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There have been efforts to introduce AVP in over 80 countries. Some of those efforts have taken root and developed into flourishing AVP programs. Others are perhaps waiting for new energy to start again. The following histories of AVP around the world reflect our knowledge at this time.
Sources consulted include: Country reports, documents and communications with AVP International, AVP websites and other online sources, The Transformer (publication of AVP USA), AVP Directory 2008 (edited by Maji Peterx), “This We Can Do” (2015 Backhouse Lecture, Sally Herzfeld)
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AVP was first introduced in Afghanistan in 2011. Later that year, workshops were held with mediators and legal advisors helping women involved in domestic conflicts. AVP returned in 2013 to hold workshops with teachers, religious scholars and community workers committed to raising awareness of women’s rights.
Three facilitators from South Africa introduced AVP in Angola in November 2002 in partnership with a local organisation, Angola2000. AVP work continued until 2008.
We have received no report of AVP activity in Angola since 2008.
AVP Georgia facilitated initial workshops in Armenia in 2014.
We are not aware of any additional details.
AVP was introduced in Australia in 1991. Early AVP work included an extensive school program, improving school cultures and behaviours.
Teachers were trained in AVP/HIP (Help Increase Peace) and restorative practice. Another program, Together in Peace adapted the HIP model for children aged 4-8. The Transforming Conflict Course, a derivative of AVP/HIP for single teacher classrooms, reached over 50,000 teacher’s college students.
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AVP New South Wales developed a concise manual and a different way of understanding the AVP mandala through a set of keys.
AVP began in Queensland in 1991, working with prisons and the general community. One year later, the New South Wales group was formed and running school and prison programs. Since then, the New South Wales group has moved into working with the general community, refugees and families.
The Victoria group was established in 1993 with a prison program, but has moved into holding workshops with the general community. The Tasmania group was also established that year with a prison program, although this group is currently working with refugee populations.
The Western Australia group was formed in 1994 working in a variety of settings, including prisons, schools, refugee populations and remote aboriginal communities. The Western Australian Curriculum Council endorsed AVP in 2008 for academic credit.
Two groups were formed in 1995. One in the Australian Capital Territory in 1995 to conduct workshops in schools and prisons, although today, this group holds occasional community workshops. The other was a South Australia group, which held workshops in schools and the general community, however this group is no longer active.
Groups were formed in the Northern Territory in Alice Springs (2001) and Darwin (2003) primarily holding general community workshops.
Formed in 1999, AVP Australia functions as a support network linking the different autonomous regional groups. National gatherings bring facilitators together to share experiences and ideas. The first of these gatherings was held in 1994.
Interfaith workshops were held across Australia around 2007.
Australian facilitators were involved in initial workshops conducted in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Nepal, Afghanistan and India.
AVP Georgia facilitated initial workshops in Azerbaijan in 2014.
We are not aware of any additional details.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Belarus, we are not aware of the details.
The first AVP workshop was held in Brussels in 2017. AVP returned to Belgium in January 2019. Although these general community workshops have been small in numbers, there is enthusiasm to continue the process to possibly build an AVP group here.
Initial workshops and trainings were held in 2011. Support for AVP in Belize was renewed in 2018.
AVP was introduced in La Paz in the mid-2000s with facilitators from Ecuador. A few years later, PAV Bolivia was supporting the introduction of AVP in Peru. Early support came from the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund. An AVP program was started in a local prison in 2010, which quickly expanded to other men’s and women’s correctional facilities. Other programs include working with youth at a bilingual centre and with a prison fellowship group. In 2017, PAV Bolivia produced an extensive study on the effectiveness of AVP in Bolivian prisons.
*AVP Bolivia became an officially recognised member of AVP International in November 2018.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Initial workshops were held in 1999 with facilitators from Croatia and the United States. Within five years, AVP workshops were being held with schools non-governmental organisations, prisons, police and the general community. The local group was active until around 2011.
Nine formerly incarcerated persons were trained by facilitators from Namibia.
We are not aware of any additional details.
AVP was introduced in Brazil in 2000. Since then, three AVP groups have been formed, Serpaz in the Porto Alegre area in the south, Ecopaz in Guapore (3 hours northwest of Porto Alegre), and Goias near Brasilia.
A 2012 project arranged through the Sao Leopoldo City Government involved holding mini-workshops with teachers in nineteen local schools. The goal of the project was to attend to the need of caring for the caregivers. Mini-workshops were also held with academics and professors at the University of Passo Fundo, which led to full AVP workshops for students.
The following year, mini-workshops continued with teachers and Basic workshops were held with students as young as 11 years of age.
In 2016, workshops were held at the University of Passo Fundo, School of Theology, and with communities, public schools, faith groups and social movements. Ecopaz held awareness workshops and AVP roundtables discussing topics related to violence, culture of peace and spirituality.
Britain was one of the first places outside the United States to start an AVP program. In the early 1990s, general community workshops were being held in Derby, Bristol, London and Oxford and an AVP Britain Coordinating Group was formed in 1993.
AVP Britain became an independent registered charity organisation in 2001, supporting local or regional AVP groups. In 2008, there were eleven groups in Britain.
The 2000 AVP World Gathering was held in Oxford.
By 2008, the focus of AVP work in Britain was on victims and perpetrators of violence, developing a tolerant and respectful society, learning from diversity. There is general acceptance that violence, and particularly domestic violence, is not uncommon in Britain, but getting victims or perpetrators to accept that they have a role in it is very difficult.
A distance learning course, ‘Facing up to Conflict’, based on the Basic workshop, was developed in 2011. This course is offered at prisons where AVP does not have access or resources to run workshops.
In 2016, most workshops were being held in the general community, with a few in prisons and a couple at a university. The Northwest group works closely with local social services authorities. Other regions work with drug and alcohol centres, caregivers and veteran’s organisations.
A national gathering is held each year where facilitators share skills and ideas, and take part in additional training on a variety of topics.
AVP Britain has developed its own set of AVP manuals.
Workshops are held where there is the commitment, energy and enthusiasm of volunteers to coordinate a local AVP group.
British facilitators have been involved in workshops in Russia, India and various African nations.
AVP was introduced in Burundi in 2002 with the support of the Burundi Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) and the African Great Lakes Initiative of Friends Peace Teams. A facilitator from Uganda joined two facilitators from the United States to hold the first AVP workshops in Burundi.
Around 2008, the group was working, among others, with ex-combatants and ex-child soldiers.
AVP in Burundi is the basis for the work of the organisation THARS (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services).
AVP has been used in reconciliation work between people returning after the end of the civil war in 2004 and those that stayed. In 2010, THARS trained leaders for the Peace Committee with participants from Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
THARS holds AVP workshops with formerly incarcerated, victims of torture, demobilised persons, peace clubs, political party leaders at different levels, and university students.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Cambodia in 2012-2014, we are not aware of the details.
AVP was introduced to Canada in Ontario and British Columbia in 1989 and a national AVP organisation was created in 1992. AVP groups in Canada follow a structure of area or regional councils.
Most AVP work in Canada has focused on prisons. One such program was the subject of a television documentary, “In the Belly of the Beast” (CBC Man Alive series, 1991).
There was an active AVP program in elementary schools in Ontario in the 1990s.
In 2016, AVP was being held in federal prisons, schools, with young offenders, and with the general community. In Alberta, AVP is included in a post-prison learning enhanced employment program. Workshops have also been held for businesses, faith groups, community organisations, street gangs, halfway houses, women’s shelters, and many others.
An annual general meeting is held each year to address the business of the organisation.
The first workshops were held in Colombia in 1991, although it was about ten years later when Friends Peace Teams trained and supported a team of local facilitators.
In 2006, a team of four Colombian and two USA facilitators conducted workshops in Sincelejo and Monteria in northern Colombia and in Bogota. Participants in Sincelejo were mainly Catholic community outreach workers and teachers.
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These facilitators were committed to establishing PAV Colombia as a registered organisation.
The AVP style of experiential education fits in very well in Colombia. Participants regularly praise it as a better way to learn. “The different churches can work for a common cause that isn’t in contradiction to their beliefs”.
Colombia has been affected by armed conflict for many years, experiencing a general human rights crisis and economic issues. The political violence in 2008 increased the forced migration population to more than three million people. The living conditions of displaced people were so poor that violence was a common way to interact among families and communities.
Workshops were initially arranged by contacting people interested in working on non-violence in their communities, and also school teachers implementing non-violence and peace subjects in their teaching. PAV Colombia is invited by organisations and individuals working in poor communities where domestic abuse and family violence abound.
In 2014, PAV Colombia was working with Catholic nuns, victims of armed conflict, teachers, former combatants, internally displaced persons, non-governmental organisations, Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous groups, university students, community mothers (who look after children while parents go to work), prisoners, police officers, farmers, state employees and young people.
In 2016, PAV Colombia was working with faith-based and secular groups, professionals, elementary and high school students, retirees, women, victims of domestic violence, displaced families, people demobilised by the armed conflict, teachers, community leaders, workers and community mothers, afro and indigenous groups.
Also in 2016, dialogues and proposals were initiated to facilitate AVP and trauma health workshops in the so-called “red zones”.
The first AVP workshop was held in 1990 with La Reforma prison staff. Following this, workshops were held with a women’s jail, correctional officers, men’s prison, and a Catholic group that assists children of inmates.
The first AVP workshops were held in 1993 with Bosnian refugees. The two facilitators visiting from the United States were invited to work with the teens and staff at a refugee camp near Zagreb. Before the facilitators arrived, a youth centre had been built by adult volunteers for the teens, who had no part in the planning or construction. The teens trashed the youth centre. AVP listened to the youth and built a sense of community. The adults were convinced to listen to the youth as well and fears were resolved. A new youth centre was approved and young people participated in its construction.
Although an introductory workshop was held for the United Nations in 1990, AVP was properly introduced to Cuba in 1997. Workshops were held in schools and with faith groups until the early 2010s. Efforts were made in 2018 to restart an AVP program in Cuba.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Dominican Republic, we are not aware of the details.
AVP was introduced in 2005, holding workshops in Bukavu, Kamanyola and Bunyakiri. Between 2006 and 2014, over 4,000 people participated in AVP workshops in North and South Kivu. Workshops have been held with demobilised and displaced persons, local authorities, women victims of violence, and leaders of different faith and ethnic communities. Some of the achievements of AVP in DR Congo include reducing popular or vigilante justice in small communities and improving family harmony.
AVP was introduced in 1997 with the support of facilitators from the United States and Canada. The first participants were active in human rights organisations.
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AVP was started in Loja at the end of 1999, holding workshops with women, students, sex workers and health promoters in rural areas.
In 2003, Ecuadorian facilitators were involved in the first workshops held in La Paz, Bolivia.
Since 2006, there has been an AVP program at Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar. The Master’s in Human Rights and Democracy in Latin America program included practice facilitation after completing AVP workshops.
An agreement was signed with the Ecuadorian Red Cross in 2007 to hold workshops with youth leaders. Unfortunately the arrangement was soon discontinued due to staff changes at the Red Cross.
The first PAV Ecuador National Gathering was held in October 2009.
In 2015, AVP was being held with a wide variety of community settings and also with university students and staff.
PAV Ecuador operates as a network and its activities arise from the actions or initiatives of its members.
*AVP Ecuador became an officially recognised member of AVP International in February 2017.
Initial workshops were held in 1991. Friends Peace Teams began to support AVP in El Salvador in 2005.
In 2015, PAV El Salvador was working with persons with disabilities, survivors of civil war, leadership in at-risk communities, teens and youth, communities, faith groups, organisations, women’s groups. An initial workshop with Plan International was also held in 2015.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Ethiopia, we are not aware of the details.
The most recent efforts to start an AVP group in France began in 2015 in Grenoble. Since then, workshops have also been held in Paris.
AVP was introduced in Georgia in 1998. Ten years later, a formal AVP group was established. Workshops have been held with schools, communities, internally displaced persons, refugees, homes for children and the elderly, universities, government and non-governmental organisations. Georgian facilitators have been involved in facilitating introductory workshops in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and participated in a peace-making international camp for 40 children on the Black Sea cost in August 2016.
AVP was introduced in Germany by a team of Canadian facilitators in 1993. The next year, Germans trained in England led the first Basic workshop in Germany.
Workshops are mostly held in prisons, although some efforts have been made to hold open invitation or general community workshops and with schools. In 2015, workshops were held in universities for the first time.
Workshops in prisons started in Hamburg in 1995, in 1996 in Hannover and 1997 in Düsseldorf.
AVP Germany became a registered organisation in 2003 under the name Project Alternativen zur Gewalt and holds an annual meeting of facilitators to review the year’s activities and plan for next year, offer facilitators advanced training, and address the business of the organisation.
The founders of the John William Montessori School in Kumasi brought in AVP as a tool for dealing with conflict and building a sense of community. AVP offers a forum for people of differing backgrounds to come together and start to heal differences. AVP facilitators from the United States were invited to hold AVP workshops at the school during the summer holidays. The goal was to use AVP as enrichment for the school’s teachers and to build community between teachers and parents.
The facilitators that completed their training in 2000 then met monthly to practice their facilitation skills.
In 1991, facilitators from the United States responded to a request from a Mennonite Church in Guatemala to hold a workshop with their pastoral counsellors, looking for ways to deal with the violence of government troops, arrests, disappearances and killings.
In 2007, the Peacebuilding en las Americas initiative of Friends Peace Teams began to support an AVP program in Guatemala.
The AVP World Gathering was held in Guatemala in 2011.
In 2015, workshops were held with communities, schools, juvenile detention centre staff, Plan International and American Friends Service Committee.
The first AVP workshops in Haiti were held in 1998 with facilitators from Canada and the United States, supported by the organisation Alternative Chance. The participants in these first workshops were mainly formerly incarcerated persons in the United States who had been returned to Haiti.
AVP was initially introduced in 1991 at the request of the Quaker Meeting in Tegucigalpa. That first Basic workshop was held over five evening sessions.
In 2010, AVP returned to Honduras during a historic time of much social turmoil.
Workshops have, primarily, been held with women, helping to empower them, and also with youth living in violent areas of San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba. Some AVP work has been done with indigenous groups and in prisons.
The AVP HK Foundation was established in February 2003 after initial workshops were held the previous year. Early support came from the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, which continues to organise workshops from time to time.
In 2008, workshops were being held with schools and local organisations.
The Foundation closed in November 2017, largely due to the challenges of managing an organisation without paid staff.
AVP was introduced in Hungary by a Canadian facilitator in 1993. The following year, workshops were held in medium and maximum security prisons by local facilitators and work began on translating the Basic manual into Hungarian.
We are aware of more recent AVP work in Hungary and hope to share details soon.
AVP was introduced in Madhya Pradesh State in November 1996 by a group of facilitators from Britain and Australia. This same team returned the following year to hold workshops at the India Peace Centre. This established a pattern of facilitators from Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States visiting India each year.
Workshops have been held with social workers and students, officers of the social justice department, adolescent offenders and prisoners.
AVP is aligned with the concept of Satyagraha, longing for a life based on truth for achieving a peaceful and just society.
AVP was introduced in Indonesia in September 2005, one week after the Peace Accord was signed in an area that was the heart of the war in East Aceh.
In 2015, facilitators were working with teachers and children, particularly preschool parents and teachers. Workshops have also been held with different faith groups building a base for communication and openness between these groups at the community level.
AVP in Indonesia is supported by the Friends Peace Teams Asia-West Pacific Initiative.
Introductory workshops were held in 2018 and there are hopes to build relationships with universities and peace institutes in Iran to establish an AVP group.
We hope to be able to share details of the AVP work in Iraq soon.
Immigration from Eastern Europe and Africa plus an economic boom in the 1990s and 2000s brought about social changes, including issues of integrating people from these new communities into the existing communities.
AVP began in Ireland in 1994 and workshops are held mostly in prisons with some workshops in schools and in the community.
The 2014 AVP World Gathering was held in Dublin, Ireland.
*AVP Ireland became an officially recognised member of AVP International in November 2016.
The first AVP workshops were held in 1992 with teachers, social workers and peace workers.
AVP returned to Israel in 2007 to work with women’s organisations and teachers.
The message from the community, families and organisations is that they just want the violence to stop and they want their children to be safe. The Light and Livelies activities in AVP workshops have helped young people to be more open to deepening their awareness and sharing.
The nonviolence organisation Matzmichim has staff trained in AVP to take AVP content and methods into schools.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Jamaica, we are not aware of the details.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Japan, we are not aware of the details.
The first workshops were held in Amman in 2008-2009, working with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees in Jordan, as well as Jordanians. AVP returned to Jordan in 2018 with a team of facilitators from Britain, the United States and Jordan. The new team of facilitators, based in Irbid, is visiting local non-governmental organisations to introduce AVP and explore potential partnerships.
The first workshops in Kenya were held in Western Province in 1995, led by a team of facilitators from the United States and New Zealand. The AVP group in Western Province operates as the organisation Friends in Peace and Community Development, which was formed in 1995 to address the effects of ethnic cleansing in Kenya and to support refugees from Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo.
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In 2002, AVP facilitators from Uganda held workshops and trainings in Nyanza Province.
The AVP Committee at Friends International Centre in Nairobi was responsible for starting AVP in the Nairobi area in 2003 and in Mombasa in 2005.
AVP Kenya Trust was registered under the name Alternatives to Violence (Kenya) Trust in May 2008. This Nairobi-based AVP group is supported by the American Friends Service Committee. Their work focuses on four program areas, all of which are influenced by AVP. Using the Help Increase the Peace Program (HIPP), AVP Kenya Trust is building a culture of peace and nonviolence in local schools.
In 2015, AVP Kenya Trust was working with prisons, schools and communities, although the prison and community work was suspended due to lack of funding. A new AVP prison program was started in 2018 with support from the organisation Irish Quaker Faith in Action.
Other AVP work in Kenya has included universities, refugee camps and addressing post-election violence.
The 2008 AVP World Gathering was held in Kakamega, Kenya and AVP Kenya hosted the first Africa Regional Gathering in January 2014.
*AVP Kenya Trust became an officially recognised member of AVP International in May 2018.
In January 2008, two German facilitators introduced AVP to Korea.
In 2016, workshops were being held in communities with peace activists, faith groups and individuals interested in peace building.
A national gathering is held each year, open to all workshop participants, while facilitators’ meetings are held twice a year to address the business of the organisation and hold additional training for facilitators.
Korean facilitators were involved in workshops in Cambodia from 2012 to 2014.
In March 2008, a team of AVP facilitators from Canada held two Basic and various introductory workshops in Bishkek and Tokmok. The participants in one of these workshops were residents of the Chance Rehabilitation Centre along with representatives of an organisation working to support ex-offenders.
The AVP Liberia Students Initiative was started after a group of young people completed their AVP training in 2010. The group became a registered organisation in 2014.
In 2014, the Students Initiative established peace clubs in various local elementary and high schools.
In 2016, the Students Initiative held workshops in schools and communities, and was working with the National Elections Commission providing civic and voter education using AVP methodology.
The Students Initiative has held workshops with students, motorcyclists, community members, and inmates in Monrovia.
There are two AVP groups in Liberia and we hope to share details of the AVP work the other group has done soon.
*AVP Liberia Students Initiative became an officially recognised member of AVP International in September 2016.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Lithuania, we are not aware of the details.
The first workshops were held in 1999.
We are not aware of additional details.
Introductory workshops were held in 2015 with facilitators from Singapore.
We are not aware of additional details.
AVP was first introduced in Mexico in 1994, however it was not until six years later that the first facilitators completed their training. The organisation AVP Mexico was officially registered in 2001.
Workshops have been held with faith groups, human rights workers, non-governmental organisations, at-risk communities, prisons, and the general community.
Some AVP-related work has been done in northern border cities and elsewhere in Mexico led by facilitators that are not associated with AVP Mexico.
Facilitators from Brazil introduced AVP in Mozambique in 2018.
AVP was first introduced in Namibia in 2006 and the Association for the Alternatives to Violence Project in Namibia was established five years later. The work of this group has mainly focused on youth, prisons, refugees and gender-based violence.
AVP Namibia is officially recognised as a training/service provider by the Ministry of Safety and Security to hold workshops in correctional facilities and with refugees.
The organisation follows a ‘Connecting Circle Structure’, where a Management Circle is the coordinating, executing and administrative body and an Advisory Circle provides guidance and support. Additional circles are added to fulfil a particular task or address an area of interest. These additional circles are linked to the circle that established them.
There are three categories of membership. An Ordinary member has completed the three levels of AVP workshops and is committed to both the organisation and to practicing the AVP values and principles. An Associate member has not completed their AVP training, but is active in similar fields of work and is committed to working with and supporting AVP Namibia. An Honorary member shares the organisation’s vision and supports AVP Namibia through moral, technical, financial and other forms of assistance. A members gathering is held each year.
In 2013, facilitators from AVP Namibia were guests on the television shows Good Morning Namibia and Tupopyeni, with one show dedicated to AVP.
*AVP Namibia became an officially recognised member of AVP International in March 2018.
The first AVP workshops in Nepal were held in April 2008 in Kathmandu led by Australian facilitators.
In September 2012, workshops were held with a Bhutanese refugee camp and in 2013, AVP began working in Pokhara with the support of Children-Nepal, holding workshops with public school teachers, students, parents and the general community. In May 2014, AVP began in Surkhet.
AVP Nepal has developed its own Youth manual.
In 2016, workshops were held with survivors of sex trafficking, Bhutanese refugees, addicts, teachers and students at public schools and universities, community-based organisations, and faith groups.
AVP in Nepal is supported by the Friends Peace Teams Asia-West Pacific Initiative.
AVP Nepal registered as a charity organisation in July 2017 and hosted the AVP World Gathering in Kathmandu later that same year.
AVP activity in the Netherlands ceased in early 2015. We hope to share details of the AVP work prior to 2015 soon.
AVP was introduced in 1991 and a first annual meeting was held the following year bringing together facilitators from the north and south islands. The AVP Maori Focus group was started in 2011.
Workshops are held with the general community.
The AVP World Gathering was held in New Zealand in 2004.
We are aware of more recent AVP work in New Zealand and hope to share details soon.
The first AVP workshops were held in 1994, achieving early success working with political groups that have been traditionally violent. Connections with government contacts, including the deputy commissioner for the national police and former director of the national penitentiary system led to the first AVP program in a Nicaraguan prison.
We are aware of more recent AVP work in Nicaragua and hope to share details soon.
AVP was introduced in Nigeria in 1998.
For many years, violence has been how grievances are expressed and conflicts are resolved. Destruction of lives and property was considered the most effective way of protesting unpopular policies/ideas. Election violence is also prevalent as well as domestic violence.
AVP Nigeria developed a program of corporate workshops, tailored towards addressing conflict in the workplace.
This group produced an AVP manual contextualised to Nigerian society, where the Transforming Power queries were written as proverbs to speak to the local culture.
The AVP World Gathering was held in Nigeria in 2002.
We are aware of more recent AVP work in Nigeria and hope to share details soon.
We hope to be able to share details of the AVP work in Norway soon.
AVP was first introduced in Palestine in 2007. Workshops have been held with women, youth and social services workers. Work in Hebron is supported by a counselling, development and community health organisation and in the West Bank, by a nonviolence movement. Workshops in May 2015 were held with representatives from non-governmental organisations.
In April 2016, workshops were held with students at Gaza University.
The AVP Palestine organisation has been working in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since 2014, and was formally registered in August 2017, headquartered in Gaza City supporting AVP programs in Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah.
*AVP Palestine became an officially recognised member of AVP International in October 2016.
Papua New Guinea
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Papua New Guinea, we are not aware of the details.
AVP was introduced in Paraguay in 2019 with facilitators from Mexico and Brazil. The initial workshops were sponsored by Plan International to explore building a local AVP group.
Efforts to introduce AVP in Peru began in 2011 with facilitators from Bolivia. Over the next few years, workshops were held in Arequipa, Tacna, Moquegua, Puno and Llave primarily with faith groups. An introductory workshop was held in a Puno prison.
In 2018 and 2019, facilitators from Bolivia, the United States and Peru returned to explore building a local group focusing on workshops in prison and with rural communities.
AVP in the Philippines began in 2013 with the first workshop held in Bohol Province, just 4 days after a devastating earthquake hit the area. Participants at the first workshop included resident refugees, an environmental lawyer, civil servants and community workers of the provincial government’s community empowerment program called the Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM). It was facilitated by an international team with facilitators from Australia, Indonesia, the United States and the Philippines.Less than 2 years later, AVP Philippines had its own team of facilitators, and has since conducted workshops in at least 6 different cities in the country. In 2019, there are active communities in 3 cities, with regular practice sessions for apprenticing aspirant facilitators. Workshops are held in various settings such as communities, offices, schools, universities, and prisons.
The first AVP workshops in Romania were held in 2011 in Gheorgheni with facilitators from Hungary. The AVP Romania Association was formed one year later.
In 2013, workshops were held with teachers, employees of social agencies, and in the community.
In 2015 and 2016, introductory workshops were held in a residential home for youth in Miercurea Ciuc, which led to discussions with the Ministry of Social Assistance and Child Protection in Hargita to hold workshops with young people in the child protection system.
AVP workshops in 2017 were held in communities and schools, and with the Hungarian Teacher’s Association of Romania.
AVP Romania holds an annual meeting to evaluate their activities and make plans for the next year.
A major challenge in Romania is dispelling the fear people have about talking about violence.
*AVP Romania Association became an officially recognised member of AVP International in August 2018.
A visit by four US facilitators in 1994 included one and two-day workshops with doctors, nurses and administrative staff at a hospital, a Quaker worship group, and nuclear plant executives. Another workshop was held at a prison training institute.
In 1996, international facilitators held Basic workshops with students and staff of teacher’s colleges.
The first meeting of AVP Russia was held in December 1996.
By 2008, AVP workshops had been held with youth, refugees, psychologists, social workers, and with children in orphanages. AVP groups in Moscow and Lipetsk built working relationships with the local military and also held workshops with army recruits. These workshops proved to be useful in solving the problem of aggression and violence faced by many in Russian society and in the army.
The high level of poverty and alcoholism in Russia commonly results in a high level of violence. One in four women has suffered domestic violence at some point in her life.
Army recruits typically suffer bullying. Hundreds are killed or commit suicide because of this, while thousands run away and even more are left psychologically scarred.
AVP work in Russia is supported by Friends House Moscow.
In 1996, one million Hutus and Tutsis were killed in 100 days. Ten years later, 120,000 people were in prison in Rwanda for genocide-related crimes. The ‘gacaca’ process, similar to the Truth Commissions in South Africa, was used to deal with the justice and prison systems being overwhelmed. Over 1,100 gacaca judges participated in AVP workshops. One of judges commented, “Perhaps if we had AVP before, we wouldn’t have had the genocide”.
AVP was introduced in Rwanda in 2001 with facilitators from the United States and Uganda.
Between 2001 and 2006, the group was working with the gacaca judges, demobilised soldiers, formerly incarcerated and victims.
AVP has helped people to establish safety and trust to enable them to tell the truth and testify to what they saw and did during the genocide.
In 2016, AVP Rwanda was holding workshops in prisons, universities, communities and refugee camps, planning to soon start AVP with election observer groups.
AVP Rwanda hosted the AVP Africa Regional Gathering in 2016.
The first Samoa Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops began with thirteen Samoans and one Palagi/Pakeha—(Generous) Graeme who travelled from Whakatane, New Zealand to complete his training in Samoa. Participants comprised: three women (one young woman in her 20’s); and eleven men who were Returnees, NGO representatives, Pastors, Director of a Trust and an international consultant from NZ.
The Samoa Deputy Prime Minister addressed the participants at the end of the training, which was filmed by local television. Also, a local newspaper printed an article about AVP being introduced to Samoa.
In 2015, workshops were being held in the community in Singapore and West Malaysia.
Basic and Advanced workshops have been held with Catholic nuns as part of their personal development program.
Although AVP work in Singapore is on hiatus, we hope to be able to share more details of the history of AVP in Singapore soon.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in the Solomon Islands, we are not aware of the details.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Spain, we are not aware of the details.
AVP was introduced in South Africa in 1995 with facilitators from Britain and New Zealand.
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Despite legislation to the contrary, schools continue to be places where corporal punishment is widely used and where bullying, substance abuse, lack of a culture of learning and the carrying of weapons are prevalent.
There are five recognised AVP groups in South Africa.
AVP Eastern Cape was planning a series of Basic workshops for teachers and principals in 2008 as part of a 5-year research project at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Around this time, AVP Eastern Cape was incorporating AVP into Outward Bound activities. In 2015, the group was working with community and non-governmental organisations, schools and occasionally with universities. That same year, AVP Eastern Cape hosted the first AVP South Africa gathering in Port Elizabeth.
The Free State group was formed in 2015 and the following year was starting to work with communities.
After organising workshops for a few years, the organisation Phaphama Initiatives in Gauteng province formally adopted AVP as one of its core programs in 2002. Phaphama initiated a program in 2004 to work with corporations and government departments. Phaphama began a peer mediation program in 2005 with a view to establishing similar programs in schools where there is AVP. Around 2008, Phaphama was providing AVP Basic workshops for the Damietta Initiative, a religious enterprise whose mission is to build up the theory and practice of nonviolence, reconciliation and care for creation at local and national levels throughout Africa. In 2015-2016, workshops were being held with community and non-governmental organisations, schools, and there were a few general community workshops.
In 2005, the Peace Education Program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Adult Education held workshops with grassroots peace activists. The participants were mainly unemployed Zulu-speaking adults, motivated to make a contribution to peace and stability in their communities. Ten years later, the Centre for Adult Education was doing research on AVP. The AVP KwaZulu-Natal Facilitator Network was working with communities, schools, universities and non-governmental organisations in 2015, and prison workshops were starting. The following year, this group added workshops with tertiary post-graduates and youth to their AVP work. The KwaZulu-Natal Peace Club program is supported by Mennonite Central Committee. AVP KwaZulu-Natal hosted the second AVP South Africa gathering in June 2017, cementing the idea of AVP South Africa as an increasingly coherent national body.
In 2015-2016, AVP Western Cape was working with schools, non-governmental organisations, youth care centres, Quakers, prostitutes and prisoners.
Other AVP work has included gender reconciliation workshops.
The AVP World Gathering was held in South Africa in 2006.
South African facilitators have been involved in initial workshops in Angola, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Ongoing civil war forced many refugees and internally displaced persons to move to other parts of the country and abroad. Their return to South Sudan brought a variety of additional conflicts for the South Sudanese society already strained by its post-war challenges.
AVP was introduced in January 2007 in Juba by the Organisation for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD) and has been seen as a crucial tool for reconciliation and community trust building.
AVP has increased the ability of youth, women and community leaders to transform conflicts and violence through skills obtained in these workshops. Some workshop participants further lobbied and advocated for a violence free South Sudan through national television programs and social media leading to wider awareness of AVP principles and values. AVP was featured in a special television program, which was repeated three times in late 2015. AVP was also highlighted in a radio talk show about reconciliation and healing.
AVP was introduced in December 2005 in Khartoum by a German facilitator and the following year, sixteen local facilitators form the AVP Forum Sudan.
In 2014, the group was working with youth, internally displaced persons, centres for street children, prisoners, social workers, youth and students.
Other accomplishments include at least three indigenous organisations having incorporated AVP into their activities around 2008.
The first workshops were held in 2001.
We are not aware of additional details.
Although there have been some efforts made to introduce AVP in Switzerland, we are not aware of the details.
The first AVP workshops in Tanzania were held in September 2006 in the Kigoma region. Four years later, the organisation Peace Centre and Community Development was formed to promote conflict prevention, democracy, human rights, and poverty reduction in Tanzania. AVP work has included interfaith workshops. Tanzanian facilitators translated the Basic manual into Kiswahili in 2017-2018.
Formal AVP activity in Tanzania ceased in the early 2010s, although there is hope that AVP will start up again soon.
The first workshops were held in 1997.
We are not aware of additional details.
AVP began in Uganda in 1995 with facilitators from the United States. Around 2008, workshops were being held with police officers and prison wardens, and also members of parliament and local politicians. AVP Uganda receives support from Makerere University and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The third AVP Africa Regional Gathering was held in Uganda in November 2018.
*AVP Uganda became an officially recognised member of AVP International in October 2019.
Initial workshops were held in Odessa in 2005 with the support of Friends House Moscow. Other partners include This Child Here and the Odessa Regional Mediation Group.
AVP Ukraine registered as the organisation “Open Circle, Territory of Possibilities” in 2015.
In 2016, AVP Ukraine was holding workshops in a pre-trial prison for juvenile offenders, a women’s penal colony, schools, temporarily displaced persons, psychologists, social workers, volunteers of non-profit or charity organisations, children’s rehabilitation centres and boarding schools.
In August 2016, AVP Ukraine facilitators participated in a peace-making international camp for 40 children on the Black Sea coast of Georgia.
*AVP Ukraine became an officially recognised member of AVP International in February 2019.
United States of America
AVP began in Greenhaven prison in New York State in 1975, but was not organised on a national level until 1993. At that time, there were AVP programs in 41 US states. From 1993 to 1998, AVP USA tried to work with a more traditional structure (paid director and officers) but this limited how local AVP groups perceived the national organisation. There was very little commitment to the larger network. The organisation then moved to a decentralised, relatively flat structure with no paid staff or formal hierarchy of governance. The work of the AVP USA organisation is done through committees, with volunteer leadership. AVP USA serves as a support organisation for local groups and regional organisations across the country.
A Leadership Fellows program was introduced in 2016 to help newer members of AVP USA learn about the leadership structure and mentor under a current officer of the national organisation.
In 2014, a Peace Fellows project was started to help young people get involved with AVP USA and present individual research and projects at the Annual National Gathering.
The AVP USA National Gathering is the main way that AVP USA provides ongoing learning to the facilitator base.
Although AVP is held primarily in prisons, workshops are also being held with community groups, faith groups, and in workplace and school settings.
US Virgin Islands
We are aware of AVP work in the US Virgin Islands and hope to share details soon.
AVP Zimbabwe started as AVP Bulawayo in 2016, with the support of facilitators from Namibia and South Africa. The group was registered as a trust in June 2018 under the name Alternatives to Violence Project Zimbabwe.