Alternatives to Violence
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) began in 1975, when a group
of inmates near New York City asked a local Quaker group to provide
them with non-violence training. Highly experiential in nature, the
workshop encourages participants to recognize that they can best find
their own answers to the conflicts they encounter.
AVP workshops focus on the following themes:
> Seeking that which is good in ourselves and others
> Community building skills: trust, respect, and inclusiveness
> Communication skills: deep listening, speaking with clarity, and responsibility
> Conflict Transformation
There are three levels of AVP training: Basic, Advanced, and Training
for Facilitators. All workshops last for three days and emphasize building
community among participants. The Basic workshop provides an initial
introduction to the concepts outlined above. In the Advanced workshops,
participants choose the thematic focus that they want to explore more
fully. Examples of such themes include fear, anger, forgiveness, or discrimination.
In the Training for Facilitators, participants learn the skills needed
to lead workshops on their own.
AGLI introduced AVP in Rwanda in 2001, Burundi in 2002, western Kenya
and Nairobi in 2003, and eastern Congo in 2005. These programs now all
have experienced, trained AVP facilitators plus lead facilitators who
can offer advanced workshops and training for facilitators. AVP is now
being used as a basic training for specific peace work in the region
when funding is available: for example, with youth in Kenya who experienced
the post-election violence and for returned Hutu and Tutsi refugees from
Tanzania that were resettled in Rwanda. AVP is now a tool, a well-developed
workshop that is used to obtain broader objectives.