AVP was developed by Quakers in New York in 1975, after being asked by inmates at Green Haven Prison to help them teach incarcerated youth how to resolve conflicts non-violently. The success of the workshops quickly spread by word of mouth, and the program took root in many prisons throughout the country. Workshops are now offered in communities, businesses, churches, neighbourhood centres, community associations, women’s shelters and other locales in 40 countries across the world.
ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT (AVP)
Our experience is that AVP is an extremely powerful method for changing people’s perceptions of themselves (and their neighbours) so reducing the default response to violence. Training is best done in groups of about 20 working through a series of workshops, delivered at two levels: basic and advanced.
Many trainees go on to become trainers themselves.
Our aim is to build, within Khayelitsha, a team of trainers able to keep training indefinitely.
The training is delivered by an experienced contractor (Les Thomas) and his team of facilitators, which includes Hub staff.
The AVP training addresses violence in communities, in schools and in homes.
- Community groups e.g. recreational, sports and faith groups;
- Teachers and pupils in schools; and
- Parents via faith groups and parent-teacher associations in schools within the community.
Individual and small group tutoring is offered to scholars in their final year of formal education, with students from local universities volunteering as tutors.
Violence in schools is a significant problem in South Africa, and takes the form of teacher on pupil, pupil on pupil, and pupil on teacher violence. The problem is complex and multifaceted. It manifests in bullying, sexual assault and harassment, physical and psychological violence.
Despite the 1996 Schools Act which clearly prohibits it, South African children are still frequently subjected to corporal punishment in schools.
The Department of Education is increasingly concerned about these high levels of violence, and the Peace Centre, which has a significant repository of appropriate materials and resources, is working at local, provincial and national level with the Department of Basic Education to implement violence-prevention programmes in schools.