Facilitation and peace circles

Using a range of different approaches and methodologies, we enable people to come together in a good way and to engage with each other and complex issues in a real, yet respectful manner. At the heart of our way of working is that first and foremost we are human beings, each with our own unique voice and perspective to bring. At the same time, we help people to find the common ground of their humanity and values that support ‘being’ and ‘doing’ together in a different and more resourceful way.

We facilitate in a broad range of settings and contexts with groups of varying sizes – from for example: large-scale, multi-day facilitation processes with a hundred people, to shorter interventions with defined teams or groups who are seeking to address particular challenges or make decisions, to relationship-building processes that provide a space of reflection and enquiry into the current ‘health’ of the relationship and how to improve it.

We frequently work across language, culture and background, both in and outside South Africa. While we are serious in addressing difficult and complex issues, our processes also invite people into spaces of lightness, laughter and play.

Some facilitation processes we have conducted:

  • An intervention with a team in a World Bank country office to support the team in building more harmonious and productive relationships.
  • An interview and group facilitation process within a team in a statutory regulatory body to bring greater alignment between different functionaries in the team in fulfilling their statutory mandate.
  • A conversation in a school at a leading university to assist staff and students to identify the conversations that would support transformation and a different way of being and engaging with challenges.
  • A focus group and plenary group facilitation on a billion dollar construction project in Namibia that sought to address challenges parties were experiencing working across differences in language, culture, systems and methods; which challenges were negatively impacting productivity and relationships.

PEOPLES’ EXPERIENCES OF PEACE CIRCLES PROCESSES

“In the nine years of struggling with this issue, this is the first time that I’ve really been listened to, by the people who needed to hear. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity”.

“This process was very different to what I expected. I love that we sat in a circle of chairs and not behind tables. It brought us closer together and allowed us to speak and see each other differently from how we had in the past. This will help us going forward.”

“After being in Circle, I took the approach home and we are using it at the dinner table. Whereas before, we all talked at the same time, and got really frustrated, now when one member of the family is speaking, the others are listening.”

“The process was tough, but we had some important and honest discussions that we had not been having. At least now, we have a clearer understanding of the future options for the business.”

“It felt good for me to have the talking piece. Usually I am rushing to speak and today I could relax and go slower. I felt a lot less anxious when I was speaking and I think this made it easier for others to understand me.”

“I am a person who does not usually speak in group settings. But in the Circle, it felt right and natural for me to speak and share my thoughts.”

“Although we have been coming together as a group for a long time, being in Circle today, for the first time, brought a much deeper level of connection and a greater depth to the honesty of our communication.”

“Being in the Circle provided the space for us to give and receive honest feedback which we don’t usually do in our senior management team. This has given us a basis to build on, of being more honest and open with each other, rather than being polite.”

What are Peace Circles?

Circles provide a space in which people connect with each other as human beings. Circles can serve a multitude of purposes, and have been referred to as peacemaking circles, talking circles or community circles. It is a methodology to bring people together to explore and address issues and challenges in a respectful and inclusive way.

How do Peace Circles work?

Circles weave together traditional indigenous wisdom and practices with contemporary approaches to effective communication, collective problem-solving, decision-making and consensus-building. It is an invitation to go beyond our various identities of role and rank through a process in which all voices are equal and where difference and diversity are welcomed.

Circles are a facilitated process that consciously engage the fundamental aspects of what it is to be human – that we are mental, physical, emotional and spiritual beings who are inherently in relationship with others. These aspects are reflected in the “inner frame” of Circles i.e. the philosophy and values that underpin Circles, and in the “outer frame” of the Circles i.e. aspects related to structure and process.

How can Peace Circles be used?

Circles can be used in a broad range of settings and for various purposes such as strategic planning, learning and development, conflict resolution, problem-solving, decision-making, healing and reconciliation and relationship building.

Depending on the purpose, Circles can take the form of a once-off conversation lasting from a couple of hours to a longer process conducted over a number of days. They could also be structured as a series of conversations that take place over a period of time.

Peace Circles Training

We work in association with Peace of the Circle (www.peaceofthecircle.com) in providing training on the Fundamentals of Peace Circles.