NVC workshop in Ghana
Tamale, 7th – 10th February 2018
“Intention without Action is Meaningless.”
The workshop was filmed by Alex Getmann and Ralph Weihermann. You can watch the film on youtube. It’s called “Nonviolent Communication in Ghana”.
One of my participants from the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshops in Ruhpolding “First call for children” is from Ghana. He asked me to support him in his desire to bring NVC into his town and further to spread it into his country.
The result was a NVC Workshop in Tamale, Ghana in February 2018.
204 people applied. In advance, Ibrahim and Mubarak from the local organizing team made phone calls to all of them. Explicitly, they did not offer any sitting allowance (a common fee in african coutries paid to participants of seminars and workshops for their appearance). They said in the phone interviews, that either they come for the content or they stay home.
After two days, they called again in order to get the final decision.
Then they called a third time some days ahead of the workshop, to remind the participants to come.
Out of 70 chosen participants, 15 did not come. The vacancies were replaced by other interested people from the list within a few hours.
I celebrate the commitment of the organizing team to assemble really interested participants. At the same time, I am longing for reliability. I think: If I agree to come, I would love to do so.
Finally, 73 participants (including trainers) from seven nations were present: Ghana, Kenia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Sudan, Germany.
Participants came from schools, NGO´s, business, social worker, artists, journalist and other media, church — a very heterogeneous group with high motivation and diverse discussion input. Three people were blind. In the end, they used clear words in the four steps and gave meaningful feedback.
I am personally mourning that with one exception, all topics they brought in for role plays, were about food. This is, besides water, topic number one for many of them.
What I celebrate most is the direction, the workshop took: Self-responsibility. An important topic was: there are not many jobs offers in this northern part of Ghana, in Tamale. Some participants came up with the idea to think about creating jobs.
And they do not orientate in the first instance to other countries, specially Europe, to get financial support. They now want to look in their own country. Tamale is a growing city with some finance institutes coming in and new further business. I appreciate this self-responsibility very much.
Some feedbacks from the participants:
- They appreciated the interactive workshop instead of a power point presentation.
- I offered an exercise right at the beginning to get the participants out of their comfort zone. They were asked to choose their favorite food between millet pap, steak, fruit, chocolate. These four kinds of food were written on posters, each in one corner of the room, and the participants were told to move into ´their` corner. There it is THEM and US, like people in boxes or drawers.
Then I asked the people who like food in general to please come to the middle of the room. All came there. This is the place of the abstract, universal need: In this example food. Here WE ARE ONE. The corners symbolize different strategies to fulfill the need in the middle.
One participant stated that in the beginning of this exercise he was anxious (being in the strategy box in one of the four corners). Later on, in the middle on the needs field, he felt comfortable and relaxed, because he sensed the “WE”. So, he could sense the difference between a strategy and a need directly at the beginning of the workshop within his body.
Some outcome of the workshop:
- One valued the high energy level of the trainer team.
- A NVC Ghana network is launched. A constitution is in draft and the content for the website is on its way.
During last day, the participants split in six groups and worked on:
- further steps, like bringing NVC to basic and secondary schools (on going),
- starting a WhatsApp group, this is done to serve as a virtual practice group, (done)
- concrete steps in building a physical practice groups, (done)
- writing a website with material on NVC and a newsletter for everybody,
- a structure group to support the Ghana NVC network and
- a drama group to offer NVC for everybody, including those who cannot read, including radio offers (on going).
The local organizing team of this workshop “Grooming dot org” is working in schools in Tamale and with children on the streets. Their main interest is to transfer the awareness of their own power and become self-responsible instead of demanding and ask with open hands. “They are the (social!) change, have the power to change by themselves. “
Besides not having water for three days or an air condition with was stinking of oil we had so much fun and joy in our collaboration within the team and with the participants. I do not want to miss any hour.