In former Soviet Union countries, as everywhere else around the world, there is a need to help people deal with conflict in constructive and non-violent ways. We promote projects that educate in nonviolence, and mediate between disputes, in line with the values of our Quaker Peace Testimony.
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)
The Alternatives to Violence project (AVP) is a practical training programme that enables participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. It was originally developed by Quakers in the 1970s in the USA, for use in prison work. The techniques are applicable to many different situations and contexts, and AVP is now an international volunteer movement active in more than 60 countries.
Friends House Moscow has supported AVP in several countries by helping the volunteer trainers with essential operating expenses.
AVP in Russia
AVP groups have been active at various times in several regions of Russia including Moscow, St Petersburg, Lipetsk, Dzerzhinsk, and the Caucasus (Dagestan and South Ossetia). Recipients in nonviolence training have included young people, professional psychologists, prisoners and Russian Army conscripts.
AVP in Ukraine
AVP Ukraine is an active group based in Odessa and also operating in Kharkov and other locations. They work with students, psychologists and teachers, and children including street kids and orphans, and inmates in young offender institutions. A special focus has been work to help adults and children displaced from the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
AVP in Georgia
AVP in Georgia was developed following the 2008 war with Russia. The work has involved the local Quaker worship group in Tbilisi and grew in collaboration with Quakers in America and (more recently) nonviolence trainers from Germany.
Mediation services in Russian schools work to prevent and defuse conflict situations involving both students and staff. Friends House Moscow has helped to support training of mediators and establishment of new mediation services.
Association of curators of mediation services and mediators, Moscow
The Association is one of a number of regional associations of mediators that have been formed, in different regions of Russia, from 2009 onwards. It specialises particularly in school reconciliation services.
Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Support, Dzerzhinsk
The Centre (an educational establishment funded by the city council), together with an NGO “Family and Law”, has started a number of new initiatives to help families and children using seed funding from Friends House Moscow. One of these was the creation of mediation services in a number of local schools using “peer to peer” mediation between students.