We are currently recruiting facilitators to be trained to run AVP workshops in prisons throughout Ireland. If you’re interested, please contact email@example.com.
What is AVP?
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Ireland is a community of volunteers inside and outside prisons who run experiential workshops in conflict resolution and restorative practices. AVP is for anyone who wants to learn to build better relationships, prevent conflict and resolve it when it occurs and who is willing to share their skills and experience.
Workshops are non residential and are run mostly in prisons around Ireland and during week-ends.
AVP is a non denominational organisation. If Quakers are traditional supporters of the programme, there is no religious element in the training and AVP is completely secular.
How AVP began?
AVP Ireland is a member of AVP International. The programme began in 1975 when inmates at Green Haven Prison in New York State asked local Quakers to help them to design a programme to learn how to solve conflicts non-violently.
They collaborated and devised a prison workshop. The success of it quickly generated requests for more, and AVP was born. The programme was well received by inmates and spread to many other prisons and countries throughout the world. Although the original workshops in the US were designed and facilitated with Quaker oversight, AVP International and AVP Ireland are non-profit and non-denominational organisations. As of 2022 AVP is active in more than 40 countries around the world.
AVP was introduced in Ireland in 1996 and has been active in Irish Prisons since then. Close to 50 active facilitators are running workshops voluntarily.
AVP workshops usually take place on the weekends in a room of a prison’s school. They are facilitated by a mixed team of 4 to 6 outside and prison based facilitators. Workshops are advertised and participants sign up voluntarily. During a workshop up to twenty participants and facilitators sit in a circle, conversing, engaging in collaborative activities, participating in role-plays and trying to find within themselves the skills and power to resolve potentially violent situations non-violently and to live a more peaceful life. Some exercises are done in smaller groups of three to five with a debriefing among the larger circle at the end of the exercise.
The workshops consist of four different levels. AVP’s approach is experiential. The key concept of AVP is Transforming Power: this is the power, available to us all, to transform what might be a violent or destructive situation into a non-violent outcome.
Testimonies from participants and facilitators:
‘AVP was like an epiphany for me, that I could live this life without using violence.’
‘I have had the opportunity to learn new skills, meet lots of people from different backgrounds, I have learned empathy since being in AVP. I have learned to use the AVP model, applying it to my own personal life. AVP has enriched my life.’
‘AVP was a life changing experience. I just found AVP to be the most powerful weekend of my life’
‘It is very hard to explain how brilliant AVP is – the only advice I could give someone is to ‘just do it’
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