Nonviolent Communication ®


Coordinated by our now-graduate Dismas, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Rwanda, we conducted an introductions to Nonviolent Communication under the motto and title “Listening to Connect” with students and staff from PIASS and the University of Rwanda, as well as professionals from GIZ and from the Commissions for Peace and Justice of the Catholic Diocese. The training was held for three days, December 20, 21 and 22, with support from KOMERA (, a German association funding different projects in Rwanda.  The team consisted of Linda and Gloire, two Congolese graduates of the Department for Peace and Conflict Studies, Dismas, and Anne. Some participants are going to join our NVC practice group to have monthly sessions to develop different skills of Nonviolent Communication – a process that is facilitated by Dismas and Linda and supported by thed German psychologists.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in Cooperation with Mental Health Dignity Foundation (MHDF)

When Irmtraud Kauschat, certified NVC trainer and assessor with vast Africa experience, had been in Rwanda in March, many of the clinical psychologists – who were first introduced to NVC by Therese Uwitonze from our partner organization Mental Health Dignity Foundation (MHDF) – did not get the chance to attend the training with her as we had limited space. We then agreed that we would hold other NVC trainings for this group. On July 27-28, we held an NVC training for 11 clinical psychologists (9  women and 2 men) at PIASS where we reviewed the history, purpose, basic assumptions, steps and modes of Nonviolent Communication. In many practical exercises, individual reflections and role plays, participants had the chance to gain an experience of honestly expressing themselves, empathically listening to another person and self-empathy as a helpful approach when strong emotions are triggered in us due to events that happen in our lives. In plenary, participants then shared how these experiences had been for them, and we clarified many questions concerning the relationship between therapy and compassionate communication.

NVC practice groups we found it difficult to uphold regular practice sessions for the groups of students at PIASS and at the University of Rwanda who had introductions to NVC (Listening to Connect) since it is challenging to find a date and time fitting for all of them, we invited them to join the ‘old’ practice group that had been created in 2018 after the Speaking Peace at Work seminars. We had some fruitful sessions since newer and long-term members shared experiences and learnt together

The first ever Nonviolent Communication ® Africa Retreat took place by beautiful Lake Kivu, in Gisenyi, Rwanda, May 14-18, 2018.

IMG_2315The 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. IMG_4466

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.

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