Action Amplified: The ORICE Annual Symposium on Global Community Engagement

Thursday October 19, 2023
5:00 PM - 9:30 PM

About Action Amplified

The ORICE Annual Symposium on Global Community Engagement will take place on Thursday, October 19th, 2023, offering the UBC and wider Vancouver community the opportunity to come together in learning and dialogue. Our theme, “Action Amplified” aims to critically explore questions, conversations, decisions, and actions related to social, ecological and economic challenges impacting our everyday lives, locally and globally. 

Join us to hear from individuals and groups who are tackling complex issues from various levels and in many different ways.  We hope this dialogue will prompt questions, spark connections and initiate conversations that lead to more sustainable and just community engagement and collective action.

Join us for:

  • Keynote presentation: “How to Build a Movement”.  In this talk, Ash Peplow Ball, Executive Director of Women Transforming Cities, will share her experience and passion about climate action, democratic participation and movement building that’s rooted in decolonization.  
  • Concurrent presentations:  In these sessions,  current students and ORICE program participants, will share their learnings from community based research or learning programs that they participated in during the summer of 2023.  These sessions will explore exploring the symposium theme- “Action Amplified”- considering the multifaceted nature of complex community issues, organizational approaches and the presenters own positionality within community engagement
  • A closing reception: Cap off the evening with refreshments and snacks, while mingling and continuing discussions with presenters and fellow attendees.



Action Amplified will take place on Thursday, October 19th, 2023 at the UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues and the UBC C.K. Choi Building

5:00 - 5:15 pmRegistration OpenLiu Institute Lobby
5:15 - 6:30 pmSymposium Welcome & Opening Keynote Liu Institute
6:30 - 6:45 pmBreakLiu Institute & C.K. Choi
6:45 - 7:30 pmConcurrent session #1Liu Institute & C.K. Choi
7:40 - 8:25 pmConcurrent session #2 Liu Institute & C.K. Choi
8:30 - 9:30 pmClosing Mix & MingleLiu Institute

Keynote Speaker: Ash Peplow Ball (She/Her)

How to build a movement?

A lot of the challenges we are collectively experiencing today can feel overwhelming, and opportunities to create change can be hard to find. Through the story of a 200-year-old tree, Ash will highlight how to identify your strengths as a changemaker, cultivate active hope, and get involved in the everyday movement building that just might be happening on your own street!

Ash Peplow Ball (she/her) is a community organizer who loves to help people find their voice and power, and build the skills to participate in democratic processes. This passion has taken Ash to work in Uganda, Mexico, Nepal and Cambodia; working for non-profits as a campaigner and as an adviser to government Ministers. 

Ash now calls the Kootenays home, where she gets to bring together her passion for climate action, democratic participation and movement building that’s rooted in decolonization in her role as the Executive Director of Women Transforming Cities. 

Concurrent Sessions Description 

Session 1a: 6:45 - 7:30 pm (Choi 120)
Presented by Lucas Mehling, Kabir Fardin, Shyla Gheek, Vera Huang

Sub-Saharan Africa has reported slow but steady economic growth over the last number of decades. Despite this, there are concerns that rural areas are being left behind and are not seeing the benefits of modernization enjoyed in urban centres. Rural poverty is widespread, and many residents lack access to critical infrastructure such as electricity and running water. AFRIpads, a Ugandan social enterprise, seeks to change this by investing in rural employment through their reusable sanitary pads factory in the village of Kitengesa. Our study examined five-year trends in the surrounding village’s socio-economic conditions and found significant gains in overall wealth, access to financial resources, gender equality, and more. These improvements occurred despite immense challenges suffered from COVID-19 and lockdowns. We suggest that investment in rural development and employment has the potential to uplift entire communities. We will present a story of growth and resilience, our learnings around this, and what it means for our understanding of development.

Session 1b: 6:45 - 7:30 pm (Seminar Room 121 @ Liu Institute)
Presented by Andro Abaya, Emma DeSouza, Alicia Leong, Joshua James

Kenya is a wealthy country in terms of financial resources and human capital. However, socio-economic disparities are ever present in the country, and the average Kenyan does not benefit equally from the country’s resources. Additionally, the impacts of colonization, “international aid,” and capitalism have contributed to top-down power structures in social services/programming across the country – resulting in unequal access to important community services, many of which we take for granted here in Canada. During their time in Kenya, UBC ORICE Social Work students saw first-hand how organizations such as Basic Needs Basic Rights, Greenstring Network, and RefugePoint are working to reverse these trends to empower local communities. A recurrent theme for all of these organizations was the crucial need to empower individuals and communities from a grassroots level to establish and increase agency over their own mental health. Our presentation will highlight some of the innovative strategies being used in Kenya to leverage the resources and strengths of communities to support sustainable well-being. Many of these strategies can be applied in a Canadian context; although our countries are different, many of the challenges faced by people with mental illness are universal.

Session 1c: 6:45 - 7:30 pm (Choi 351)
Presented by Nippun Arora, Helena Baik, David Chen, Valarmathi Vishnu

In this presentation, we navigate the intricate web of Uganda's healthcare landscape, with a primary focus on Tekera Health Centre. We delve into the economic underpinnings of healthcare delivery, shedding light on the formidable challenges confronting private, not-for-profit (PNFP) entities like Tekera. These organizations operate in a socio-political climate where economic development and self-sustainability are paramount. One of our primary areas of exploration revolves around the arduous task of providing affordable healthcare services. Within a context where sustainable funding is not always guaranteed, non-profits, including Tekera, face unique difficulties. We also explore the intriguing genesis of social service organizations like Tekera, often born from the goodwill of international donors seeking to make a meaningful impact. Yet, we illuminate how this charitable model can be precarious, leading to significant disparities in the healthcare sector between non-profit/private and public service providers. Our journey unfolds by examining the realm of maternal health, an area of critical concern. We scrutinize the status of birthing facilities and the testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS, particularly among vulnerable groups like mothers and children. Throughout the presentation, we integrate our experiences from a close examination of Uganda's healthcare system, emphasizing Tekera's aspirations to enhance its existing healthcare center by expanding maternal and birthing services. We also evaluate how strategies grounded in asset-based community development empower PNFPs to engage their communities and secure the vital resources necessary for impactful outreach.

Session 1c: 6:45 - 7:30 pm (Liu Institute 316)
Presented by Gaylean Davies and Krystal Go

Housed under UBC ORICE, the Gender+ in Research Collective works to build a community for rich dialogue in which gender and other identity intersections, including race, class, sexuality, and ability, are considered when conducting community-engaged research. Join us for this discussion session about the Gender+ in Research Collective as we speak to what gender+, intersectionality, and positionality mean and their importance to research and everyday life. How do our identities shape our experiences? Do the intersections of our identities affect how research is conducted? If so, how? Why does this matter to our everyday lives?

Session 2a: 7:40 - 8:25 pm (Choi 120)
Presented by Adeline Chartol and Jesse DeCoste

Historically, international development strategies have been rooted in paternalistic, ‘top-down’ approaches to poverty reduction. These models highlight ‘deficits' in communities and ignore the myriad ways that they build and sustain wealth: through social connections, mutual aid, and deep-rooted knowledge systems. Asset-based development seeks to use these skills and this knowledge to build capacity within the community and create sustainable programs for change. Our summer was spent with Alternative Livelihoods for Pastoralist Communities, a home-grown community based organization composed of professionals from Wajir, Kenya. Most of the members involved in the organization come from livestock herder families in a small town called Bute near the Kenya/Ethiopia border. This presentation will outline the ownership and structure of the ALPC to demonstrate its asset-based community development approach. It will then provide an overview of the organization’s programming. Specifically, we will highlight a health insurance program that our project supported. Finally, we will outline the development of a program evaluation methodology that was co-created reciprocally with the ALPC, and how we hope to see the project continue in the future. During our placement, we learned a lot about sustained, mutually beneficial relationships in international development, which we will reflect on at the end of our presentation.

Session 2b: 7:40 - 8:25 pm (Seminar Room 121 @ Liu Institute)
Presented by Christie Bernados, Kristine Harrison (Kay), Sajedeh Zaki, Wande Abimbola

According to Babu Ayindo from Greenstrings network, “the hospital is a microcosm of society”. In a society that is still healing from the trauma of colonization, this quote demonstrates how its legacy can manifest in society in a myriad of ways. For example, in institutions such as hospitals, education, government, religion, family, etc. Canada and Kenya share a history of colonization, with forcible and violent suppression of traditional indigenous practices (e.g. Indian residential schools, potlatch ban, Kenyan anti-witchcraft legislation). Suppression of indigenous practices continues today with an emphasis on the Western biomedical model to treat mental health. While in Kenya, UBC ORICE Social Work students sought out different modes of approaching mental health care in a non-western context which we could apply here. We saw examples of both traditional and modern approaches to mental health. Both approaches have the potential to help and harm; therefore a hybrid to amplify the benefits of both are a promising way forward. This is demonstrated by the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing, "learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing and from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing and to using both of these eyes together” (Bartlett, Marshall, & Marshall, 2012, p. 335). In this presentation, we will use storytelling as a decolonized approach to sharing our insights in Kenya.

Session 2c: 7:40 - 8:25 pm (Choi 351)
Presented by Siena Serikawa, Tyler Stevenson, Julia Bricio

In Uganda, as in many other regions of the world, the HIV epidemic continues to pose significant challenges, particularly amongst adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).  AGYW face a disproportionate burden of HIV infection and experience the highest incidence rates of transmission, affecting them socially and economically. The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) Uganda, is taking action to address this critical issue, in part, through targeted sustainable livelihood programming (SLP).  This presentation will share some of our learning and experiences working alongside TASO on a report that highlights the multifaceted dimensions of this approach and assessment while they investigate if SLPs are an effective preventative measure. We will delve into topics of intersectionality, vulnerability factors, community engagement, policy, and advocacy.