kenya and Uyisenga Ni Imanzi, Rwanda.

A warm welcome to everyone and we will keep you up-dated on the Conference website.

Post info: Member: Juconi