ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT (AVP)

Project Aim

To reduce the level of violence within organisations and communities

Background

AVP originated in Greenhaven prison in New York in 1975. From this base AVP has grown into non-profit, volunteer driven movement working worldwide. Methods are simple, well proven and well documented.

In January 2009 QPC took over the prison work at Pollsmoor Correctional Facility in Cape Town from NGO Phaphama Initiatives which had started AVP in the Medium B prison (male, long term prisoners) in 2005.The Female prison was soon included. Work continued using volunteer and inmate facilitators through to 2009. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) was supportive and the Parole Board enthusiastic. By the end of 2008, some 1500 prisoners had been trained and strong (inmate) facilitator teams built up. These ran the workshops and acquired an excellent reputation with the Department of Correctional Services, the Parole Board and, more important, the prisoners themselves.

In 2009, QPC was invited by Correctional Services to extend AVP into the two “youth” prisons on the site.

QPC presently offers AVP in three ways:-

*      within the Non-Violent Schools Campaign

*      in Pollsmoor prison

*      in the Community

What AVP does

AVP training is practical and experiential-neither academic nor theoretical. It helps people to recognise the sources of violent behaviour within themselves and how to avoid and deal with violence in others.

AVP workshops use the shared experience of participants, interactive exercises, games and role plays to examine ways in which we respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustration and anger can lead to aggressive behaviour and violence. 

For individuals it provides affirmation, self confidence and communication skills. It provides needed skills for the victims of violence and, for those considering the use of violence; it provides more powerful, non-violent choices to meet legitimate needs.

Target Groups

In the high schools the target groups are first, teachers from the Non-Violent Schools Campaign, with the aim of developing them as AVP Facilitators, so that they can train (the second target) members of the NVSC peace clubs. AVP has developed a version for the younger children from primary schools and this will be used with them.

In the prisons the main focus is on youth (ages 14 to 21) both sentenced and unsentenced. The programme is also offered (as previously) in the female prison and to the adult male medium-term offenders.

From 2010 QPC will also be training prison warders so that they are able to run workshops in their own sections thereby creating a multilevel approach to the culture, nature and levels of violence within the prison. Correctional services management have strongly supported this move.

In the community QPC has recently begun training teachers, social workers and caregivers in “places of safety” for youth in conflict with the law. Again, the aim is to train them so that they are able to train the young offenders in their care and in this way help them to avoid prison.

AVP will also be offered to trainee teachers in the Education Faculty at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). These students will enter the teaching profession skilled in AVP.

Police Officers involved in running training camps for youth at risk in the Mitchell’s Plain area will be approached to train as facilitators in AVP.

AVP Programme

A typical workshop involves some 20 hours of group work for some 20- 25 participants plus between two and four facilitators.  In prison work this is spread over four mornings. In other situations it can be done in two days.

There are 3 levels of workshop.

*      Basic

*      Advanced  

*      Training for Facilitators (T4F) for those with the interest and aptitude) T4F is effectively the start of an apprenticeship.

We plan to have trained AVP facilitators in 48 schools, in 3 prison sections and 3 places of safety for youth in the Cape Metropolitan area.

Schools:

2011:   Train 10 teachers at 10 schools that are part of the Non-Violent Schools Campaign (NVSC). 

            Train 10 trainee teachers at teacher training institutions.

2012:   Train an additional 10 teachers at schools that are part of the NVSC.

These teachers will train all the learners who are members of Peace Clubs.  We will accompany all trainers in the delivery of AVP at these schools.

Train an additional 10 trainee teachers at teacher training institutions.

2013:   Train an additional 10 teachers at schools that are part of the NVSC.

These teachers will train all the learners who are members of Peace Clubs.  We will accompany all trainers in the delivery of AVP at these schools.

Train an additional 10 trainee teachers at teacher training institutions.

At the end of this 3 year period we should have 52 teachers as facilitators and approximately 180 peace buddies who have completed the Basic and Advanced workshops in AVP. We will have 30 trainee teachers at T4F level.

Prisons:

2011:   Train all volunteer prison wardens in the youth section up to T4F level.

2012:   Train all volunteer prison wardens in the Female section up to T4F level.

2013:   Train all volunteer prison wardens in the Male section up to T4F level.

We will accompany all trainers in the delivery of AVP at the prison.

Places of safety for youth:

2011:   Train all volunteer teachers, social workers and caregivers from 3 places of safety in the Cape Metropolitan area.

2012:   Train volunteer police officers who run camps and training programmes for youth at risk in the Mitchell’s Plain area.

2013:   Train volunteer police officers who run camps and training programmes for youth at risk in 2 other areas in the Cape Metropolitan area.

We will accompany all trainers in the delivery of AVP at these places of safety.

Sustainability:

We target the decision-makers in organisations and train them as facilitators so that they are equipped to take the process forward with people in their care.

Impact:

Before we begin the programme in each organisation, we will do a baseline evaluation of the number of incidence of violence being reported within the organisation.  One year later we will measure the impact that the AVP programs have had with regard to the number of reported incidence of violence within that organisation.  We will measure the reduction in the levels of violence.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

QPC aims to demonstrate that its work shifts peoples toward the non-violent.

M&E for the Non Violent Schools Campaign (including the AVP element) is discussed in that section.

Correctional Services management persistently ask for more AVP training. With their assistance we need to demonstrate this shift objectively by frequent reviews in each prison each year. The practical problems are significant as prison population changes constantly.

AVP Development

It is clear that the demand for AVP training is enormous.

Our approach is to expand the number of facilitators working within organisations (e.g. schools, religious organisation, prisons, NGOs, places of safety) whether they are volunteer or paid.

To encourage this QPC will provide support, mentoring and work to develop an AVP-community.



"The transforming power mandala"

 
 


BACK TO THE MAIN PAGE