AVP International Gathering 2008 - Kenya
The International Gathering brought together about 120 people from 23 countries, in Kakamega, Western Kenya. It was extraordinary to spend 5 days with creative, innovative, dedicated people who are all committed to AVP.
There was so much positive, sharing, caring energy, that it would have been almost impossible not to ride the currents of it. Seeing people with language barriers between them making the effort to converse even though it was such an effort, listening to all the reports from each country that has taken AVP and molded it to fit the needs they are facing
Coming from Green Haven, where it all began, I felt so gratified, although my AVP roots don't stretch anywhere near that far back, but just knowing that this seed has flown on the wind to so many places around the globe and how connected we all are through the powerful medium of AVP.
Here are a few of the innovative directions AVP is taking around the world:
- In Australia the program has been adapted for university use and is given as a part of the curriculum.
- In Western Australia, when the outreach to the aboriginal community wasn't successful, the coordinator asked an aboriginal artist to design the brochure and then the community responded.
- In Costa Rica AVP is offered through the equivalent of our Child Protective Services, both the basic and a special topic workshop.
- In Nigeria AVP worked with the kids in one gang and engaged them by setting up basketball games. They then played against a rival gang and from that formed one team that played another gang.
- In Russia AVP workshops are being given to the military.
- In the USA John Shufurd does AVP workshops with correction officers during their training.
- In South Africa the umbrella agency offers AVP style conflict resolution workshops to corporations and receives some serious income from that. Once the country reports are available, there will be much, much more that I didn't write down as we listened to the reports.
- Nepal was chosen as the site of the next IG in 2010. A new program was started there this year by Subhash, who is Nepali and Ken, who is Australian and living in Nepal with his Nepali wife. Several facilitators came from Australia to support the initial work and they were able to do a full cycle of workshops, to train Nepali facilitators and there is commitment to continue to build the program.
AVP in Africa has so much energy and innovation. It feels as though the heartbeat of AVP is coming from Africa. The majority of AVP facilitators from Africa were in their 20s, and is being adapted to work in many new incarnations. Perhaps because much of Africa is torn by violence, civil war, inequality and lack of opportunity the young people realize that they need to create the future they want to live in and so are committed to working to bring positive, constructive values to their countries. Attendees came from ; Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Britain, Ireland, Russia, India, Nepal, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Brazil.