ToNoWo I [2015]

Towards a Nonviolent World (ToNoWo) is a training for youth workers (supported by Erasmus+) to acquire knowledge and professional skills in nonviolence and peacebuilding, so that they can integrate these in their work. The first edition was held in August 2015 in The Hague (The Netherlands). Participants were coming from Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands (or were residing in these countries)

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You can download the program overview here, to get an impression about what we did during the 12 days we were together.

The Objectives of ToNoWo (Edition 1) were:
1. Give youth workers the opportunity to acquire knowledge and professional skills in nonviolence and peacebuilding, so they can act to prevent and solve conflicts, build more peace in both their jobs (in the youth and social work sector and NGO sector) and private lives.
2. Give the opportunity to practice conflict resolution and communication skills in a culturally diverse setting, so that they can share different perspectives and understand the democratic principle ‘agree to disagree’, as well as the principle ‘different but equal’.
3. Provide a unique perspective on sustainable growth, which is part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, by looking at the application of nonviolent principles to environment and economy, with special attention to development aid from the EU, in the framework of the European Year of Development (2015).
4. Develop connections between youth workers so they increase their capacity in high quality youth work, by supporting each other, cooperating and continuing to inspire each other to pass-on and apply new insights and skills they have learned during ToNoWo in their work with youth.
5. Generally promote active citizenship, social inclusion and international solidarity between youth workers, within the framework of European cooperation in the youth field.

We asked the group to document the training and report each day. The most creative result can be watched here and also gives a good impression on the training. (For more results go to the designated tab in the menu).

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Background:
Violence is present in society in many different forms, visible and more hidden, and impacts the well-being of people in a wide range of negative ways harming our feelings of security  stability, trust and harmony. Nonviolence on the other hand is a way to empower youth, as they learn more about social movements and techniques that have proved to be effective in bringing about social change.

Secondly, there are only limited opportunities to learn about nonviolence. Some universities offer the possibility to learn about peace and conflict and sometimes nonviolence, but there are few universities that offer a full curriculum related to these topics. Furthermore, the emphasis is often on theory and the acquisition of knowledge rather than on developing skills that are relevant to peace. Moreover, the universities usually focus on international relations, diplomacy, and other top-down processes. There is little space and attention to grassroots organizations, bottom-up processes and action that the student can take. Thus, ToNoWo fills a gap by addressing bottom-up processes and personal and professional skills.

On the micro-level we want to deal with interpersonal skills to empower youth. Youth play an imortant role in society; on the one hand they are particularly vulnerable, and on the other hand they are the ones that can impact the future the most. Therefore, we involve youth workers, as they are youth themselves and able to pass-on what they learned to other youth. We want youth workers to get a better understanding of the causes of violence and how to deal with it and prevent it, especially if they work with disadvantaged youth who are caught up in cycles of violence and counter-violence or who have a need to learn constructive ways to deal with conflict and different forms of power (not power over, but power with and power within).

On the macro level we can see increasing environmentally unsustainable practises connected to globalisation. The issue of environmental and economical sustainability are thus important sub-topics of nonviolence.

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