The following reports are submitted by the team of NVC trainers, sharing of their experiences in Kenya.

Report of the 5th week training (Kisumu and Nairobi)After finishing out training on Rusinga we went to Kisumu for two days to stay with a family I got to know last year. We went to visit the Secondary School where our friend is working as a teacher and deputy head. This school is a mixed school because there wouldn’t be enough students for a boy’ or girl’s school. The school is situated in a poor neighbourhood. We were not able to talk with the students because this was their examination week.We learnt from the head teacher that it is important to them that the students speak English, that they get punished when they find them speaking Lou their mother tongue. I felt confused and remembered similar situations in Germany when they discussed punishing Turkish students not speaking German during the break. I asked if it would be officially forbidden to talk the mother tongue in Kenya he answered that the teachers had agreed on this rule to prepare the students for the examinations that are held in English countrywide.The next day we continued out travel to Nairobi. Heike and I facilitated the training, Andreas took pictures and videos for documentation, and Christiane went back to Germany because school started again.105 participants attended the first training in Nairobi (two day introductory).All of them were part of different groups- Red Cross,- Caren’s Gardens – an organisation caring for people affected by HIV- Better Chance Africa – an organisation providing training for conflict resolution,- The African Child – caring for children,- members of a peace group with different faiths from Kikuyu, a town where many internally displaced people during the post election violence in January / February 2008 found refuge,just to mention some.Heike and I started with a short introduction and then split up in small groups for an exercise to find out how they meet their need for community.When we came back to the large group for exchanging what they had found out I felt very surprised. I had expexted answers like I know them from Germany: I will meet my family for lunch or dinner, I will call a friend....I heard: there are different kinds of community, family, tribe, church community, and the state. They explained what they could do to contribute to the community. They said that it is important / crucial to contribute to this community.I felt confused and thought I had not expressed myself clear enough – until I realised after the contribution of the third group that we have a different understanding of community – a cultural difference. Their concept of community is much broader and complex than the one in our German culture or mine. I remembered how often I had listened to people in Germany saying that it so difficult to find people who do voluntary work. This kind of community is present – at least for the people I got to know. In the end I expressed my surprise and appreciation for this concept of community and how they are living it. I feel grateful for this experience.There are three situations still present I experienced with the self-empathy-dance-floors:One participant asked what one could do in case after someone had killed someone during the post-election-violence and was happy not to
have been identified by the police and therefore escaped punishment.Somehow I had the impression it would be helpful me dancing the self-empathy-dance instead of asking him to do it. In the process I as this person realised that the joy not have been identified as an offender changed into guilt and in the end mourning, because my need for integrity had not been met according to my value not to kill someone. There was helplessness, despair what I (in this role) could do, until the solution presented itself: to take responsibility – with which consequences so ever –
to go and see the family of the killed one, to listen to their pain and mourning, to connect with them.The second situation was also due to the post election violence:One participant asked if she should blame herself or the other one. I asked her if she would be willing to look closer to the situation and she agreed.Before the election she owned a shop and was priest in a church, she was well known. Someone who wanted to win the election in the constituency asked for her support to which she agreed. After the election, which he had won, she was persecuted for supporting him, evicted from her home, lost her business and flat and had to run away. In this process she also lost her children, of whom she at least in the beginning of July learned through the Red Cross that they were still alive. But they were not yet able to return to her. Now she wanted to know whom she should blame for this – herself or the one who won the election-I tried to get clear with her about her needs she had met with supporting this man. It was about contribution, connection, being aware of this she could mourn the situation in which she is right now. I encouraged her to apply for funds for starting a business again with a charity. (Sadly I learnt that the kids had not yet returned till mid September.The third situation happened after I had mentioned that I am a physician. One woman got up and expressed her appreciation for all she had learnt during the last days, especially that she could see her sick child differently, and she can accept the child now much better. In their community there are more sick children living and she wanted to know if I would support them medically and financially?I felt overwhelmed, considered this to be a demand, I should come and also give money, that I don’t have and was somewhat angry because I had been asked for money so often during the last weeks. I felt helpless what to answer.Then I remembered that I usually found it helpful to be honest and express my helplessness. I told them that I felt helpless and that I wanted to share what was going on in me by going through a self-empathy-dance.I expressed my observation that I had been requested as a physician and that they also needed financial contribution, my feeling of frustration because I didn’t have enough time to go and see the children and no money to support them. I realised that my need for contribution was not met that I would like to meet my need for connection and didn’t know what I could do to meet these needs. When I arrived there I remembered having heard her expressing appreciation for having deeper connection with her child after the training. I realised that I met my need for contribution and connection with facilitating the training, that I really had contributed that I had a connection with the mother. She observed the process and got more and more radiant during the process. And everybody around her also smiled.The request of myself was to remember that I had been contributing to more fulfilled life in this family.For the next 2 days wee worked with a group of mostly young people of the Catholic City parish. Again the main issue was their experience of violence after the election.Many of them came originally from towns where there had been heavy violence. They study in Nairobi. There are some who long for going to their hometowns working on reconciliation. Therefore we concentrated in this training mainly on compassionate listening. It was also very important for me to express my concern they might get overwhelmed listening to so much pain. We considered solutions / strategies how they might get emotional / compassionate support for this work.I remember one dance floor, where we started with the government being blamed for not caring for everybody’s safety. The young man expressed deep despair and then came to the question how he himself could contribute to more safety. He ended up with the solution to network with other young people and to go together with them to listen to victims of the violence, to listen to them compassionately hoping to contribute to reconciliation. So he hopes also to contribute to avoid hatred raising and to find nonviolent was for conflict resolution.We also visited a community of people with HIV/AIDS. Caren’s Gardens is caring for them together with a pastor, who is sharing her land with them and lets these people work in the church hall on producing necklaces and such things from small beads to generate an income. The also produce liquid soap to be sold in the community and crochet bags out of plastic bags. Generating some income gives them hope and dignity, meeting their need for autonomy – at least partly.On Saturday, August 3rd we went to Kikuyu, a town nearby to visit IDPs (internally displaced people). The chairman of the local peace initiative, which had started to work in the end of December, received us.In the beginning there were about 5.400 IDPs in town, right now there are still about 2.800 who don’t have a chance to go back to their hometowns as we learnt. They had partly tried to return but driven away again.One of the biggest challenges is accommodation. They tried to find rooms for the families, to get them out of tents or the church hall, to grant some privacy. One family we visited lives with 5 adults and two toddlers / small children in one room of about 10 sq meters. But they are on their own.Another challenge is to create income for the families. This also means that it is very difficult for kids to go to school because of the lack of school uniforms – no money to buy them. It is especially difficult for the older kids (class 9-12) who had attended the Secondary school because their parents also need to pay school fees. About 15 of them were welcomed by a private school. There had been about 45 other kids, now they would need more teachers and as the parents of the IDP students are not able to pay the fee there are not enough teachers, material as books is lacking. They started to create a boarding school, which was not the plan. So they have some mattresses on the floor and try to get along with an old kitchen to prepare the food. The IDS asked for support especially for these kids. The church communities try to help as much as possible, even if they don’t have much themselves. They feel lonely and desperate because there is not much support from the government or any organisation.People told us about their experiences during the time of violence:One of them reported that he had noticed even some days before the election his house being marked. There are hints or even proves that politicians had encouraged young people to prosecute or even kill people, especially those of the Kikuyu tribe.Others had tried to get protection in police stations but were sent back home being told they would be safe at home.All of them are traumatised and would need support to overcome the trauma.One experience is very touching for me: I did not hear any word of revenge or hatred.I felt and still feel really surprised about this: they have lost everything, even relatives. I feel really concerned about how they can overcome the trauma. At the same time I am concerned about the offenders, I think they would also need empathy. I guess that applying violence is also changing people and that without empathising with them there won’t be real peace.
Report of the 4th week in Kenya
Andreas form Darmstadt; my hometown in Germany had arrived, especially to document the training and the life of people on Rusinga. Marian from the US arrived the week before, she had been here last August with Jan van Koert from the Netherlands and been in ungoing contact with the group on Rusinga. She had especially cared for and supported orphans in a pre-school.
We had planned a good-by-party for Friday with both groups, the beginners and the advanced learners. Participants of the beginners group had bought and prepared food, bought beverages, decorated the room. I appreciate very much how they handled it, they had elected sociocraticly the people in charge of each task, and these had looked for supporters. Using sociocratic election had brought much appreciation for many of them.
I remember especially 3 experiences of this week:
1. The sociocratic election of a representative who would accompany Heike and me to join the NVC training in Nairobi and make contact with the NVC-enthusiasts to start (hopefully ongoing) networking in Kenya. We started Thursday afternoon after the training. In the first round many voted for James, who is also a member of the Badilisha-board (he organisation that had invited us). He also voted for himself. Then I asked according to the sociocratic process of election if someone wanted to change their vote after they had heard the arguments before going into the consent round. All but three voted for James (not yet election), one of them Ruth, who said she didn’t know it was possible to propose herself. So she proposed herself.
I proposed James because he had also proposed himself and I guessed from the votes before that participants would consent to his election. There were three paramount objections.
Then I proposed Ruth, also because she being female and in the beginners group a man had been elected – and I was sure and also told them that I guessed that the skills needed for this task would be equally met by each of the tree remaining candidates. This time there were two paramount objections. James mentioned that Ruth would already be going to Kisumu, a town in a distance of 3 hours travel, with some women to explore how they could generate an income. So she would cover several departments on the organisation (women empowerment and NVC) and this would be more than he appreciates. Solomon found this true for Ruth and James as well, who is a member of the board. So I gave it another try and proposed Maurice, repeating that I was convinced that each of the three would be able to fulfil the task. This time there were paramount objections again, mostly from the women in the group who wanted Ruth to go.
I felt helpless and expressed it; it was getting late and dark. (There are no street lamps; they had no torches to get home. So we agreed on continuing the process during our meeting on Friday. I asked them to be aware of all three being equally skilled candidates and to consider a different vote for the next day. On Friday we abbreviated the training somewhat because we had planned our good-by-party. Before we started I again explained what is meant by paramount objection. I wanted to start the election process a young teacher asked how it came that I decided about which objection would be a paramount objection, I wouldn’t be a member of the group. I invited him to facilitate the election process; he and the group consented.
He asked for votes, we listened to the arguments, and Meshak proposed Ruth. The election ended again with three paramount objections.
Then James withdrew from proposing himself; the other one who also had proposed James changed his vote to Ruth. In the next consent round there was still one paramount objection from Solomon fearing Ruth would be overwhelmed by working in the two departments – he would like the work being shared. She already would be going to Kisumu.
The facilitator of the election, felt helpless – and I too. Some mentioned that the board members wanted to use power over in the group, why we had suggested an election anyway, it was about autonomy for the group. I feared that the whole group would start to fight with each other and I would leave enemies instead of contributing to peace.
Then I remembered NEEDS. I asked Ruth and Solomon for their needs, which were met by staying with their votes. Ruth expressed her need for contribution, she was working with people from the organisation from the very beginning and eagerly waiting for a chance to contribute to the growing of the group – and now that was an opportunity.
Solomon expressed that it is very important for him that no one does more than they are capable of. I asked Ruth if she could agree on going to Kisumu (she had cared for the accommodation there and knew the women they wanted to visit to find out how women on Rusinga could create an income of their own, but someone else would come back with the report. She agreed on this. Solomon also agreed on this solution.
I felt deeply happy and relieved to have found a solution to this challenge – based on needs!
This report is delayed because there were so many challenges with internet access no broadband anyway, and then I tried to get access for hours and was not successful. I needed a lot of self-empathy, and sadly computers don’t seem to react on empathy!
I travelled twice to Mbita, the next town, one hour by motorbike, driving slalom around holes in the street (no tarmac), to increase the chance for sending emails. But also there it took me two hours once.
So I get to send this report after the end of the 4th week. Last week I was so busy that I didn’t get to writing.

Report 3rd week
We continued the training. The main subject during this week was punishment. Can we live without punishment and punishing, how can we keep discipline with out threatening and punishing?
The participants realised that it is important to be aware of the needs of both sides and to find solutions concerning the needs. Especially that the party that has more power also expresses their needs instead of demanding.
During the training of the following day one of the participants told us about her experience with one of the orphans she cares for. The young woman is expected to clean the house and especially the kitchen. Repeatedly she didn’t do it and when asked again for doing it, she answered that she would do it the following day in the evening nothing had happened.
Coming home from the seminar she sat down with the young woman and explored the needs of both of them, especially those of the young woman. There was real connection; they were able to recognise each other with their unmet needs. Today the kitchen was clean.
On another day the experience of one of the participants triggered us - the issue was about parents kids – contribution – autonomy.
She shared that the stepmother of her husband had not accepted her for years as daughter-in-law. She had told everybody she was too old for her husband (she is maybe some years older than he is); she refused to talk with her She wanted to know how she could react empathetically in a situation like this. We went into a role-play and she was satisfied.
This was a trigger to talk about challenging situations in families.
One participant shared that his parents had forced him twice not to marry a woman he loved, even the one with whom he had a child. Even after he had married the women they had presented him, they keep criticising him.
In a role-play we tried to find out how he could have empathised with himself and his parents in this situation. He could see their needs and at the same time he was still deep pain and grief because his need for autonomy had not been met, his need for integrity (reliability) concerning his partner and their child.
In the end he said that a marriage should bring happiness and celebration to the family and that therefore it would necessary that all members of the family would consent.
And he had learned that it is possible to learn to love someone in the course of time.
Wednesday the 16th of July was the official launching of the office of Badilisha, the organisation that had invited us. Many people from the surrounding villages and also from Mbita, the town next to Rusinga Island had come. Kids from the schools on the island performed plays and songs. We were introduced to the auditorium. There were many speeches. The Area Chief and even the District Officer (both appointed people with administrative functions).
I will finish here to get the report out.