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The International AVP Gathering was held in Kenya in September 2008. Click here to read about the gathering.

Empowering Youth to Find Alternatives to Violence
By Julia O’Connor

I Am the Change I Want to See in the World: Impact of and Vision for Alternatives toViolence Project Workshops in Western Kenya June 2003 – September 2007,by Getry Agizah and Aletia Dundas

A Little Peace of Kenya
By Aletia Dundas

Healing HIV-Positive Women
By Florence Ntakarutimana

Love and Caring for Each Other: AVP and Spirituality From a Kenyan Christian Perspective
By Malesi Kinaro

Planting the Tree of Peace among Enemies
By Anna Crumley-Effinger

Can We Stop Genocide and Other Violent Conflict?
Thoughts by David Zarembka

Peace Cannot Stay in Small Places: Lessons from Alternatives to Violence Workshops with Gacaca Judges, by Laura Shipler Chico and Uwimana Marie Paule

I Am My Neighbor's Mirror: A Community Rebuilding after Genocide, by Laura Shipler Chico

Speaking Across the Divide: A Presentation by Cecile Nyiramana
At St. Louis (MO) Friends Meeting, 29 June 2005
Recorded by Thomas Paxson

Comments on AVP
by Linda Heacock, Nancy Shippen, and Mary Kay Jou

The Road to Gikongoro: Sitting in an AVP Workshop
By Laura Chico

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
> Cooperation
> 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.

Current programs

Rwanda: AVP-Rwanda is involved in two on-going projects:

  • Resettlement camps: Rwandan refugees, both Hutu and Tutsi, have been expelled from Karagwe District of Tanzania and have been resettled together in new camps in eastern Rwanda. Since the Hutu and Tutsi need to learn to live and cooperate together in building their new community, AVP-Rwanda is conducing four basic and two advanced workshops in six different resettlement camps. These workshops are supported by the Drane Family Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
  • Remote villages: The conflicts from the 1994 Rwandan genocide are still festering in the remote villages of Eastern Province of Rwanda. AVP-Rwanda is conducting a series of workshops in these isolated villages to re-establish trust and community. These workshops are supported by a grant from the United States Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.

Kenya: Due to the violence after the December 27, 2007 elections, AVP in western Kenya plans are conducting more than 100 basic and advanced in various communities. Many of these workshops will involve the young people who were involved in much of the local violence after the election. Sites may include Bondo in Nyanza Province; Takatifu Gardens in Shinyalu, Lumakanda, Kakamega, Lugari District, and Vihiga District in Western Province; and Ndalu in Rift Valley Province. Each site will have up to two workshops so that each area can be adequately impacted.

The Friends Peace Centre in Lubao, under AGLI’s partner, Friends for Peace and Community Development, has completed a 20 bed residential building and is now roofing the administrative/library building next to it.

In September, the week-long AVP International Gathering is planned for the Bishop Stam Conference Centre near Kakamega. There will be ample opportunities for participants at the conference to facilitate AVP workshops before or after the Gathering.

AGLI is also supporting reconciliation efforts on the border between the Kipsigis (Rift Valley Province) and the Kisii (Nyanza Province) where more than 30 people were killed and where hundreds of homes, a school, and numerous businesses were burned.

AVP-Western Kenya has completed 42 one-day listening workshops with the Center for Disease Control in Kisumu and others with the bicycle taxi drivers in Kakamega and the staff of the Eldoret prison. As called upon, the program will conduce additional one-day listening workshops.