Peacebuilding en Las Américas began supporting the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Guatemala program in 2007. Most of AVP Guatemala’s work focuses on youth, teachers, personnel in prisons, community leaders, and police officers. AVP Guatemala is active in nine municipalities across seven of the country´s 22 departments, running the majority of their workshops through organizational and educational alliances.
Some Program Highlights:
- AVP Guatemala partnered with Quaker programs in Guatemala to hold workshops with schoolteachers and students in the Quaker College in Ipala and with the American Friends Service Committee in prisons just outside Guatemala City.
- The Peace Schools Project is an AVP Guatemala project with the goal of reaching at-risk students by partnering with local schools and implementing AVP into the curriculum. The project piloted in Esperanza (Hope) Educational Project, an alternative middle school in a neighborhood of Chimaltenango in 2013. Students complete six workshops over the three years of their schooling, and some go onto become Facilitators when they graduate.
- AVP Guatemala carried out its first workshop in the Mayan language Q’ekchi in 2016. This was made possible through AVP Guatemala’s partnership with Guatemala Village Health, a Guatemalan NGO that works in several remote villages across the country, responding to health and social needs. Facilitators are introducing AVP to the communities strategically by offering workshops first to schoolteachers and community leaders.
AVP Guatemala partnered with the National Civil Police Chaplain´s Office in 2017 to work with recent police graduates after 14 officers committed suicide in 2016. Since this partnership began, AVP Facilitators reached over 500 National Civil Police Officers, offering 16 workshops (6 Basic, 4 Advanced, and 6 Mini-Workshops) with officers, chaplains and students, approximately half of whom were women.
- Among the facilitators are leaders who hope to extend AVP in their communities and to other communities to which they have ties. One is closely connected to the community of Nebaj, in northern Guatemala, which suffered greatly during the Civil War in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
CURRENT GOALS: AVP Guatemala’s vision for the future includes becoming a sustainable organization with legal NGO status. It is working to raise funds with businesses and NGOs active in Guatemala.
Special thanks to PLA WG member Saskia Schuitemaker for serving as Volunteer Coordinator from 2010 to 2015, QSPANZ in New Zealand for providing scholarships and funding for programs, and Lancaster Yearly Meeting for supporting the Peace Schools Project!
Contact: Guatemala Program Coordinator, Lorena Escobar