Tuesday, September 19, 2006

AVP IDRC- International Development and Resource Committee

A nonviolent society where everyone lives in peace and dignity
Gather and provide resources to the AVP community to reach and sustain its full potential for peace and nonviolence worldwide
The Name
AVP International Development and Resource Committee - IDRC
To reflect purpose- Development, Resource, Support, Funding
Raise funds, Mentoring and support, Communication, Training and localised training materials, Quality Support, New initiatives, Ensure sustainability
FLAT Structure – Consensus decisions
Committee of Committees -Representatives from each committee comprise the Committee of Committees
Regional committee
Comprises representatives from geographical regions
To bring regional concerns
To share wisdom from local experience
Internal networking
Volunteer members- Chiemeka Iyke , Natalie Hewison, Rothwell George,Teresa Tyson, Ann Ward, Malesi Kinaro, Kwok Wai Han, Vicky Festus, Rawi O’Brien
Communication committee
Facilitate incoming communication
Technical & dissemination
Volunteer members- Alan Taplow, Gerard (Geg) Blitz, Kumbirai Muzhanye, Enas Osman Saleh, Sbu Shange, Bheena Sewarain, Alan Saleh, Shamala Joseph, Alla Sororka
New Initiatives committee
Initiate and support geographical and other new ventures
Volunteer members- Jeremy Routledge, Marie Odendaal, Alla Sororka, George Walumoli, Betty Atieno
Public Relations and Marketing committee
Publicity and advocacy
Media support
Web-site content and links
Volunteer members- Grace Kiconco, Corlette Nxumalo, Bengs Nkosi, Janet Ifedha
Strategic planning committee
Initiate the process and pass the baton
Maintain and adapt the process as needed
Volunteer members- Colin Glen, Siobhan Walshe John Shuford, John Michaelis, Moses Monday, Judith Salgado, Marina Lyubogradov, Peter Maji, Ramola Tiwari
Networking and Partnering committee
Establish and maintain links with organisations that have similar objectives
Establish and maintain strategic partnerships
Volunteer members- David Jobson, Jenny Hartland, Brenda Sturrock, Hezron Masitsa, Rosemary Makoae, Nokuthula Mbete
Finance and Funding committee
Set up policies, systems and procedures for accountability
Fund raising
Volunteer members- Corlette Nxumalo, Debby Wood, Rubye Braye, Nancy Shippen, David Bacura, Anele Nunu, Eileen Hart Wings
Legal Structure (temporary) committee
Temporary committee to create legal entity for fundraising
Volunteer members- Gerard (Geg) Blitz, David Jobson
Education and Training committee
Support localised manuals and other materials
Quality Support
Facilitator exchange
Volunteer members
Risikat Omola Yusuf, Giri Sequoya, Rodney Petersen, Marie Odendaal, Arthur Charlton, Adrien Niyangabo, Anele Nunu, Getry Agizah Pauline Mitchel, Gift Dube, Jeremie Bavuga, Bill Waters, Kumalo Landile, Mlu Dywili

Suggestions from the floor at the 2006 AVP annual conference
  1. High profile patrons will be sought.
  2. The existing regional and country coordinators will be recognised in the regional committee.
  3. The strategic planning committee will find experienced coordinators for each committee. Hopefully there will be a co-coordinators in training. Each committee will be as open as possible with the understanding that there is an education and development mandate for each committee. This will be modelled on the use of co-facilitators in AVP training.
  4. Jeremy Routledge will develop the QPN- Africa AVP proposal in consultation with others who have been involves to present to the strategy and fundraising committees by the end of September.
  5. The IDRC will be report to the International conference which will remain the highest decision making body. The issues of the constitution and governance will be addressed by the legal committee.
  6. Committees will not necessarily meet face to face and will communicate electronically

Monday, September 11, 2006

Press release - AVP International Gathering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday 4 September 2006
Phaphama Initiatives, PO Box 94144, Yeoville, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Contact: Jeremy Routledge 072 969 2581,

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) trainers form international structure and develop new initiatives in Africa at AVP International Gathering.

Over 100 grassroots Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) trainers from 23 countries met for the AVP International Gathering in Gauteng, South Africa from 27 August to 2 September 2006.
The gathering set up an AVP international structure to provide resources and funds to the AVP community to reach and sustain its full potential for peace and nonviolence worldwide and develop new initiatives.
Stephen Angell, one of the founders of the project said this gathering will take the project forward to new levels of organization and impact to meet one of the major challenges in the world today. The AVP started in 1974 in Green Haven Prison in New York in response to prisoners wishing to address the violence that affects their lives.
AVP training is offered in 16 hour workshops at the basic, advanced and training for facilitator levels, building non-violent communities based on affirmation, communication and conflict resolution. This unites people across ethnic, religious, gender and political backgrounds in enabling them to find and develop the transforming power to address violence within and against themselves.
The conference shared the power of AVP around the world. AVP facilitators have trained 1400 Gacacca judges and works with victims and perpetrators of violence in Rwanda; in Sudan across religious, ethnic and gender divides; in Nigeria across the religious divides, ex-combatants and child soldiers in Angola, prisoners in Uganda, the UK and USA, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, social services in Hong Kong and Ukraine and with the military in Russia. In South Africa AVP training is provided for prisons, released prisoners, schools and universities, refugees, religious bodies, ex-combatants, youth and business.
There were reports on new partnerships and programme adaptation to meet local needs. Damietta, a Franciscan peace initiative, has chosen to use AVP to train its inter-religious conciliation teams throughout Africa. A 30 hour version of AVP for the classroom setting that has been offered to 45 000 further education students in Australia. A proposal for a cooperative project to take the training throughout Africa and the Middle East will be developed. A group piloted a workshop to address the pain and stigma of those infected and affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
International facilitators joined South Africans in running workshops in Pollsmoor prison in the week before the gathering and will now join them in schools in the Eastern and Western Cape and in Pollsmoor women’s prison.
The gathering was organized by Phaphama Initiatives that offers AVP training in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern and Western Cape and is initiating projects in Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Further information can be obtained from 072 96902581; 11 487 1950;
info@phaphama.org; www.phaphama.org; www.phaphama.blogspot.com; www.avpinternational.org

To the worldwide AVP Family from the AVP International Gathering

AVP International Gathering
South Africa
27 August – 1 September 2006

To the worldwide AVP Family,
At the start of spring, 104 people from 23 countries have gathered at Hartbeespoort Dam between Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa: a rainbow gathering in the Rainbow Nation. We have come together at The Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, a place of welcoming hospitality, peace and spirituality. In this beautiful place we have found new friends and old friends, hugs and laughter, singing and dancing, and a dazzling array of talks, workshops and shared wisdom. We have been moved by personal testimonies and fired by the many visionaries in our midst.
The Gathering was designed, organised and facilitated by an inspiring team of South African staff and volunteers based at Phaphama Initiatives. An essential part of the experience has been the South African context in which we have shared the food, the culture, the languages, the history and current concerns of our host nation. For five days we have all been Africans. We have lived the concept of ubuntu: umuntu ngumuntu gabantu, the interconnectedness that makes us human.
Three themes, or ‘strands’, have woven the fabric of the Gathering. The work of the first strand has been to establish the AVP International Development and Resource Committee to ‘gather and provide resources to the AVP community to increase its full potential for peace and nonviolence worldwide’.
In the second strand we have shared experiences and skills gained through the unique AVP learning process. Our ‘Grandfather’, Steve Angell, has been with us to encourage and inspire us as we look at ways to improve, refine, expand and develop AVP in ways appropriate to our differing cultures and societies. Despite our obvious differences, we have been amazed by the common underlying spirit and processes of AVP.
The third strand has explored strategies for local organizations to achieve stability and sustainable growth. Those of us from outside Africa have been impressed by the energy and growth of AVP in African countries – countries with appalling experiences, past and present, of war, genocide, apartheid, poverty, disease and crime. These countries have used AVP imaginatively in locally relevant ways. In Rwanda 1,400 newly elected local Gacaca judges have received AVP training. In Sudan, where AVP started in December 2005, 13 workshops have already helped to bridge the gulfs between Christians and Muslims, men and women and among the many tribal groups. The Franciscan Damietta Initiative in Africa, a grassroots movement promoting non-violence, reconciliation and care for the environment, uses AVP for its initial training programme. In South Africa, amongst AVP’s many partners and projects, is the HIPP (Helping Increase Peace and Positivity) Club, where young people take their own version of AVP into schools and offer skillful facilitation and powerful role-models. The list is endless.
The Gathering has, above all, affirmed our vision of AVP and its transforming power. In small and large groups we have learned from each other that we can be infinitely creative and flexible with this precious gift. We also recognise the many organizational challenges that face us.
The messages from U.S. prisoners have reminded us of all our brothers and sisters incarcerated around the world. Many other AVPers were not able to be with us in person, but we feel your spirit has been with us.
With blessings and a warm South African Hug!

Nancy Shippen reports on AVP International Gathering

Greetings All,
I am writing to let you all know about the International Conference of the Alternatives to Violence Project. I was blessed to be sent as the alternate delegate for the United States. I will always be incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I also send an invitation and strong encouragement to become involved in AVP in whatever way possible.
I returned home yesterday. Since my body is still on South African time, I am up and raring to be in touch with as many people as I possibly can to report on a fabulous, important experience. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to be with peace activists from Sudan, Russia, Angola, Ukraine, Nigeria, India, South Africa, Ecuador, Rwanda, Australia, Burundi, New Zealand, Uganda, Hong Kong and more. I was silent and awed by accounts of working with genocide survivors and perpetrators, ex-combatants in Angola, youth in the slums of Johannesburg. What could I do but listen and resolve to support this work? Words cannot express my deep regard for so many who have faced personal challenges that I can barely imagine and who carry this work of communication, trust and peace to others whose lives have been assaulted in so many horrendous ways.
Much of my workshop time was spent supporting the development of a new legal entity for International AVP. The resulting organization will be incorporated as the AVP International Development and Resource Committee and will have a coordinated committee structure rather similar to AVP-USA. My own workshop was “AVP as a Way to Build a Civil Society”. This involved presenting the concepts of Social Capital, Civil Society and Open Society and beginning to gather accounts of ways AVP has demonstrated these ideas. The eventual resulting document will be available for introducing AVP in new areas and in seeking funding.
The conference planners wisely left large blocks of free time which was filled by second presentations of workshops that conflicted, short topic workshops such as Bias Awareness, Forgiveness and Manly Awareness, various meetings, local outings and of course sharing discussions of our work and lives. The conference sight was lovely with many spots to sit in small groups and enjoy sun, shade and views to mountains across the lake. There were also ten minute slots at our plenary sessions for the presentation of topics too short for a full session. At one of these, I read letters from some of the inmate facilitators who work with me at Shirley Prison. Their open expression of the impact of AVP on their lives and their desire to share this experience with others were quite moving to a many participants. There were a number of opportunities to remember all those who were not able to be with us. These inspired us to a deeper commitment to share our learning and perceptions when we returned home.
My second week was an equally wonderful opportunity to travel to Cape Town and facilitate an Advanced Workshop at Pollsmore Women’s Prison. Although some of the women preferred to speak in Africanns, almost all seemed to understand English well and all were deeply engaged in the workshop. Our team in turn felt closely connected to the inmates.
Since this was only the second workshop in the prison, there were no inmate facilitators. However, it was wonderful to form a facilitating team with a very experienced international facilitator, Teresa Tyson, an enormously dedicated Cape Town facilitator originally from Burundi, Mediatrico Barengayabo, and myself. The three of us spent hours planning each session, reveling in the opportunity to discuss all of our favorite exercises and ways to make the experience of each as deep as possible. We were able to support each other in leading new exercises and in stretching debriefing skills. Of course this led to overly ambitious agendas and the time crunch tactics provided us with opportunities to develop flexibility and humility. This was a true opportunity for experiential learning.
Outside the workshop hours we explored the vicinity including driving down the coast to the Cape of Good Hope. These towering promontories truly feel like the end of the world. Waves crashing on rocks and cliffs transported me back to Portuguese ships battling currents and winds to reach ever farther around the vast African continent. The unique finbos vegetation reminded me of tundra in its dense coverage and uniform height. However, I was amazed at its depth when a zebra stepped down off the road and disappeared.
Cape Town is a lovely city which wraps around the end of a mountain ridge. English and Dutch architecture, flooded with clear sunlight, against a backdrop of this ridge is just stunning. We were treated to a wonderful fish dinner by one of our local AVP host families and another evening they took me for a spectacular drive and a feast of fish and chips in the town of Hout Bay.
I stayed in the guest room at West Cape Friends Meeting. After the intense week at the conference and the intense days of planning, facilitating and exploring, it was lovely to come back to my quiet spot. A cup of Rooibos tea and my journal or James Mitchner’s book Covenant were perfect companions for the end of the day.

Below is the epistle of the conference. This is a Quaker practice which seeks to report the essence of a gathering.