HIPP's History

History of the HIPP


In 1990, several factors contributed to the birth of the Help Increase the Peace Project (HIPP).  In the USA there was growing concern about violence in American society and in schools in particular; and at the same time, conflict resolution programmes had become recognised as a viable alternative to violence.  The conviction that a programme of non-violent conflict resolution in schools could work, grew out of the community conflict resolution experiences of the staff of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the AFSC Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) and the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)[i].

HIPP was planned as an implementation of the goals of YEP which are to provide young people ages 13 and over with a social and educational outlet focussing strongly on exploring and discovering alternatives to the many negative influences confronting them.  HIPP extended these goals to include creating a positive climate for learning in schools by helping students, teachers, staff, and parents (when possible) to change their behaviour to support a “norm” of co-operation and non-violence.

The deputy superintendent of Syracuse Schools was the key factor in opening school doors.  The HIPP team shared information on AVP and other conflict resolution programmes showing different approaches in various settings, and established that conflict resolution goals are congruent with educational goals.  Discussions were also held with other district school employees including principals, teachers, and a committee for special programmes.  Selected teachers attended AVP community or prison workshops and soon after the HIP Project was approved as a pilot project in two Syracuse city schools.  It is from this small beginning that HIPP was born.

For further information about the USA arm of HIPP please go to the website at www.afsc.org/hipp.htm

[i] The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is a Grassroots, International, Volunteer Movement committed to reducing interpersonal difficulties in society. The core values of AVP recognise the worth of every individual and affirm the power of each person to use reason and co-operative skills in responding creatively in their interpersonal relationships.  AVP works toward its goals by presenting experiential workshops in communities, community organisations such as churches, schools, youth groups, prisons, government, business and other organisations.

The AVP Mission is to empower people to lead positive, productive individual and community lives through affirmation, communication, co-operation, community building, and transformation.  It is dedicated to teaching the peacemaking skills and techniques that were used by Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Founded in and developed from the real life experiences of participants, AVP encourages every person’s innate power to positively transform themselves and the world.  AVP workshops present pre-emptive conflict management skills that can enable individuals to build successful interpersonal interactions, gain insights into themselves and find new and positive approaches to their lives.  They provide experiences of respect for oneself and others; of speaking truth and listening with an open mind; of co-operation and the benefits of diversity.  Those who have completed all levels of training become skilled and experienced leaders.  The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) was started in the USA in 1975 and now operates in over 30 countries around the world, including South Africa (AVPSA) since 1995.

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