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Ongoing Projects

Peace For All Canada Protection Communication Sessions

Introduction

In an attempt to reduce potential violence, radicalization and Gender Based Violence (GBV) among youth in Waterloo Region (WR), Peace For All Canada (PFAC) would like to propose the incorporation of "protection communication" sessions as a pilot project. Protection communication methods could include nonviolent communication, and none-conflict resolution exercises.

Nonviolent communication, labeled "protection communication" for the purposes of this concept project,is an intra-relational conflict resolution tool applicable to PFAC conflict transformation objectives in WR. Developed in part by Dr. Marshall Rosenburg, protection (nonviolent) communication supports a basic and direct manner of communication that uncovers human needs behind conflict.

In conflict, fear and offense often lead people to speak with negative statements that imply judgment, blame, guilt, shame etc. towards another person or group. Such negative mentalities in communication can perpetuate conflict, and divert the focus away from the underlying issues. Nonviolent communication removes negative statements and instead, focuses on facts by incorporating active listening, clarifying, and summarizing in the communication process. The aim is to separate aggression or defensiveness from communication in order for people to clearly understand the need behind the conflict, recognize each other's common human needs, foster empathy, and encourage a nonviolent reaction. This leads to a deeper understanding of the issue, and how it affects all those involved.

Group discussions, guided questions, and nonviolent communication exercises help participants separate the feeling from the need while promoting empathy and nonviolent co-existence. The sessions would pull from Dr. Rosenburg's findings, Dr. Jacqueline Wilson's conflict resolution experiences as well PFAC own conflict resolution/mediation experiences.

Objectives

  • To monitor and report on propensity towards violence, and subsequently contribute to the early warning system.

  • To foster a habitual mental response to conflict that acknowledges commonality of one another instead of defaulting to "othering."

  • To present youth with opportunities to approach conflict without violence, and with self and community-wide protection in mind.

  • To help prevent violence, GBV and youth radicalization.

Tentative Project Description/Structure

Sessions would take place among a small group of youth (10-15 people) for an hour each week. The first 15 to 20 minutes would include a protection communication exercise. This would also serve as a "check-in" as to how the participants are feeling in regards to potential community conflict. The following 40 minutes or so would integrate conflict resolution discussions/exercises with protection communication. Sessions would be tailored to participant's understanding of protection communication.

Support

While the sessions may be conducted by two PFAC volunteers, ideally two community facilitators would be present. Eventually, the sessions could be co-lead between PFAC and rotating community participants. No budget allocation is necessary, except for the occasional printing of materials (estimated at one sheet per weekly session for leader).

Expected Outcomes

  • Participants' better understanding of one's need behind feelings and actions, as well as those of others.

  • A utilization of communication and conflict resolution tools to promote protection and nonviolence in the neighborhoods, as well as in the greater WR.

  • A decrease in likelihood of domestic and GBV violence and mobilization of youth to join criminal and violent groups.

  • Access to qualitative information contributing to early warning protection strategies.

AWAKENING THE GIFT OF COMMUNITY RESILIENCE, EMPATHY AND CARING

Racism and discrimination are inflicting grave pain and suffering to non-white families and communities in Waterloo Region (WR). In order to confront this suffering, Peace For All Canada is offering community round table (CRT); a healing space for community engagement. Multi-cultural families and communities will be coming together to reflect on ways of confronting cultural and structural racism and discrimination.

Participants will engage in practical activities as a means of cultivating a conscious culture of anti-racism and discrimination. They will also learn how to listen attentively, act collectively and compassionately and heal creatively. We will employ methods such as truth-telling, in which participants will share their ideas, memories and hopes and then weave them together to revive and cultivate inner wisdom, creative soul, compassion, reconciliation, justice and healing. These practical exercises will foster conditions to create just, equitable and fair communities.

We will encourage participants to search for traces of racism and discrimination that may be hidden beneath their individual and collective stories, memories, languages, cultures, systems and institutions. They will learn how to confront painful stories, memories and worries of racism and discrimination. We will guide them on how to learn effective methods of managing and building inter-race relationships. The newly-formed relationships are expected to be rooted in reciprocity, integrity, humanity and the pursuit of peaceful communities.

We believe that learning and unlearning the pedagogy of racism and discrimination is at the core of the process of transforming individuals, families, communities, structures and institutions. We believe that our greatest strength flows from our gift of empathy and caring for one another. We believe that our stories, traditions and cultures hold creative healing energies for our minds, spirits, bodies, systems and institutions. Therefore, it is our responsibility to learn how to revive and sustain the creative healing energies of fostering communities' wellbeing.

We are aware that much of our thoughts and reactions are shaped by inherited systems of division that are known for disempowering people and empowering institutions. We are also aware that both communities and institutions are in need of remedies based on consciousness, empathy, equity and fairness.

Therefore, PFAC and our Civic Hub partners are inviting you to join us at a CRT dialogue. For further information please contact us at info@peaceforallcanada.org.

Activities in 2006-2012

Founded and managed Peace For All Canada Organization (PFAC). I mobilized and managed its finances and projects. Mobilized up to 70 international volunteers to support trauma and healing projects. I utilized songs, dance, drama, sport and storytelling. Over 1500 women, youth and children benefited from the program. Designed a land dialogue project to confront policy and operational challenges of customary and formal land ownership and land management in the post conflict era. Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) later expended the project to 50 districts across Uganda and funded it with USD$ 350,000. Developed fund raising events in Canada, and successfully raised over USD$ 47,000, to support the resilience and trauma healing project. About 75 IDP women, 60 orphans, 30 families and over 4000 community members benefited from the projects. Mobilized over 60 elders of two sub-clans, 200 youth, over 1000 community members, and a peacefully mediated conflict resolution between the two sub-clans. Supported a Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program in the West Nile region. I supported five rebel groups and their families (5000 family members) to reconcile their conflicting interests in receiving the DDR package, and consolidate these into one shared socio-economic resettlement package.