Friday, March 31, 2006

Establishing AVP in Sudan

In February this year Christoph had the privilege to go to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, where Miriam Kraemer asked him to support her in setting up AVP in Sudan. She had visited Cape Town two years ago and co-facilitated four AVP workshops."It was my first time to visit Sudan and it was an overwhelming feeling for me to be in a country (the largest in Africa!) which is so different from South Africa in many respects: geography; climate; religion (Islam is the dominant religion, at least in the north); ethnicity; political system (human rights don’t have the priority as they have in SA – at least on paper); and of course the longstanding civil war – or rather civil wars.After one year of ground work Miriam had managed to get a number of NGOs in the fields of peace building, development, human rights, street children, gender and prisons interested in AVP. Miriam arranged one Basic, two Advanced and one Train the Trainer Workshop.The participants were coming from different parts of the country. We therefore had diverse groups in terms of gender, religion, ethnicity, culture, language (we were conducting all the workshops in English and Arabic). Once again AVP proved to be very conducive to build relationships among the participants across the divides.In general the participants were very enthusiastic about AVP, eager to apply it with their constituencies. I am immensely grateful for the enriching experience for myself and the part that I could contribute to the establishment of AVP in Sudan."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nine new facilitators in Pollsmoor Prison

Nine new facilitators graduated in Wednesday 8 March at a ceremmony addressed by Mr Madikane, Deputy head of Medium B prison. They shared how they felt having completed the workshop and Mr Madikane proposed that wardens attend the next AVP basic workshop. They now join the three remaining facilitators who will mentor them and start taking on the role of lead facilitators.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Damietta chooses AVP to train Pan African Conciliation Teams

The Franciscan Order in Africa has set up the Damietta Initiative which aims to proactively and reactively address community and inter-religious conflict in Africa. Local Pan African Conciliation Teams (PACT) will be set up consisting of people of different religions represented in the community. Their excellent website is worth a visit. They will be trained in Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops to start the process of building teams and getting in touch with their own ability to solve conflicts nonviolently.

Phaphama Initiatives trained the first two groups in Athlone and Parow at the begining of the year. The large Parow workshop of 27 played the simulation game Rafa-Rafa. Two communities having different values and ways of behaving were created. Observers were sent to listen and learn and then report back to the members of their community who were going to live in the other community. Each community preferred their own and found the other strange.

At the Athlone workshop we role played a situation where Catholic and Muslim neighbours were worried about their children playing together. We learned a lot by playing it four ways-both intolerant, one tolerant and the other intolerant, then the one intolerant and the other tolerant and finally both being tolerant.

Shortly after the workshops the groups faced the issue of the cartoons of the prophet that had been first published in a Danish newspaper. They worked on a statement for publication in the Catholic Southern Cross newspaper and for Muslim Judicial Council. Jeremy joined the Quaker Peace Centre who had organized to monitor the march that had been planned. Different newspapers reported the numbers from between 6 000 and 30 000- it was hugh. "I felt really proud to be a South African.
We were 5 Christian and 5 Muslim observers and we all felt pleased that the march had been conducted in such a peaceful manner when we
debriefed our experiences afterwards as we had been split up as children were at the front behind the leaders, then the women and finally the men.

Jeremy meets AVP facilitators in Kenya

AVP in Africa is only standing on one leg.
Jeremy attended the Friends World Committee for Consultation - Africa Section representatives in Mabanga, Kenya in February. He was fortunate to meet AVP facilitators from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. "The Tripod we used only had one functioning leg which we realized was a good image of AVP in Africa. In each region AVP only happens sporadically when there are funds and we only meet by chance when we attend other meetings. We have a good product, AVP, that we believe in and know makes a difference to individuals and organizations but we are missing the other two legs - funds and an organization."
The AVPers got together and worked on ideas for a proposal for a joint funding proposal and an organization to represent our interests while recognizing our autonomy. "We set up a task team to take the idea forward and are aiming to finalize the proposal by the AVP Internatiional Gatherning at the end of August."

Guidelines for posting articles

Greetings and peace
Welcome to this exciting new venture of cooperatively writing our Phaphama stories for our new blogspot.
This will provide a permanent and interesting record that can be shared all over the world.
The stories can also be used for local newsletters and other reports.
Stories should preferably be 100-200 words with a photo or two. The occasional longer story of 600 words with photos would also be good.
Stories can be of phaphama activities, how people have used transforming power in their lives, theory and practice of nonviolence and anything else that would be of direct interest to phaphama members and participants.

If members would like to post articles themselves they can email me and I will add them to the group list that can make postings. If you just send me the article and photos I will post them for you.
Expecting the best.