Voices of volunteers from the training course «Training of Trainers for Peace»

Here are some voices of volunteers who participated in the training course “Training of Trainers for Peace” training that took place in Köniz (Bern, Switzerland) between 16 and 23 November. 

Throughout the week the group did lots of activities to explore the topic of peace education, see what they already know, and how they can contribute and become change-makers in situations that need understanding, balance, and empathy. The training course offered a platform to develop high-quality educational events for peace, as well as youth events for peace. With this training, the two trainers wanted to promote the values of peace, non-violence, and inclusion.

DAY 0:

Yesterday was our first day of the Training of Trainers for Peace!

30 participants from 12 countries and many more nationalities came together in Köniz (Bern) to learn and develop as trainers and educators for peace.

The first day was full with many activities to get to know each other and set the common ground. We discussed the program of the week with attention and motivation.

We thank all the participants for their interest and dedication to this very lively project.

Throughout the week we will do much more activities to explore further the topic of peace education, what we know, how we can contribute, how we can apply in situations that need understanding, balance, empathy…

Enjoy the training & stay with us to learn more!

By Ani

DAY 1:

Friday was the first full day of training.

The morning started, of course, with an energiser, and then moved on to talk about the three types of peace: peace within, peace with others and peace with nature.

For this, we created 5 workshop ideas in groups focusing on each of these categories.

After this and a coffee break, we discussed what are the ideal conditions for our « jelly » to learn. We discovered that basic needs must be covered in order to start a learning process: no hunger, no sleep, no cold or heat, and of course financial and physical security.

After a wonderful lentil Dahl prepared by our kitchen team, we learned about the necessary steps for setting up a workshop, highly recommended despite some controversy about the order.

To end this day of learning we looked at Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, which allows us to adapt our future workshops to the most recommendable way of presenting information.

Before the big dinner, we wrote a little feedback for our facilitators and after nourishing our « jelly » we finished with games, games… games!!!!

By Paula V.

DAY 2:

The third day of the Training of Trainers for Peace started with a birthday atmosphere.
After singing a birthday song, we were full of energy and ready to start the new day, which was full of activities!

After the beautiful and refreshing walk, where we discussed in pairs about the learning methods, we came back to exchange ideas to improve and make those methods even more magical and interesting.

Outdoor activities were voted as the most attractive learning method for us!

Thanks to our lovely and attentive kitchen team, we enjoyed a delicious meal and set out to dive into the topic of digital tools.

This session was very fruitful and we spent the rest of the afternoon creating our own projects with the tools we had learned.

As well as having a lot of fun and laughter, we learned in a practical way how to use the tools as future peace trainers.

We are looking forward to the fourth day of our training!

By Tamara M.

DAY 3:

Stretching into the meadow of development

As usual, our morning session was spiced up with a good energiser, but it wasn’t until we were able to watch a beautiful performance by our friend Benjamin that we really felt on the move. « My energy level went up to ten » – shouted Gośka as we were ready to start the meadow exploration of the group dynamics.

We talked about the challenges we were likely to face as educators. Language barriers, disinterested participants, hierarchy, age mix… all these constitute group dynamics that an educator will have to deal with. So we debated, exchanged observations and even put on a skit.

By 12 o’clock we had become familiar with the stages of group development and had got to the bottom of formation, storming, norming, acting and closing. Tuckman’s model explained a lot and led us into the last session of the day: ZONES. As we investigated our own zones, ranging from comfort to panic, we remembered that someone’s comfort zone can be someone else’s panic zone.
So we adjourned to dive into the stretching zone of a free afternoon and all that came with it (unrealised sauna session, walking in the rain and sightseeing in Bern).

Looking forward to solving more puzzles that await us in the coming days.

By Julia K.

DAY 4:

The energising one-person-showing-all-participants-copying-sticking-the-dance-moves was almost as refreshing as the Swill Alps at 6am.

We saw what it was like to show a facilitator with your body and discussed some of the sins and blessings of being one.

Facilitation techniques were a puzzle, lit. and fig. And while it can be a bit tricky to learn the ‘textbook’ difference between ‘Making Space’, ‘Tracking’, ‘Encouraging’ and ‘Stacking’, it is important to be able to put it into practice, something the 5 sketches we presented helped to do.

After exploring our potential to become mobile sculptures (or at least the artists behind them), we focused on some difficult situations and tried our best to find solutions to prevent and/or manage them if they occurred.

The evaluation of the activities led to another exhibition that facilitated the transition to the next step: our beloved <families>, also known as focus groups.

Tip of the day: the commandments of stressful online facilitation can be a light in the darkness, especially when you
1. add some light to the space you occupy,
2. check your internet connection, and
3. turn on the camera.

Bonus tip of the day: always grab a napkin when eating an omelette. Something many of us learned the hard way.

By Liliya D.

DAY 5:

Time passes very fast and now we have only one more day before the training ends.

Today we could think about how to act as peace educators. Ideas, activities, and projects were shared by all of the participants, who not only discussed them but also had to think about which ones were really impactful.

The afternoon was a moment to put into practice the group’s facilitation skills in their areas of knowledge. In the open space, we held workshops on many different ways of peace education: making journalism and non-violent resistance, hugging a tree and connecting with nature, transforming reality through Theatre of the Oppressed, art therapy, meditation, and painting.

This will definitely be a day to remember.

By Esteban W.

We would also like to thank the cooking team for their hard work and support. The food was delicious!

More participants’ testimonials

“The time spent on the project was surely an investment that inspired me and helped me feel prepared to conduct an initiative on the topic of Peace. Goska and Natalie were two radiating suns which managed to create this very warm and accepting community of people who will continue partnering to make the world a better place.”

Gergana P., Bulgaria

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“Training of Trainers for Peace » was an amazing experience during which I gained new skills and tools, met inspiring people from different countries and cultures, and exchanged knowledge and ideas. Although the schedule was quite tight, the atmosphere and the way the classes were conducted made them engaging and fun. I am very happy and grateful that I could take part in this training and I can definitely recommend it.”

Martyna R., Poland

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« It’s been two months since the kick-off of the training of Trainers for Peace in Switzerland. Time flies and I am well back into my “normal” life in Poland but the memories of those seven days, spent with beautiful people from all around the world still resonate with me. The biggest added value of this training are the exchanges I made with others – exchanges of experience, knowledge and thought. Gośka and Natalie provoked us to discuss and think and as I am in the middle of preparing my follow-up activity in Poland, this discussion is continuing. It was a great experience, so different from everyday life, yet so needed in everyday life.

I am thankful for all the big and smaller lessons I got to enjoy back in Köniz. Unexpectedly I managed to spread the vibe of trainers for peace within my own family. One weekend at my parents’ place I invited them to give a try to a certain “exercise” without disclosing what that would entail. I meant to introduce them to mandala colouring that we practised during the training. As we finally sat around the table and started filling mandalas with colours, I noticed how my parents were becoming increasingly engrossed in that. It was hugely rewarding when my dad admitted that he had not been that calm in a really long time. It is, as Gośka said, about sowing seeds after all. »

Julia K., Poland

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« Find your bubble, they say. Fill it with warm human beings who make you feel safe and special and empower you to believe in your abilities to make a change.

Let me tell you more about mine, a.k.a. Nostalgic post-impressions about the Training Course “Training of Trainers for Peace” in Köniz, Switzerland.

Learning can be a plethora of things. A maze, a lamp, an umbrella; imagination, reflection, unlocking your potential; running together, running from someone, running towards yourself. It all depends on your perspective and your willingness to open your mind and feel, explore, ask, share, and create.

The ToT training course encompassed facilitation fears and techniques, steps in developing a workshop, dealing with challenging situations, evaluation and measurement of impact, and digital tools. It made us waltz – both in the vast hall of the house and in the corners of our minds – in order to think of personal examples and investigate what we could have done a bit better. Regret is rarely a perfect option, but improvement can always be.

You are the owner of your well-being and you are responsible for your education. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as a change-maker. Paraphrase the astonishment provided by others, make space for different paces and mistakes, and balance the wheel of your emotions.

We live in a world that is full of beauty. Let’s help more people feel it. »

Liliya Dakova, Bulgaria

This project was financially supported by Movetia. Movetia promotes exchange, mobility and cooperation within the fields of education, training and youth work – in Switzerland, Europe and worldwide. 

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