Through our work, we believe that acknowledging, hearing, and embracing respect are key elements to building better communities, where everyone can feel loved. This may sound like a very “touchy-feely” sentiment, but in a country that has been living through a divisive national conflict, it is a very important principle to teach and to live out in all that we do.
Training in Conflict Transformation and Healing
During the first week of September, the AMOS Health & Hope team reflected with health promoters and health committee members from all 23 rural and urban communities we serve on the importance of resolving conflicts through listening, fostering respect, and peace.
AMOS health promoters and health committee members received training in conflict transformation and tools to help process and heal trauma. Because health is not just about physical wellness, the skills they learned during this training will help improve the well-being of all participants and the people they serve.
One of the main objectives of this training was to identify priorities in health in every community. The AMOS facilitators created safe spaces to explore the real emotional impact of the crisis in Nicaragua on the participants and their communities.
For Dr. Gabriella Woo, AMOS Programs Director, this training “means many things for AMOS. Because we are going through a difficult crisis, we are investing our hope in the community health workers we train, so they are able to apply this knowledge to their communities, help resolve conflicts, and be mediators for peace.”
Conflict resolution activities within the training included recognizing our identities, participating in restorative justice circles, conducting emotional evaluations, mapping opportunities in the midst of danger, learning about the social transformation of problems, identifying what it means to be a part of the mainstream or on the margins during a conflict, and understanding the experience of trauma and its cycles.
Expressing Emotions in a Safe Space
This training was really meaningful for the participants because they were able to express their thoughts and emotions in respectful ways and truly listen to each other. And, in the year of the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Ata, we celebrate that these activities comply with the true meaning of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Ana Delfina Morales, AMOS health promoter from La Majada, a rural community located in Boaco, a central region of Nicaragua, said “I feel very happy to have participated in this training because I had never learned about conflict issues before. I will put conflict resolution into practice by holding assemblies in my community, first with the health committee and then with all the people, to talk about the problems we are facing”.
It is important to highlight that a couple of months before, AMOS staff received this conflict transformation training from long-time missionary working for peace, Dan Buttry. For Ximena Medrano, AMOS Delegations Coordinator, receiving this training “was necessary at an institutional level, because conflicts can hinder productivity, and at a national level, because when the crisis is over, we will have tools that can be put to use at different levels to achieve peace in our hearts. At a personal level, it helped us view conflicts in a different way and look at the roles of the people involved in them, so we can gain ‘allies’ and work together towards common objectives for positive resolution.”
There is Always Hope
Over the next few months, AMOS Health & Hope will be taking further action to decrease the effects of the socio-political crisis on people living in the communities we serve. We are committed to serving and providing services through our programs without exception, as we have been doing for the past 11 years.
Through our work, we believe that acknowledging, hearing, and embracing respect are key elements to building better communities, where everyone can feel loved and heard. We are convinced that in true dialogue, there is always hope. We see amazing results when communities are empowered to serve and resolve their problems in proactive and positive ways.