Peacebuilding en Las Américas – November 5, 2018

Peace Psychology Study Features Honduran Women

In August 2018, Cecilia “Cece” Yocum presented Grassroots Peace Work of Women Activists in Honduras at the American Psychological Association Convention. She shared at a panel discussion for the Women and Peace Working Group that is part of the Peace Psychology Division of APA. Cece interviewed three AVP Honduras Facilitators and Peacebuilding en las Américas‘ partners, Nelly DelCid, Aida Gonzalez and Ondina Murillio. She looked at the obstacles they encountered both personally and as a group, and how they work to overcome these barriers.

Cece Yocum co-facilitates a Trauma Healing workshop with families of the False Positives in Sahagun, Colombia

Cece shares:

“Reflecting on the work that Nelly, Ondina and Aida have undertaken, I felt inspired to bring their stories out to share with others. Their ability to continue despite all the barriers to building peace, helps us to see that there is always hope. When we feel blocked we can find new approaches and work through problems, and we can always work on developing our relationships with other peace groups so that we will be able to work in unity toward common objectives. We can also look at our own interior challenges and remember we don’t need to have all the answers, we can work together to find new creative solutions.”

Cece joined Friends Peace Teams early on and currently serves on the PLA Working Group. She was fundamental in developing PLA’s Trauma Healing workshops that are now used across Latin America. The Trauma Healing workshops are modeled on the Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) workshops done in Rwanda and Burundi.

After receiving her Ph.D. in Psychology at Ohio State University, Cece has worked over 45 years with individuals, families, communities, and professional groups. In 2006, she received the “Outstanding Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest” award from the Florida Psychological Association. Cece is also a past community board member of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, and has provided psychological evaluations for political asylum seekers. Currently, Cece is involved with Alternatives to Violence Project workshops at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution.

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) 

AVP presents an intimate structure with a flat hierarchy, where facilitators participate as members of the group throughout the program. AVP promotes the philosophy that 1) all people are able to change, 2) that they can use and apply critical thinking about their situations, and 3) that they can become motivated to take action.

In AVP workshops, participants engage in exercises, and then debrief what they have learned and how they can apply what they have learned. AVP presents numerous active exercises. Role play is a key component, in which people take various roles with the understanding that anyone can make a positive difference and transform a situation.