The first ever Nonviolent Communication ® Africa Retreat took place by beautiful Lake Kivu, in Gisenyi, Rwanda, May 14-18, 2018.
The CRASPD team at PIASS, in collaboration with Dunia Hategekimana, one of the first CNVC certified trainers in Nonviolent Communication, and with support from GIZ Civil Peace Service, held a 5 day retreat in Rwanda, May 14-18, 2018. They invited people in Africa who know and practice Nonviolent Communication in their life and work. Our purpose to hold an NVC Africa Retreat was for participants to
- get to know more about Nonviolent Communication,
- share their NVC experiences and plans with others,
- practice Nonviolent Communication on own everyday life situations, and
- get, and mutually offer, support in dealing with challenges to integrate NVC into life and work.
23 Nonviolent Communication practitioners, 7 of them female, coming from 11 countries (Cameroon, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda), participated in the retreat.
In different sessions, presentations and practice workshops, participants shared their experiences of applying Nonviolent Communications in their different contexts and professional environments and used various approaches to hone their skills in listening empathically and expressing themselves with a focus on needs, to deal with challenging situations. Some of the major topics were
- Dealing with anger through Nonviolent Communication
- Power and authority in Nonviolent Communication
- The role that Nonviolent Communication can play in reducing poverty in Africa
- Empathic communication in family conflict
- Sharing Nonviolent Communication in communities, especially in settings of large scale violence.
In an online session with experienced trainer from Canada and Germany, participants had the chance to ask many questions, and a lively discussion ensued.
Given that the retreat took place during the Rwandan Commemoration Period of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, a film screening and a visit to a Genocide Memorial site were organized for participants to learn about this violent phase of Rwandan history and how Rwandans are memorializing it.
On the last day of the retreat, participants shared their vision of “Nonviolent Communication Africa” and drafted a list of commitments for taking NVC further on the continent, as well as requests and offers for mutual support.