Asia West Pacific

Holding a Basic AVP Empowerment Workshop Online is Possible!

By Kins Aparece

A closing exercise of the participants. 

AVP- and Friends Peace Teams-Philippines offered regular two-hour online sessions beginning March 27, 2020. On June 19, 2020, we concluded the Online Cultures of Peace Empowerment Workshop with 16 participants from Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Six facilitators from the Philippines and Singapore took turns in facilitating the two-hour sessions. This workshop was co-sponsored by the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP) who took care of the logistics in contacting and registering participants and responding to queries.

The Philippines has been on varying degrees of quarantine since mid-March but the pandemic is not yet fully under control. Because of this, we decided to optimize the use of the online platform. In terms of organizing, we save a lot on the food, venue, and transport. We also found that we have more reach. We can easily have participants from different countries all together. Some of them had long hoped to join a workshop, but were too busy before the pandemic.

We are so grateful to Friends Peace Teams and SCAP for generously sharing their Zoom accounts with us. We are also very impressed by the dedication of the participants and facilitators to regularly participate. Many participants felt the breaks in between sessions allowed them to apply the practical tools and skills.

Sample output of the community that we want.

Lessons Learned

The current level of state-sanctioned violence in the Philippine can be very overwhelming. However, we can always choose to create nonviolent initiatives and practice peace anywhere, anytime. When our minds are clear, we realized we can turn threats to opportunities. Most of all, we need to find our voice and action when violence dominates, so we can become witnesses to the injustice and to the fact that peace is possible.

Being able to process my thoughts and share them with everyone through the different activities that we have done for the past weeks made me realize that we can build a community that centralizes on peace and companionship.
~ Firm Frances, Faculty, University of the Philippines-Manila

Peace is possible- but we need more listening to one’s inner self, others, nature, even listening to SILENCE… time for stopping, looking deep within, reframing, and undergoing tests in real life. We will not know that peace is possible if we are not tested- so we must welcome the situations that challenge us… although painful at times.
~ Carmela Ariza, Peace Advocate & Independent Consultant, Cebu City, Philippines

A group photo of the facilitators with Jonel, the registrar.