By engaging participants very frequently in role plays, we gave them the chance to increase their awareness of their own and other people’s behaviour, take initiative and experiment to apply the knowledge they gained.
From daily feedback forms we gathered these key-learning points from the participants:
- Participants changed their attitude towards the supposed ‘effectiveness’ and ‘necessity’ of violence, changed their ideas about what actions are violent, (things that they had not considered so before) and how these are often justified or considered ‘normal’, realizing the extend of violence in society.
- Participants understood the impact of privilege on the possibilities one has to act, and that emotions such as feeling uncomfortable or ashamed (at the lower end) or guilty (at the higher end) can be used as motivations to act and create better circumstances for all.
- Participants became more aware of the ‘positives’ or opportunities of conflict and were able to distinguish responses to violence, which gave them more possibility to choose a response, rather than acting unconsciously. (“when pain is not transformed it is transferred” one group wrote, and “we need to integrate the knowledge of conflict in society”).
- Participants understood that power does not only come from ‘power holders’, but is also created by acting together, ‘power with’ and cultivating inner strength, ‘power within’.
- Participants reflected on authority after a video of the Milgram Experiment. They wondered why people obey. Some realized we are thought obedience from a very young age and that this can be problematic.
- Participants understood that communicating one’s feelings and needs can create more understanding between people and potentially impact a conflict positively. They considered it a useful skill, but one that takes time to master.
- Participants were happy to learn about social change roles, to see what role they take and what the pros and cons are. Sources of power, money, man-power, threat power etc,, and methods to counter these were considered useful. They also found the information of social movements helpful, particularly the point that a movement can give up when they perceive failure, but can be successful when they continue working for their cause.
- Participants saw that it was difficult to meet everyone’s needs and appreciated the flexibility of the trainers and their ‘receptiveness’.
- Finally, participants increased their skills to bridge cultural differences, and learned about the main violent challenges and conflicts, and local responses on the “Intercultural Nonviolence Night”.
We hope that many participants implement the newly gained knowledge at their workplaces, working with youth, and reach out to other groups/ organizations. The Partner Organizations organize meetings with the participants on their return, to share about the training, and stimulate them to take a follow-up action with the other participants from their country.
Locally, in The Netherlands, the project was a part of the Peace Week and thereby reached more people. An invitation for an Open Evening was shared by a local NGO at a Peace Walk though the city, which 8 people attended. We also had talks with other visitors at the building we shared.
Internationally, the training course has an impact by all the participants who will work in the different countries involved. They can now apply their newly gained knowledge, insights and skills in their workplaces and personal environment. They learned from being a part of a culturally diverse group of young people who have a common goal to mitigate violence and are able to propose and explain alternative ways of dealing with conflict. We believe this is a network that they can build on in the future for diverse collaborations, and also gave them skills to navigate future international projects. We stimulated participants to share the content of the TC with the partner organizations and beyond, to widen the impact of the training and multiply its effects. Of course ToNoWo is also making efforts the share about the training, here on this website, on facebook, the newsletter, and youtube. Have a look at these and spread the word!