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,
jeremy@phaphama.org

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

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