Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Workshops

Participants from the very first Bolivian AVP workshop put AVP guidelines to work at home, creating a whole new dynamic in the family:

“Now when my husband gets angry I just listen to him and try to stay calm so I can talk to him later when he has cooled down.”

“My sister couldn’t believe how I’d changed and started teasing me about my adjective name.  After some time I confronted her gently but directly and she has stopped teasing.”

As AVP spreads, participants find similar richness. As Bolivian Friends say, cojen la chispa -  "they catch the spark".

Working together in a Training for Facilitators In January 2006 the first full Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops were given in Bolivia. Workshops have been held most years since then, and have now been expanded to the cities of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and Sorata. In March 2008 an AVP council from the three larger cities met for the first time.

Workshops have been enthusiastically attended by participants from yearly meetings, Friends schools, and NGOs. Bolivian Coordinator Bernabé Yujra writes:

"With this project we can give support to many people who need to escape the problems of violence that already exist within the families, communities, and barrios where they live.  AVP will be a very important kind of work for Bolivian society."

"Standing Up" exerciseParticipants and local facilitators have encouraged non-Quaker friends and co-workers to attend the workshops. Many past participants held jobs in the social service sector or other positions where the AVP approach has a multiplier effect. AVP:

     *      Enhances non-violent problem-solving skills and communication

     *      Addresses Friends' concerns for peace, community, and equality

     *      Develops leadership and self-sufficiency

BQEF scholarship graduate Magaly Quispe has taken the lead in actively spreading AVP within Bolivia, where it is now an independent program. It was during her BQEF-sponsored practicum that Magaly first recognized the need for AVP.

Meanwhile, BQEF and BQE-Bolivia still offer Alternatives to Violence Project workshops centered on our scholarship students. Click here to donate in support of those workships, or any of our other work. $600 will support local workshop costs, $100 covers handouts and supplies for one workshop.

If you're a trained AVP facilitator, fluent in Spanish, and are interested in becoming involved, please contact Jens Braun: sjbraun (at) taconic (dot) net