Asia West Pacific

Sharing Tools for Peace Costs Much Less than for War and Violence

By Subhash Chandra

AVP Nepal virtual General Assembly on 10th January 2021

Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) Nepal held its second virtual General Assembly, 10 January 2021, selecting a new board of nine members for the coming three years. The assembly began with stopping, a basic tool for practicing peace in our private and public life. Our board is more inclusive by gender, caste, and class.

AVP was introduced in Nepal in 2007 and we have done more than three hundred workshops ever since in public schools, refugee camps, community organizations, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, and among young female leaders, people affected by armed conflict and land rights activists. Most of the current AVP Nepal board members participated in the Creating Cultures of Peace and Justice workshop in Nepal or Indonesia, and three of us are active in ongoing companion groups. Many of the facilitators say each workshop provides an opportunity to recharge our spirit, learn new things about self, and practice skills to become more peaceful. Most of the participants in our workshop mention that they used to think that violence was only physical. Now we see how violence is woven into our daily lives and social structures, such as ignoring and not respecting children’s voices at home, or normalizing gender inequality by staying silent about what is right and fair in the family. We must speak up and stand up for peace and justice if that is what we want.

The new board hopes to organize more workshops through AVP Nepal. Most AVP facilitators are busy in professional jobs, so a priority is to train new facilitators to share this work for peace. We look forward to reaching more people to share tools for peace and nonviolence, and would love to receive your best wishes.

AVP facilitators across Nepal organized more than 21 workshops both virtual and physical, shorter and longer with a budget of about US$250 last year. We covered most workshop expenses through our networks or organizations. Our costs were still very low, especially compared to what other local or international organizations spend for comparable workshops. In this world, where governments and multinational companies spend billions of dollars to wage war and violence, we are able to spread the skills of peace at an extremely low cost. We reconfirmed that sharing tools for healing and peace costs much less than for violence. We send our greetings and best wishes to you and your AVP network, working together towards a just, peaceful global society.