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
When Elle came into our booth, she immediately spotted our yellow Papilio butterfly ornament. I asked her about her attraction to this craft and learned an emotional backstory which she generously consented to let me share.