Logo for Culture of Peace - VOW

Creating a Culture of Peace
A Workshop Kit Produced by Canadian Voice
of Women for Peace

What's in the Kit:

Materials for doing the workshop

Background materials



Doing the Workshop:

We have included resources and suggestions, but there is no one right way to use this kit. We encourage you to adapt it to suit your own purposes. The project, of which the kit is an aspect, has the following elements:

You may want to participate in any or all of these elements. For example, you might want to reproduce the sheets and use them as a basis for lesson plans or discussion. You might do the workshop according to the format we suggest below, or adapt it to develop training sessions for trainers.

Equipment and materials needed.

This can be adapted for the equipment you have access to, for example, you could make transparencies of the culture of peace wheel and other materials to use with an overhead projector, or you could make a large diagram on cardboard or a chalkboard or simply make copies of the sheets.

A flip chart, newsprint pad, markers and masking tape are useful additions, but not essential. If you are going to have reports from the small group sessions to the plenaries, or if you want to participate in the research, you will need paper and pencils.

Human resources and group size.

This workshop is designed to be participatory, and at least one facilitator will be needed. We have found it works better with two, since it makes the presentation more interesting and allows for a sharing of the tasks. The optimum group size is probably about 25-30. Larger groups, up to about 50 people are feasible, but will require more time for reporting and discussion. For the breakout portion, small groups of 8-10 are ideal. You'll require a facilitator and a recorder for each group.


 Suggested workshop plan.

The following is simply a suggestion. Please feel free to adapt as necessary. Our design has an  opening plenary session, a break-out into small groups, and a second plenary.

The Opening plenary is for introducing the participants to the concept of a culture of peace. A useful exercise is to draw a diagonal line on the flipchart, with a 0 at the bottom, representing "absolute peacelessness" and a 10 at top representing "absolute peace", with points along the scale being "relative peace".

Then ask participants where they would place themselves, their country, the world etc. on the continuum, giving reasons for their answers. From the discussion, a picture of the culture of violence emerges and these ideas can be written up on the flipchart. Participants can continue brainstorming on what constitutes the culture of violence, then the discussion can proceed into what a culture of peace would be like. The facilitators can then describe where the work toward a culture of peace has come from, and use the wheel diagram to explain that the culture of peace is emerging from many directions and initiatives.

The small group session is the backbone of the workshop, giving people an opportunity to discuss the four questions we have listed. There should be a facilitator for each group. These people could be assigned ahead of time or chosen from the participants. One person in each group should act as recorder and write the group's responses to the questions on the sheets provided (5 copies are included in the kit). You may decide to change the questions. If you do this, please write your new questions on the response sheets. Instruct groups to divide their allotted time so that all questions can be responded to.

The group then reconvenes for a second plenary session. Begin with a report back from the small group session. We suggest that you don't have every group read the entire report as this can become tedious. If there are not too many small groups, each can take turns reading their response to each of the questions. You can instruct groups not to repeat the suggestions already made by others, and you might want to switch the order of responding or each question. If the group is large, a helpful way of responding is for each group to give one idea for each question in turn. In this session, discuss the concept of peace promoters (sheet included). End with future plans and ideas for establishing ongoing networks.

Time required for the workshop.

The workshop can be adjusted to fit the time you have available. One and a half hours is the minimum time you will need, but two hours or more would be much better. Don't skimp on the time for small group discussion. The more time available to discuss the four questions the richer the discussion will be.

Make adjustments in the timing and emphasis based on the group size, the background of the participants, and the familiarity of group members with each other. You might want to give more time to the educational aspects of the workshop, for example the concepts on the wheel diagram. Or you may want a longer period for brainstorming on the culture of war and violence and the culture of peace at the beginning of the workshop if the participants have never considered theses issues. For a group already working on peace issues, you may want to allot extra time in the second plenary for strategizing on how to use the kit.

Contributing to a work in progress:

Your feedback is important. This project is intended to be participatory and we will be very glad to have your involvement. Please collect the completed sheets on the discussion questions from the recorders, and send them to us. If you have interesting ideas that emerged during the large group discussions, for example on the culture of violence, the continuum of peace, the peace promoter concept, or ideas of how to use the workshop, we'd be very glad to receive them as well. Also let us know what modifications you made, and what suggestions you have for networking and future directions. Any ideas for inclusion in the bibliography or other suggestions for the kit will be welcome.

Outcomes of the project:

By doing the workshop, you will be doing education. You will also find that you are empowering and activating people. As simple as it may seem, enabling people to name their work as work towards a culture of peace and validating this work is a powerful effect of the project.

You may also become part of an international research pro'ect. We will be gathering the results of similar workshops from different groups across Canada and internationally, analyzing them for patterns, themes and commonalties. We are particularly interested in looking at the contribution of women to a culture of peace, and we will be situating our work in UNESCO's Women and a Culture of Peace initiative. The purpose of our research is not mere description. It is participatory action research, research aimed at helping all of us who participate to understand our work better and improve our practices. The research is an important aspect of a transformative process. You will gain insights that serve to inform and direct your future work by simply doing the workshop. After we analyze the results and pass the findings back to you, you should be able to use them to move from the first phase of action to a second. In other words, having identified wh ' at enhances the development of a culture of peace and what hinders it, the research should help you see where you need to move in your work and who else needs to be engaged in a second phase.

We also see important results in terms of setting up ongoing networks, of sharing best practi . ces and lessons learned and developing training for peace promoters.

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