Welcome to Partera!
It means midwife, in Spanish. But there are no babies delivered here. Other things, however. Change. Solutions and resolutions. Plans. Tools. Whether equipping for working well together, living well, planning your organisation's future directions or intervening for the purpose of building and creating peaceful societies, the methods employed by Partera assume the wisdom and inherent strength of the participants in any process towards change.
So, come on in. Partera is part of a global network of trainers and facilitators with a wealth of experience and expertise. Visit our links, browse through the articles and gallery. Read and comment on our blog posts. Participate in the work as a contract partner, a donor, an intern or contributing writer.
Partera brings more than twenty-five years of experience in facilitation, training, mediation, strategic planning and third-party non-violent intervention in a host of situations around the world on four continents.
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Partera News and Views
Power and the Feminine
A few days ago, I heard Anna Maria Tremonti trying valiantly to moderate a conversation – debate might be the more accurate term – between two women, both feminists, separated by a feminist wave or two and their respective preference for the next president of the United States. It has been interesting to hear second-wave icons the stature of Gloria Steinem insist that no self-respecting feminist would do anything but throw their support behind Hillary Rodham Clinton. Commentators suggested that the age difference between the sides these two women represent is key to understanding their views on Bern vs Hill. We’ve waited so long, the Hillary supporters say; it’s our turn! Click here to read more...
A classroom full of girls, Primary Four to Primary Seven, all dressed alike in sky-blue jumpers, the uniform of Atratraka Primary School, Chiro Town, a few hundred metres from the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first of a few classes today, it would seem, and I am feeling a bit over my head.
Click here to read the whole story!
Postcard from Uganda #2: Playing for our Lives
The Big Wind Blows, if you watch it without sound, looks like a silly children’s game – the one-fewer-chair-than-kids kind. There’s a stack of cards in the middle of the circle. I start out with the one on top; it’s meant to be easy, comfort-zone stuff... Click here to read more about 'Playing for our Lives'.
Postcard from Uganda #3: Silly Games?
... Then the Big Wind Blows for those who have ever participated in a demonstration. Those who have ever been arrested. For those who have ever pointed a gun to kill. No one gets up. Somehow it’s the Human Knot, a few days later that triggers NKR. As we unpack the learnings of the exercise, he suddenly jumps up and starts to pace, agitated, back and forth within the circle. Up until now he has been quiet; now he erupts, emotional dams bursting their confines within. He was forcibly recruited by the SPLA as a young boy. Click here to read more...
North East India: Saying YES to Peace
When I returned from North East India in December, I wrote a blog that I entitled ‘Extreme Everything’. Exquisite beauty marred by outrageous human suffering, all the contradictions of a rich land of poor people; hope issuing from remarkable trainings with 70 young people challenged by the North-east’s intractable habits of violence. This time as I return, I realise how close we travel to the edge of despair. Click here to read more...
As part of its year-end reporting, the Washington Post listed seven conflict zones in the world that had gone, in its view, under-reported. We had heard lots about Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and ISIS - and rightly so! Of the seven situations noted, some news had trickled in on Libya and Yemen and their respective descents into post-Arab Spring violence, of al Shabab in Somalia and Kenya, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Pakistan. Almost invisible were the Sudans and Assam/Northeast India - both for us places of long-time and profound relationships and collaboration with local partners in the work of peace.
The Sudans, North and South
Having spent a month a year for 8 years in Sudan and then South Sudan, the world's newest country, we have witnessed the transformation of a small group of 200 trained trainers into tens of thousands of activists working for non-violent change. Still, Darfur remains wracked with violence and South Sudan has made its own descent in to civil war, 10,000 people killed and more than 1.5 million displaced amidst battles between government and rebel forces. With hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese now joining the ranks of the displaced and the refugee, the impacts of the breakdown in the Nuer-Dinka agreements that had made the forming of the new country possible are flowing across both state and international boundaries. Read on to find out more about our 2015 projects - all of which will be carrying on into 2016.
Refugees and Reluctant Hosts: Turning Enemies into Neighbours on the South Sudanese-Ugandan Border
With the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in December of 2013 marked by atrocities on both sides of the Nuer-Dinka conflict, CEPAD Uganda has been engaging host communities and the newly-arrived refugees in dialogue and mediation designed to reduce violence and de-escalate the tensions.
In October, we joined CEPAD staff in 'engaging the conflicting communities through community-led initiatives that will facilitate safe processes of dialogue and community discussion fora. This will allow them to identify and discuss potential conflict trigger points, to adopt peaceful coping mechanisms to managing feelings and, resolve disputes peacefully though non-violent means.' WOW! Click here to donate to this project: Budget $5,000 Click here to learn more...
Keeping Girls in School Every week empty chairs in classrooms bear witness to the fact that girls do not want to have to deal with the embarrassment of stigmatised bloody clothing and stained wooden benches. School and public facilities are inadequate for both the tending of their female needs and their safety. The result is a gradual slipping behind that, eventually, leads to early school-leaving, early marriage, early child-bearing and the ill health that accompanies the too-soon burdens of motherhood on girls barely more than children themselves. And doors to women's participation in the shaping of their communities and their country - and of their own lives - remain curtailed, their gifts, skills and insights untapped, their futures foreshortened... Click here to donate to this project: Budget $5,000 Click here to read more!
India's Restive Northeast
Touring and Teaching for Peace We are very excited about our 2015 work with partners in North East India! Two Partera trainer-teachers (LeeAnn McKenna and Jeanette Quick Sandlin) will be returning to the North east to do two things: to work with and train 50 Bikers for Peace in non-violence (a story in itself: read about it here!) and to teach two courses in a new M.A. Programme in Peace Studies with young men and women from across the Northeast. The courses are on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation. We will be combining our usual methods of popular education/experiential learning and conflict transformation tools and exercises with academic readings.
What You Honour Tonight
In November of 2010, Lee McKenna was awarded the YMCA Peace Medallion in recognition of her peacemaking work in war zones. Her acceptance speech provides a snapshot of her work. The script can be read here.
'Taking our fear for a walk'
Confronting Global Crises: A Non-violent Perspective
In November, 2011, Toronto was the site of a conference entitled 'Confronting Global Crises'. Lee McKenna presented the closing keynote address on the topic of the importance of critical consciousness - for both accurate analysis and fear-dismantling - in the confronting of multiple and overlapping global crises. The script can be read here.