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
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.
AVP-Rwanda has recently done basic workshops with HIV-positive individuals
the Kigali branch of the micro-enterprise bank. They
are planning a series of 20 workshops in a “hot-spot” area
of Rwanda—this means a community where many people still subscribe
to “genocide ideology” and continue violence against the
Tutsi population. These workshops will include five workshops each for
women, youth, community leaders, and opinion leaders in the community.
The goal is to establish a core of experienced AVP graduates within the
district who will then work to lower the violence level in the community.
plans on conducting a series of workshops with the “Guardians of the Peace.” These
were young men, mostly Tutsi, who were given guns, but no training
or pay, and required to patrol
neighborhoods during the night. They now are being demobilized and turning
in their guns. Therefore this is an idea opportunity to train them in
non-violent methods of peacemaking and conflict resolution.
Congo: In July 2005 the first AVP trainings, supported by AGLI, were
completed in Bukavu, South Kivu. The Change Agents Peace Program (CAPP)
of Norwegian Quaker Service has introduced AVP in Goma and surrounding
communities in North Kivu.
Kenya: Workshops have been recently completed in Eldoret with prison
officials, with the community in Lugari, and with youth from the Uzima
Foundation in Nairobi. Others will occur in the community near Eldoret.
AVP-Kakamega plans on translating the AVP Basic Manual into Swahili.
Plans are being developed to introduce AVP in the traditional pastoral
communities of Turkana and Samburu where much ethnic conflict is occurring.