The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) South Africa is part of a Grassroots, International, Volunteer Movement committed to reducing interpersonal difficulties in society, based on the peace-building principles of among others, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The core values of AVP recognise the worth of every individual and affirm the power of each person to use reason and co-operative skills in responding creatively in their interpersonal relationships. AVP works toward its goals by presenting experiential workshops in business, government, prisons, schools, communities and other organisations.
Founded in and developed from the real life experiences of participants, AVP encourages every person’s innate power to positively transform themselves and the world. AVP workshops present pre-emptive conflict management skills that can enable individuals to build successful interpersonal interactions, gain insights into themselves and find new and positive approaches to their lives. They provide experiences of respect for oneself and others; of speaking the truth and listening with an open mind; of co-operation and the benefits of diversity. Those who have completed all levels of training become skilled and experienced leaders.
The AVP programme began in 1975 when a group of inmates at Greenhaven Prison (New York) was working with youth coming into conflict with the law. They collaborated with the Quaker Project on Community Conflict, devising a prison workshop. The success of this workshop quickly generated requests for more and AVP was born.
The programme quickly spread to other prisons, and other organisations when it became obvious that the need for peace training existed just as much outside prison walls as within, and that everyone in all walks of life and circumstances is exposed to and participates, in some way, in violence – be it physical or intangible.
Workshops are now offered extensively in prisons, communities, schools, government bodies, businesses, community associations, street gangs and so on. The project has been growing at 25 to 30 percent per annum since inception, and there are more than 2000 fully trained volunteer AVP facilitators in the USA alone. The project has also spread to Canada, Europe, New Zealand Australia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Russia, Sudan, Nigeria, Rwanda and, of course, South Africa. In September 2006 the International Gathering of the AVP was held at Hartbeespoort in the North West Province of South Africa. Over a hundred delegates from more than 20 countries participated in the gathering.
AVP in Kroonstad
Some years back a workshop was held at Boitumelo Hospital. In May 2006 a basic workshop was held at the Jala Peo Trust Centre and that was the start of all kinds of wonderful things happening. An advanced workshop in September was followed, in the same month by a Training for Facilitators workshop. Six facilitators were given basic training and have helped facilitate many workshops in the last two years.
The first school workshop was held at Motswela Secondary School in the Township, in April 2007. Seven educators, ten learners and two sisters from St Peter Claver School in Constantia participated. Since then there has been a great deal of expansion. We have done one workshop in Parys, a town 100 km north of Kroonstad, and quite a number of workshops in Ventersburg, 50 km south of Kroonstad. Altogether over 50 people have been trained as facilitators.
Our basic aim is to change the fundamental mindset of the community in which we work. Unfortunately at present violence plays quite a dominant role in the everyday life of the communities. Domestic violence is very common and here the children and the women are the main victims. School violence is a major problem. Our aim is to change communities one person at a time, and we do this by offering experiential workshops.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
2007 was the beggining of AVP to grow since it started to conduct workshops at High schools, the reason being for AVP to conduct workshop at schools is that schools are losing the value of being a school because of the violence that is taking place there, previously schools used to be a place of safety and education but this days schools are taken as a place of killing, mugging, stealing etc...
AVP started to conduct workshops at Motswela High School, Thakameso High School, both in Kroonstad and Matsiripe High School at Ventersburg