“Listening and Speaking to Connect
– an introduction to Nonviolent Communication ℠ (NVC)” with students
The PIASS Peace Club in collaboration with CRASPD and support from a group of German psychotherapists conducted an introductory workshop “Listening and Speaking to Connect – an introduction to Nonviolent Communication ℠ (NVC)” developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (more at http://www.cnvc.org). The initiative came from Dismas, one of our final-year students, who regularly participates in our NVC practice group and even raised the funds to conduct the workshop. The first two days of the workshop were facilitated by Floriane, Anne, Dismas and Linda on November 24-25. Linda is an NVC participant (she attended Restorative Dialogue training and co-facilitated the introduction with A Peace of Life in Kigali last year, and practice group).
With 15 participants, we explored ways to listen and to speak that support trustful and mutually supportive relationships in our life, studies and workplaces, especially when we have conflicts and misunderstandings. It was a challenge and pleasure to devise variations of short presentations, sharing of experiences, work in pairs and groups and practical exercises that are compatible with the necessary COVID-19 security measures. The team is observing developments on new COVID rules to see whether the third day can take place in January 2021.
NVC Practice Group at PIASS
In our meeting in August, we tried to develop our vocabulary of feelings—especially in Kinyarwanda. In September, the focus topic was: “What do we do when someone does not want to open his/her heart?” We looked at various situations where this happens, and we found that, sometimes, it may not be the right situation for someone to share what is alive in her/ him, because s/he might be scared, frustrated, angry or have other strong feelings that block compassion and even the ability to receive empathy. We learned that it is not our goal to fix people. Rather, when empathizing with someone, we listen to their feelings and needs while providing necessary space. When they feel really heard, they may open up. This may take some time and require “natural” language, that is, language that does not convey to the person that s/he is being diagnosed or therapized
In June, the Nonviolent Communication practice group at PIASS worked on the question of how to deal with dishonesty. With practical examples from every-day life, we found out that telling lies or half-truths is caused by our needs—the basis of our motivation for anything we do in our lives. This is not to justify lying. Rather, we realized that there is a human need behind every human behavior, even if it is something we consider immoral. If we enter into a fight or break our relationship with someone who lied to us, our relationship with this person will worsen or even break. The other option is to try to understand why s/he felt the need to lie so that we can restore the relationship with the person: after listening to the person’s feelings and needs, we can then express our own confusion or sadness about what happened (the ‘lie’) and our desire for honesty.
For the session in July, one of the regular participants had asked to speak about personality types as they are categorized by psychologists. Having two trained psychological professionals in the group, we quickly realized that these labels may be helpful for mental health workers who need to perform a diagnoses before they offer treatment to patients. However, these labels can also create obstacles to human connection. For example, if we label someone in a specific way, our understanding of a person’s situation would be limited by the characteristics that are ascribed by the label. Coincidentally, the weekly reflection by CNVC certified trainer Mary Mackenzie offered helpful advice on this issue with an excerpt from her book Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing, and Compassion :
We don’t need to fix other people! When empathizing with someone, we listen for their feelings and needs and don’t try to fix their problem for them. The very process of giving someone space to talk about their issue without our judgment, to be truly understood by us, and to be deeply heard is very healing, enough so that most people will organically find their own creative ways to resolve their issues. Rely on this process and you will lose all desire to fix people’s problems. Instead, you will learn to trust their ability to resolve their issues. All it takes is your presence and your desire to hear their feelings and needs. Amazing! (INSERT PAGE NUMBER WHERE THE QUOTE IS FOUND).
Please share this reflection with your friends and family. They may sign up to receive their own weekly reflections at the following Stay In Touch page (http://nvctraining.com/registration/signup/newsletters/?utm_source=weekly.reflections&utm_medium=email&utm_content=image&utm_campaign=MM.weekly.reflections.19.07.13). Copyright ©2016 NVC Academy, LLC, All rights reserved
Introduction to NVC-Mediation at A Peace of Live (APoL) Youth Peace Camp in Kigali on August 1, 2019
One of the students in our Department of Peace and Conflict Studies BA Program is active in the local youth organization “A Peace of Life” www.apeaceoflife.com, which has held annual regional youth peace camps for the past ten years. This year, they invited a team from PIASS to introduce the role that communication can play in mediation. Using a sketch and several practical exercises and inputs, the team introduced nonviolent communication. In particular, the team explained how nonviolent communication can be used for effective mediation between parties in conflict. After the session, the participants from different countries and age groups expressed their appreciation for having learned an approach to conflict that can help prevent violence and restore good relationships.
Second part of NVC-introduction with volunteers of Never Again Rwanda August 24, 2019
One of the students in our Department of Peace and Conflict Studies BA Program is working as a volunteer in our partner organization “Never Again Rwanda (NAR)” (www.neveragain.org). He took up the desire of different of his fellow volunteers to have an introduction to Nonviolent Communication (NVC). In a team with two CRASPD staff, we held a one day introductory on NVC in March with those volunteers, and in August, we continued with a second day where we discussed the key distinctions between observation and interpretation, feeling and thought, need and strategy and request and demand. We also worked on the option of connecting with someone who gives us a tough/violent message by empathically listening to him/her.
Five approaches that integrate psychosocial support and peacebuilding were presented in the conference. Practical sessions were done on each of the approaches to allow participants in the conference—who had a chance to choose two practical sessions maximum—to receive insight on how the approaches they selected could look like in practice.
After sharing experiences from the practice sessions and plenary discussions, the panelists wrote and presented a public statement, upon approval of the participants, to raise public awareness about the importance of healing mental wounds after large scale violence so that a peaceful future becomes achievable for the communities where this happened.
Healing Wounds Of Violence Needs The Whole Community
Caring for mental wounds to help communities after large scale violence. Statement of the Healing for Peace Conference, held at PIASS in Huye, October 27-29, 2019, with support from GIZ Civil Peace Service
Suffering from mental wounds after large-scale violence is a reality in many communities of the region, that affects all dimensions of the community, starting from the family. Healing and peacebuilding are interconnected and interdependent. Each of them are essential and together contribute powerfully to the overall healing of communities. Healing involves the “whole” community. Overcoming stigma towards people with mental wounds and listening to their pain and needs are prerequisites for the healing of the community.
In line with the Ubuntu [I am because you are] concept, and the Rwandan proverb “Kubaho ni ukubana” [to be is to live with others], we believe that it is important that, after large-scale violence, community members support each other.
The Healing for Peace Conference wants to raise awareness on the importance of integrating psychosocial support and healing into peacebuilding programs. Networking, joint efforts and collaboration of practitioners in psychosocial support and peacebuilding are vital because peace requires efforts from all. Young people also have the potential to help their peers to overcome transgenerational trauma and, if they are involved more, they have a lot to offer.
In the conference, five approaches integrating psychosocial support and peacebuilding have been presented and practiced briefly to give an insight of what they are about and how they work:
- Counselling with Association Rwandaise des Conseillers en Traumatisme (ARCT – Ruhuka) email@example.com; http://www.arctruhuka.org
- Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) by the HROC Center/ Musanze, firstname.lastname@example.org; https://healingandrebuildingourcommunities.org
- EMPOWER by Christian Action for Reconciliation and Social Assistance (CARSA), email@example.com; https://www.carsaministry.org
- Amataba/ Right Inner Power by Association Modeste et Innocent (AMI), firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.ami-ubuntu.net
- Restorative Dialogue by a restorative circles facilitator from Thriving Together. Restorative Circles, Restorative Dialogue (international program, started by trainers of Nonviolent Communication); http://www.restorativecircles.org; http://www.togetherwethrive.world
One of the major insights from this conference was that “healing starts with me”. Listening to those in pain after large-scale violence can be done by any community member and contributes to healing hearts and restoring communities.
For further information, please, contact the Center for Research & Action towards Sustainable Peace & Development (CRASPD) at PIASS, Huye, Rwanda, (0)783 347 955 / (0)788 351 234 / (0) 789 286 839/ (0)789 408 720, Email: email@example.com, website: https://craspd.com
The report of the conference can be downloaded here: REPORT_H4P_fin_conference_X_2019
The contributions of AMI, ARCT, CARSA, HROC and Restorative Dialogue can be downloaded here:
Nonviolent Communication (NVC- http://www.cnvc.og)
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, CRASPD, in cooperation with the PIASS Peace Club, showed the film “SWEET DREAMS” telling the amazing story of women who mustered courage and creativity to combine their journey of reconciliation with innovative entrepreneurship. A great audience split into groups using creative methods to show the main ideas of the film by drawings and drama, as well as narration. Funds were collected to support the continuation of the work of the women’s cooperative. WomensDayFilmScreening