On the second day of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Training for Facilitators in Brillo Nuevo, practice teams began to lead their sessions. The first 3 groups focused on the themes: Introduction to AVP, Violence and Transforming Power, and Good Communication.
Practice team agendas featured many core exercises in a Basic AVP workshop. These included Concentric Circles (a listening activity in pairs), Feeling Faces (sharing an experience related to an emotion shown on a face drawing), “I” messages (communicating a concern to someone without blaming them for your feelings), brainstorm about the roots and fruits of violence and non-violence, and discussion of cores concepts like “think before you act,” “expect the best” in the Transforming Power mandala.
They also led some classic AVP “light and lively” games like the Big wind Blows, the Singers, and Armadillos and Holes – an Amazon forest adaptation of “Earthquake” that features tenants moving around between buildings – unless one collapses.
These practice sessions tested the nerves of many participants who had never had to digest written material and then clearly explain to a group what they wanted them to do. A few people who seemed well prepared in their small group rehearsals totally froze or gave incomprehensible instructions to the large group. The wonderful thing to observe was that when one person stumbled, one of their fellow facilitators usually stepped up to try and help their teammate get the activity back on track.
After each session, the practice team did an evaluation. While this process is normally done in private by a facilitation team, these practice teams did theirs in front of their coaches and participants.
Each member shared their thoughts on how the session went, what they did well and what they could do better as a facilitator, and something they thought each of their fellow facilitators had done well and suggestions for how they could improve.
People expressed a mixture of pride, disappointment and confidence that they would improve with practice. Group 4 was next.
Presenting the AVP mandala in Facilitator training practice session
"While concepts like punctuality, mutual respect, no put downs of self or others, and listening when someone else is speaking may seem like obvious guidelines to form a positive community, a commitment to actually practice and hold each other accountable to observe these agreements is profound in a culture where showing up late, malicious gossip, and interrupting a speaker are painfully common."
"Artisan facilitators should of course share what they know, but beginning and experienced artisans all benefit by remaining humble, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to encourage and affirm their fellow artisans. So many artisans said that the thing they most wanted to bring back to their communities was this spirit of working in a mutually supportive environment."
"Both men and women wore garb made with bleached llanchama tree bark painted with graphic figures from Bora clans. Several wore headdresses made with the feathers from macaws and parrots. They discussed the importance of nature and craft-making in their culture and then launched into a lively dance where the men chanted and pounded sticks into the ground to the rhythm of moving around in a circle. Visitors joined the undulating lines to share the vibrant energy."