African Great Lakes – March 2019

Workshops on Anger Management
with Art in Rwanda

by Marian Liebmann

From the youth and women’s workshop

Three workshops were held at Peace Garden for members of Friends Evangelical Church Rwanda:

25-27 February – Youth
28 February – 2 March – Women
4-6 March – Leaders

Altogether 68 people took part – 27 youth, 22 women and 19 leaders. They all showed great enthusiasm for the skills they learnt, both for themselves and for helping others.

All participants made personal action plans (although some of the youth group left their plans behind!). The first two workshops also made group action plans for their churches, involving passing on the skills to others. It was not relevant to the third group as they had all come from different churches, and also their personal plans covered their church activities.

Participants also filled in evaluation forms, either in English or in Kinyarwanda (then translated). These showed that considerable learning had taken place, and have already been sent to the organisers. Interestingly, different participants picked out different exercises and skills as particularly relevant to them. All appreciated and learnt from the opportunity to share in small groups. Several said ‘Please come back!’

All participants enjoyed the use of art materials to do drawings, paintings and clay work. I had brought materials from the UK, and organisers in Rwanda found supplies of very good paper, and of clay. The materials that remain should last for a long time for future workshops (with care for felt tip pens and paint brushes), and I hope similar art materials may be available in Rwanda in the future. The young people in particular enjoyed the use of paints and clay.

And it is possible to do the Anger Management work without art materials, using verbal methods as for other trainings. The use of art materials provides a richer more reflective experience. The handouts can be used with or without art materials.

From the Leaders Workshop

  1. If another round of workshops is needed, fundraising needs to start from Rwanda, as I have exhausted the possibilities in the UK that I have access to – it took me 2 years to achieve grants from 5 Quaker trusts. The only funder that could be approached again is the one that contributed to my travel costs.
  2. There are several people in Rwanda who have been part of the workshops, and could help to take the Anger work forward, in particular Dieudonne and the interpreters for the workshops: Aime, Solange and Jean Paul.
  3. The two facilitators from Uganda can also help: Grace Kiconco Sirrah and John Mugabi. Grace has been my co-facilitator in Uganda, and has taken the Anger Management groups into prisons. John is an experienced facilitator for his project Youth with a Vision (working with street children), also working with adults in the community, and he is a talented artist.
  4. It is possible to break down the course into smaller sessions, e.g. 10 sessions over 10 weeks – thereby avoiding the need to provide meals or accommodation.
  5. Gender issues: although there was an equal number of women and men attending these workshops (34 women, 34 men), in the mixed groups there were few women – 9 out of 27 in the youth group, 3 out of 19 in the leaders’ group. This may be something organisers want to address. There is also the issue of how to address those who do not see a problem with their anger, for instance men in domestic violence situations.
  6. Small amendments to suggest for future workshops:
    1. check the handouts for slight differences in meaning from the English. Perhaps two facilitators with good English could work together to check this, as it caused some confusion. Also please remove any references to English objects, e.g. pressure cooker!
    2. re-format the handouts to have each exercise on one page
    3. use the short evaluation form, as the long one produced too much repetition. Check that the questions have the same meaning in Kinyarwanda, as one or two questions on the longer form seemed to cause confusion.

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