AVP Basic Level Workshop in May 2019
CRASPD held an AVP Basic workshop on May 17 to 19, 2019 with 18 participants, most of them members of the PIASS Red Cross Club and students of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. For two of the Learning Facilitators in the team, Linda and Pascaline from DRC, this was their first time to facilitate in practice. One of the outstanding topics of this workshop became the concept of nonviolence, its advantages and limits to resolve contentious issues in-and-between communities. It was pointed out that nonviolence does not mean to remain passive, but to take action to resist violence in all its forms, including injustice, when we get aware of it. In exercises and role plays, participants had a chance to work on ways to affirm the good and compassionate traits we all have within ourselves, to work on ways to communicate constructively in conflict, to work together to include everyone in the community during challenging times, and to resolve conflict in nonviolent ways.
A question arose about the suffering that nonviolent action may cause unintentionally: if we undertake a nonviolent action, for example blocking a railroad to prevent an arms’ transport to proceed, and passengers of a civilian train are involved in an accident because of that, can we then still say that this is a nonviolent action? Many participated in this exciting debate, and there was no final agreement on the answer; it was found that the intention to change a situation with nonviolent means should not be put in question as something violent may happen that we have no control over – yet, all efforts need to be undertaken by nonviolent activists to explore possible harm that could happen, and to try to support people suffering from harm as a consequence of their action to overcome this situation.
We will be inviting those who completed the AVP Basic Workshop in January, May or earlier, for an AVP Advanced Level Workshop planned for June 24-26. In an AVP Advanced Level Workshop, the group will find a focus topic on the first day which will determine the sub-topic, exercises, gatherings and role plays during the remaining two days of the workshop.
A Refresher Training for AVP facilitators trained at PIASS is scheduled for July 20-21, 2019. In a Refresher Training, we work on topics and methods that are of interest to our AVP facilitators, exchange experiences, review approaches, tools and exercises with a focus on practicing facilitation and receiving feedback from our fellow facilitators.
(Participants role playing a situation of conflict)
Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) is a training program enabling participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. Workshops are delivered by our trained facilitators and are experiential (not based on lectures).
Its purpose is to help teach ways to
• manage strong feelings such as anger and fear
• deal more effectively with risk and threatening situations
• build good relationships with other people
• communicate constructively in difficult situations
• recognize the conflict management skills you already have
• be true to yourself while respecting other people
• understand why conflict happens
• approach conflict in a more creative and less reactive manner
• consider your own relationship to systems of violence”
Mini AVP workshop at Regional Conference of GIZ Civil Peace Service in Mombasa
During the Regional Conference of the GIZ Civil Peace Service program in November 2018, CRASPD organized and facilitated an AVP one-day mini workshop for the participants who were staff from all GIZ CPS programs in Africa, together with a GIZ CPS colleague from Burundi and the Coordinator of the AVP Kenyan Coastal Region and Prisons program in Kenya who had been in Huye to co-facilitate the AVP advanced workshop at PIASS in May 2018. There was great interest in AVP from participants working for GIZ CPS in other countries. A major article about AVP, authored by the three workshop facilitators, will appear in the documentation of the Regional Conference. Our hope is that we could contribute to the spreading of the AVP approach and motivate GIZ CPS to initiate and/ or support AVP in other countries, too.
First AVP Basic Level Workshop 2019: January 15-17 at PIASS
We are pleased that the first 2018 Alternatives to Violence Program Basic Workshop in 2019 raised a lot of interest from students and NGO staff, to the extent that we could not accept all who registered. 19 participants were spending an amazing time together and learnt a lot with and from each other.
One major insight from a cooperation exercise in this workshop was that it is crucial to consider diversity in groups and to care for those who are moving at a different pace or have different needs, so that nobody is left behind and goals can be achieved together.
AVP Advanced Level Workshop Mid-August 2018
12 persons, among them 2 from outside PIASS who had completed an Alternatives to Violence Program Basic Workshop, participated in the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) Advanced Workshop at PIASS Huye Campus from Friday, August 10 to Sunday, August 12, 2018, 16:00 (4 pm). It was facilitated by two AVP facilitators from Huye and Kigali with longstanding experience in all levels the AVP program and two Learning facilitators who had been trained in 2017. One of them already had prior experience in facilitating an AVP Basic Workshop.
AVP Training of Facilitators
15 new Learning Facilitators, 8 female and 7 male, were trained by a team of AVP facilitators, in a training from September 4 – 6, 2018. The training was organized by CRASPD in collaboration with GIZ Civil Peace Service and the Alternatives to Violence Program and took place at Emmaus Hostel in Huye Taba. The training team consisted of three facilitators experience on all three levels of AVP and one Learning Facilitator who had prior experience in facilitating AVP advanced and workshops in other experience-based programs.
After reviewing Transforming Power, the way facilitation is prepared and conducted in AVP, specificities of preparing workshops and single sessions, working together in an AVP facilitators’ team and giving and receiving constructive feedback, participants were divided in 4 practice teams. After a period of team preparation, those teams facilitated one session each, with the other participants and trainers’ team serving as participants. In the feedback sessions later, the practice team members would receive feedback for their facilitation, starting with the practice team itself and the plenary after that. An impressive list of lessons learnt was later compiled from this process. In the “Way Forward” the participants learnt that upon completion of this training, they could be invited to be in a team with more experienced people to facilitate AVP Basic Level Workshops and to start the Alternatives to Violence Program in their communities or in the organizations / institutions where they work, be it in Rwanda, DRC, Burundi or elsewhere on the planet.
Refresher Training for AVP Facilitators September 2018
For the weekend after the latest Training of Facilitators, the team welcomed the Coordinator of the AVP Rwanda Program to be in the team of a Refresher Training for the AVP Learning Facilitators who had been trained in October 2017; since some had moved on to new locations for work or further studies, founded families or returned to their home communities, only half of the 16 facilitators were able to join. Some of the facilitators had been involved in teams for different AVP workshops at PIASS and elsewhere and shared their experiences, challenges and achievements. A very intensive work with a lot of practice sessions on the facilitation of gatherings, exercises, and role plays took place, with constructive feedback for every one of the facilitators who had the confidence to lead a session or a unit. We all learnt a lot and were glad to link up again, after almost 1 year. We hope to involve more of the Learning Facilitators in future, so that they can gain more experience and confidence.
Outlook for AVP
In November 2018, the AVP Regional Gathering for Africa will be held in Uganda.
AVP at PIASS and CRASPD are planning to send a delegation of 4-5 of our facilitators to participate in this event for sharing experience and developing the network of the Alternatives to Violence Program in Africa further. We are grateful that GIZ Civil Peace Service has made funding available for the travel and participation of our delegates.
AVP Advanced Level Workshop held May 29-31, 2018
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Advanced Level Workshop, PIASS, Huye Campus, May 29 – 31, 2018, was organized by the Center for Research and Action towards Sustainable Peace and Development (CRASPD) at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) Faculty of Development Studies, in collaboration with giz Civil Peace Service (ZFD) Rwanda. As usual for Alternatives to Violence Program Advanced Workshops, the team had invited people persons who had completed an AVP Basic Level Workshop, either at PIASS or somewhere else. The team of AVP Facilitators was composed of a Lecturer at PIASS, a visiting facilitator from AVP Kenya, and the International Peace Advisor of giz Civil Peace Service based at CRASPD/ PIASS. 9 women and 10 men, 11 of them students at PIASS, and the others y coming from NGOs or institutions, actively participated. In contrast to the set program of a Basic Level Workshop, participants, in a consensus decision making exercise, chose the topic t to focus on during the 3 day workshop. This time, the group selected the focus topic “How do we cope with a conflict with people who are close to us, especially in family, without losing self-respect or harming/ hurting them?” In different gathering, practical exercises and role plays in the approach of the “Theater of the Oppressed”, the group explored the topic and found some answers to their questions and had the opportunities to practice ways to de-escalate conflict situations and empathize with themselves and others to nonviolently deal with them. On the last day, small groups drew their vision of how harmonious relationships with those who are close to us, may look like.
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Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) Workshop at PIASS with participants from six civil society organizations in March 2018.
AVP is a training program enabling participants to deal with potentially violent situations in a new, positive, and creative way (www.avp.international). The AVP Basic Level workshop in March 2018 brought together 8 male and 8 female participants, 8 of them Rwandan and international students of PIASS from the Faculty of Development Studies BA program of Peace & Conflict Studies and BA program for Rural & Community Development, and from the Faculty of Theology. The other 8 participants came from six civil society organizations in Rwanda and DRC. The team would like to express their gratitude for the support without which the workshop could not have been organized, from the Japanese mission support group, as well as Dr. Kazuyuki and Floriane Niyungeko from the Centre for Research & Action towards Sustainable Peace & Development (CRASPD) of PIASS.
AVP Basic Level Workshop held in June 2017
In cooperation with CRASPD, the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP), conducted the second Basic Workshop this year, with 18 participants June 9 – 11, 2017 and the second Advanced Workshop this year August 16-18, 2017, with 11 participants, at PIASS Huye, bringing together mixed groups of students, graduates of PIASS and staff from NGOs.
In this Advanced Workshop, participants chose “Strengthening our use of skills in nonviolent communication to deal with conflict and anger”. Exciting exercises were followed by intense sharing of experiences about how transforming power can work through us to find nonviolent ways for conflict resolution. Groups practiced how we can express ourselves honestly, sharing what happened to us without mixing in judgement or blame, what we feel and need and what we would like “the other” to do or say next and how we can understand the feelings and needs behind a ‘violent’ message and give the other person empathy instead of ‘firing back’.
Now, the team is planning to hold a Training of Facilitators mid October, and we hope that, for the new year, we will have teams of motivated and skilled facilitators to help us conduct more AVP workshops at PIASS and start expanding the program to their communities.
Alternatives to Violence Program Basic Workshop January 15-17, 2018 at PIASS
The first 2018 Alternatives to Violence Program Basic Workshop will take place at PIASS from Monday, January 15 to Wednesday, January 17, and the team is looking forward to welcome to introduce a group of new people to this amazing program!
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Training of 16 New Facilitators
On October 18, 2017, CRASPD, in collaboration with giz Civil Peace Service (CPS) Rwanda and the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) Rwanda, concluded a jointly organized 3 day Training of AVP Facilitators.
16 new AVP Learning Facilitators graduated, 9 of them male and 7 female; 3 of them come from Burundi, 6 from DRC, and 7 from Rwanda. 2 are residents of Kigeme Refugee Camp, 4 work for Nongovernmental Organizations (Child Fund Rwanda, Never Again Rwanda, Family Circles Love Lab Organization, ARCT Ruhuka), and one graduate is working for a government institution. We believe that the new AVP Facilitators will not only join teams at PIASS and with AVP Rwanda to take the Alternatives to Violence Program further here, but also extend it to their communities and to other Countries in the Region and beyond.