Alternatives to Violence (AVP) is a peace training that originated in the US and has had a lot of success in Rwanda especially in the Gacaca courts. Participants work to together to identify the root causes of violence as well as the root causes of peace.
AVP in Prisons
Friends Peace House works to promote peace and coexistence in various prisons around Rwanda by conducting multiple day peace trainings for inmates as they serve their sentences. The purpose of this program in prisons is to personally transform troubled individuals so that they can be more peaceful in their behavior and also have the ability to help others through conflict. When they learn to engage in personal conflict with a peaceful mentality, they’re more likely to make a positive change in the community inside and outside of prison.
Through hands on group exercises and discussions, participants of these workshops are guided through methods of conflict resolution. A prominent strategy of implementing these methods is through “targeting the individual” by giving them the liberty to express their thoughts and feelings freely in a safe environment.
“AVP trainers must go through the same training as the trainee – they must be transformed before they can try to help anyone else transform.” -Marcelin Sizeli, AVP trainer on importance of personal acceptance
“One must be trained and actually use the methods that they’re teaching. They must be living in peace personally as well as willing to listen to other methods.” -Daniel, AVP trainer on the most important qualities to have when administering peace workshops
“One can see major differences in post-workshops. Many people come back to do repentance or resolution in their personal lives.” -Thacienne, AVP trainer on the impact of AVP workshops
Follow these links to learn more about
AVP trainings in Rwanda, East Africa and around the world