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.
This year FHM funded essential operating costs for work by AVP Ukraine, which is run by a group of volunteers (many of them psychologists) who are based primarily in Odessa, but work in various locations around the country.
During 2015 AVP Ukraine worked actively in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Slavyansk and elsewhere, with people who were displaced from the Crimea and the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine. The training was offered to people who were unable to integrate and who were left to live in health resorts or children’s camps far outside of town. Workshop sessions helped participants to achieve better social skills in uniting and supporting one another, skills in resolving conflict, better communication, and removal of emotional tension.
This year, the more encouraging news was that the refugees – though still not able to return home – had moved out from their isolated “camps” and were beginning to integrate into the local communities. This is a positive step, but it meant that AVP could no longer target them as a group to work with. AVP have continued their normal programme of workshops with a wide variety of participants ranging from social workers to children and young people with antisocial behaviour.
Photo: AVP workshop at a detention centre for adolescents, Odessa