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Towards a Nonviolent World
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

BACKGROUND Violence impacts the well-being of people in a wide range of negative ways. Youth play an imortant role, because on the one hand they are particularly vulnerable, and on the other hand they are the ones that can impact our future the most. It is therefore important that youth workers get a better understanding of the causes of violence and how to deal with it and prevent it. Nonviolence 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. Unfortunately, there are very limited opportunities to learn about nonviolence. The few Peace and Conflict studies at universities often emphasize theory and the acquisition of knowledge, rather than developing skills that are relevant to peace. There is little space and attention to grassroots organizations, bottom-up processes and action that the student can take. We see the need to train ourselves to deal with and solve conflicts nonviolently, both on a macro and micro level. Conflict can harm our well-being and feelings of security stability, trust and harmony. On the macro level we can see a conflict between environmentally unsustainable practices connected to globalisation, and preservation of nature and continuation of life. The issue of environmental and economical sustainability are therefore important sub-topics of nonviolence. OBJECTIVES 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. PARTICIPANTS We involved youth workers who want to incorporate nonviolent methods and principles in their work. They work in the social work sector or NGO sector, so they can impact youth directly or indirectly through policy, advocacy, lobby or research. ACTIVITIES The program consisted of several workshops as well as visits to the Peace Palace and the Museum for Peace and Nonviolence. In these workshops participants gained knowledge and skills to understand violence, nonviolence and deal with conflicts, improving their capacity to be peacebuilders as a youth worker. METHODOLOGY During the workshops we used various non-formal education methods, such as: dialogue techniques, reflection, sharing experiences and ideas, interactive exercises, games and theater. (We used exercises from the "Engage" workshop book, some SVAG training materials, and other youth training materials). RESULT AND IMPACT This project has impacted participants' capacity to deal with violence, design nonviolent actions and campaigns, use Nonviolent Communication to solve conflicts, use theater to understand power and inequality, become aware of the link between economy and violence and media and violence, and learn about the different historical examples of nonviolent movements/initiatives. Moreover, participants familiarized themselves with non-formal education methods and gained more inter-personal skills. In addition, they formed relationships during the training, from which future cooperation may spring. LONGER-TERM BENEFITS ToNoWo offered insights on violence and conflict and gave participants tools to deal with these in a nonviolent way. Learning about nonviolent methods and principles empowers youth to positively impact their work environment, private lives and society at large. The participating organisations now have more knowledgeable and skilled volunteers that they can work with in future activities. They may use the materials from the ToNoWo training in their own future training. Moreover, the project establishes a first experience of cooperation between different organizations, that widens their international reach and cooperation, and will likely result in several follow-up activities.
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