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Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

Turbo Division in the Rift Valley in Western Kenya was very hard hit by the post-election violence of 2007-08. As the Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT) started doing reconciliation work, we thought it would be hard to see any impact if we tried to work everywhere. So, with boldness, we focused on Turbo division.

Pessimists say Kenyan youth cannot bring change because of tribalism and other social malaise that prevent them from pursuing a common goal. In the seven areas selected from the larger Turbo in the North Rift, which is called a “hot spot,” FCPT, together with CAPI (Change Agents for Peace Interna­tional), saw the need. They took the mandate to engage youth and help nurture Turbo division into a “peace spot.” So far, we have done 61 basic, eight advanced, and three trainings for facilitators workshops.

The exercise, “transforming power,” touched most partici­pants so they understood they had the ability to change a negative situation to a positive perspective just by allowing transforming power to use them. This made them open up and share freely.

During the deep discussion in the “broken squares” exercise, participants realized they only put themselves down as they see themselves as small people and those others as big people. But their eyes are now open to the truth that small and big need each other. They are all important. Cooperation is needed to build our community. The “I message” exercise brought new approaches to solving conflict rather than confronting people. The “empathy” lesson opened their way of sharing problems easily by involving their allies.

The participants used transforming power to move from the tree of violence to the tree of non-violence. During our last exercise of building a new society, they practiced the skills of negotiation in the communities to solve their interpersonal conflicts where little resources are available and should be utilized properly.

— From FUM’s FCPT newsletter, Spring 2012