Alternative to Violence Programme (AVP)

AVP started in 1975 as a collaboration between prisoners and Quaker prison visitors in the USA. The programme, which is today widely used in correctional facilities around the world, is now also used in many other contexts. AVP is a world-wide network of (mainly) volunteer trainers doing this work and sharing their experiences with each other.

AVP was introduced to South Africa in 1995 by three AVP facilitators from New Zealand and the UK. A series of three workshops (Basic, Advanced and Training for Facilitators) was offered to a group of people drawn from different NGOs and FBOs that had a focus on peace work. Our founding members Jabu Mashinini and Judy Connors attended these three courses and there met Colin Glen who became part of the Phaphama AVP family. Colin then took on the task of coordinating the AVP, which for a few years was run on a very small scale. Judy and Jabu were also involved in facilitating occasional AVP workshops.

AVP has grown to become the nucleus of all our conflict transformation work. Like all our programmes, its broad focus is the building of human relationships based on trust, mutual understanding and respect. It contributes to the building of a more peaceful society in South Africa, and indeed in the whole world. AVP has a strong element of empowering disadvantaged communities and individuals to lead productive lives.

A full cycle of AVP training includes three sets of workshops, Basic, Advanced and Training for Facilitator (T4F).

The AVP Basic workshop is done over a course of two full days. It works on five pillars, Affirmation, Communication, Cooperation, Building Community and Trust, and Transforming Power.

The AVP Advanced workshop is also done over a couple of days. Participants explore the training they have undergone in the AVP Basic in depth as a conflict transformation and violence prevention mechanism.

AVP T4F is done over three days for those who would like to deepen their knowledge as facilitators of AVP and after having already experienced both the preceding workshops. After receiving this three-day workshop, facilitators go through an internship under the guidance of experienced facilitators until they gain enough facilitating experience and confidence to organise and conduct AVP workshops on their own.

Since 1995 we have done AVP workshops for more than 50 000 persons in NGOs, corporations, schools, prisons, and interested individuals in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Kenya, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Netherlands. At least 2000 of those who have participated in our AVP workshops went on to become freelance AVP facilitators.

Click here to read about the impact story of AVP as shared by Thuli Ndlovu, an AVP participant who now has almost two decades of experience as a free-lance AVP facilitator.

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