In an attempt to reduce potential violence, radicalization and Gender Based Violence (GBV) among youth in Waterloo Region (WR), Peace For All Canada (PFAC) would like to propose the incorporation of "protection communication" sessions as a pilot project. Protection communication methods could include nonviolent communication, and none-conflict resolution exercises.
Nonviolent communication, labeled "protection communication" for the purposes of this concept project,is an intra-relational conflict resolution tool applicable to PFAC conflict transformation objectives in WR. Developed in part by Dr. Marshall Rosenburg, protection (nonviolent) communication supports a basic and direct manner of communication that uncovers human needs behind conflict.
In conflict, fear and offense often lead people to speak with negative statements that imply judgment, blame, guilt, shame etc. towards another person or group. Such negative mentalities in communication can perpetuate conflict, and divert the focus away from the underlying issues. Nonviolent communication removes negative statements and instead, focuses on facts by incorporating active listening, clarifying, and summarizing in the communication process. The aim is to separate aggression or defensiveness from communication in order for people to clearly understand the need behind the conflict, recognize each other's common human needs, foster empathy, and encourage a nonviolent reaction. This leads to a deeper understanding of the issue, and how it affects all those involved.
Group discussions, guided questions, and nonviolent communication exercises help participants separate the feeling from the need while promoting empathy and nonviolent co-existence. The sessions would pull from Dr. Rosenburg's findings, Dr. Jacqueline Wilson's conflict resolution experiences as well PFAC own conflict resolution/mediation experiences.
To monitor and report on propensity towards violence, and subsequently contribute to the early warning system.
To foster a habitual mental response to conflict that acknowledges commonality of one another instead of defaulting to "othering."
To present youth with opportunities to approach conflict without violence, and with self and community-wide protection in mind.
To help prevent violence, GBV and youth radicalization.
Tentative Project Description/Structure
Sessions would take place among a small group of youth (10-15 people) for an hour each week. The first 15 to 20 minutes would include a protection communication exercise. This would also serve as a "check-in" as to how the participants are feeling in regards to potential community conflict. The following 40 minutes or so would integrate conflict resolution discussions/exercises with protection communication. Sessions would be tailored to participant's understanding of protection communication.
While the sessions may be conducted by two PFAC volunteers, ideally two community facilitators would be present. Eventually, the sessions could be co-lead between PFAC and rotating community participants. No budget allocation is necessary, except for the occasional printing of materials (estimated at one sheet per weekly session for leader).
Participants' better understanding of one's need behind feelings and actions, as well as those of others.
A utilization of communication and conflict resolution tools to promote protection and nonviolence in the neighborhoods, as well as in the greater WR.
A decrease in likelihood of domestic and GBV violence and mobilization of youth to join criminal and violent groups.
Access to qualitative information contributing to early warning protection strategies.