Workshops for Transformation in Zimbabwe

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Lancelot Muteyo of Trees of Peace Africa Zimbabwe and Director- Pan African Peace Network often shares his workshops throughout Africa and in other places as well with me here — I am so very happy to have his report of not only workshops but of mentoring a young woman from the country of Georgia and letting her lead programs in Zimbabwe before she returns to her home to continue in work for peace. This is Lance’s report.

Zimbabwe is in a state of democratic transition. The country has witnessed serious citizen activism through mass protests and demonstrations in the last four months. Protesters are crying for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 National Elections. But there is a problem! The struggle is violent! Protesters are ill equipped for non-violent struggle. This is a serious challenge. Therefore, Trees of Peace Africa Zimbabwe is working to address this issue through teaching non-violent struggle and conflict transformation to grassroots.

1 and Christina Muteyo invited Ketevan Murusidze from Georgia Eastern Europe to do two separate conflict transformation workshops with Catholic University of Zimbabwe and SOS Children’s Villages in Zimbabwe in August 2016.

My wife Christina aka Chrissy was trained in the Ukraine at a gathering of Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) in 2015 by Daniel Buttry and I. Keti was also trained in the same training. Keti came to the Ukraine TCTT on the invitation of Dan Buttry through the recommendation of Rusudan a Baptist pastor in Georgia. Keti had never been to Africa and this was her first time hence I wanted her to explore Africa and prepare herself for what God may do in her life in the peace field. It was also good for me to mentor her in the trainings as I learned more from her vast experience with Generations for Peace. Keti was staying in our humble house.
Unfortunately, one week before Keti arrived; the Catholic University of Zimbabwe cancelled the program. They chickened out about the possibility of non-violent struggle.

We did a one day workshop with 40 SOS Children’s Villages youths and the Director of the village was so happy. We also did two days’ workshop with 14 Girls Wisdom Hub girls. The organization works with vulnerable girls by teaching them cooking and tailoring skills. Finally we did a vibrant workshop with 27 young Christians.
“This is the best ever workshop I have attended, usually in these workshops I am always on my phone or dozing but this is empowering” Anesu- Girls Wisdom Hub
“So funny and energetic exercises with deep meaning at the end of the day. Thank you Lance, Chrissy and Keti” Takudzwa- Christian Youth
The following were achieved from this training;
• Almost eighty (80) people were trained.
• Keti was highly empowered as she gained international experience.
• We transformed participant’s perception of life from been negative to positive.
• Our training designs made us to complement each other well in our weaknesses.
• We managed to brainstorm on future possibilities.
• We did several strategic meetings.

Below is an extract of Keti’s experiences;

“It is almost a month I am back in Georgia but I am still in Zimbabwe with my mind and thoughts. This was amazing experience for me, and I believe for our trainees as well.

The next step was the training at SOS Children Village in Harare. First we talked with a director of the centre, we introduced ourselves to him and explained him importance of informal education and experiential learning. During the training, we had about 40 participants, boys and girls around ages 14 to 17. The training was really amazing, participants were very engaged and they wanted us back! During the training we had such great emotions and energy that some teachers, mothers and staff members with the director joined us and were watching our activities. At the end of the training, some participants thanked us for that day. Especially one boy was so emotional; I will never forget his thankful eyes and words he told me! I can say among these youths there are some very bright minds but they do not have much opportunity to find themselves and their talents in that environment. But I hope we could open some new windows in their mind.

We conducted the next training at Girls Wisdom Hub in Harare. We had around 14 participants, but these girls were really great and clever, especially some of them. Engagement level was really high, they liked this new approach a lot and tried to experience and understand as much as was possible. You should watch their Ankle Walk. The success of the training can be measured by their comments and feedbacks they shared at WhatsApp, and the next day there was a graduation ceremony of their program and everybody was talking about our two-day training. During the graduation ceremony they invited me to give a speech, I did not expect that but I did my best to encourage our girls and donors to keep moving on this direction. I also gave them certificates as other donors and representatives of NGOs. After the graduation ceremony I had some networking conversations with local NGO representatives and human rights activists. Also I talked with a Catholic priest Fr. Joe Arimoso who is a very influential person in education field in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar as I heard. As a result, he invited us at the St. George College where he is a rector, and I and Lance had quit interesting strategic meeting there with his team. I hope this meeting will have some successful continuation. Lance is already invited to attend their training for teachers and to conduct one-day pilot training for their students. So girls training were very successful, I still receive their messages on WhatsApp, they are so thankful and want to have more training like that. Also this training was productive for networking and promotion the TCTT program.

The last training for Christian youths was the one I am so proud of. All the time I have been doing things what were planned and organized by Lance and Chirssy. In this case, I was an initiator of this training, I pushed the local priest to organize this training for their church youths. I attended two services while I was there, and I felt these youths needed our training. They have a lack of love and honesty, I mean they can get jealous so easily and can do many wrong things because they cannot control their emotions and dreams. At the second church service I felt how jealous some of them were even toward me. So I felt like I needed to do something, and thanks to the priest and Lance we conducted amazing training for 27 youths. We planned to have two-hour training as it was very difficult group, but we ended up with three-hour training and still did not want to finish it, but it was already dark and we did not have more time to work with this group. I got so emotional feedbacks from the participants that I will never forget. I am happy that this was not only one day training but that the priest is going to continue working with these youths through Lance and Chrissy. The priest emailed me that he is working on some strategies to get funds to establish a school for these youths. I am more than happy because I am part of this process, and I am not shy to say that I started this process with blessing of God and the priest, with great help from Lance and Chrissy.

I believe we planted really good seeds in Harare, and I am looking forward to seeing how our trees of peace will flourish.

Just two words about my free time. Victoria Falls is wonderful, one of the best memories in my life. But giraffes – I had seen them for the first time in my life (we do not have them in Georgia, even in zoo). I rode a horse after maybe 10 years and that was amazing.

Thank you for this great experience!

Thanks Chrissy, Lance and Adriano Kundai your son for their hospitality, love and interesting talks. Special thanks to Chrissy, she is a really great cook. Also Kundai for giving me his bedroom for two weeks.”

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