The core of an Alternatives to Violence Project Training for Facilitators workshop having small teams prepare and facilitate one typical workshop session and then do a team self-evaluation in front of the large group. Our lead team demonstrated each of these processes for the practice teams before they got down to their work.
One member of our lead team was assigned as an advisor to one of the four practice teams. Each team was given a skeleton agenda with one theme: Introduction to AVP, Violence and Transforming Power, Good communication, and Cooperation. It included one or two exercises that matched their theme, but they would need to prepare their own gathering question, “light and lively” game, and closing from the AVP Basic Manual or create their own.
The community president came to our house that evening to tell us they needed the main community meeting building the next day for an emergency meeting to decide how to deal with a woman who was buying many plant seedlings from the area without community permission. We would need to move our workshop to the “comedor” (community dining room) and proceed without Brito from our lead team since he needed to be at this meeting. We released him from our workshop with our blessings since his growing experience as a facilitator would help him inject positive energy into the other potentially heated gathering.
So on day 2, practice teams gathered around a small table with their manuals, markers and large sheets of paper to prepare their session. After deciding who was going to lead each activity, they prepared their materials and practiced how they were going to present each activity to the large group. The lead team coaches needed to help their practice teams understand their tasks without doing too much for them. This was challenging because it was hard for everyone to read and understand instructions in the manual and write legibly, and Spanish was a second language for older people who mostly speak Bora. They practiced all morning and left for lunch in a major rainstorm.
Bora mom reads through AVP manual to learn how to present an exercise
Small group members prepare practice agenda at AVP Facilitator training
Lead team member assists AVP Facilitator practice team
"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."