4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

Quarterly report of Dutch Peace Teams organisation (BVTN)

by Janne Poort van Eeden

The first 4-week basic training course for peace team workers was a good succes. The students valued the course very positively, especially the internships in several conflictful areas in Dutch society.  Some of the students are now operating as volunteers in Bosnia, most of them are using the newly learnt skills in their own work. 

Because of the good results, BVTN organises another basic course, which will start in November. Basically the course will have the same content as the previous one, with a few minor adaptations. The same trainers, Pat Patfoort from Belgium and Abel Herzberger from the Netherlands, will conduct the training. Guest teachers on the topics of conflict mediation and the sharing of experiences in field work will be invited again.

The curriculum working group is developing a second, follow-up course, but we first want the basic course to get more attention in the media and recognition in the official education system before starting to implement follow-up courses. 

Another field in which BVTN is active, is lobbying. In the Dutch politics, peace missions and conflict prevention are becoming an important issue. A regular series of meetings between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs has started, in which BVTN is one of the participants. Topics of discussion are the effectiveness of peace missions, the connection between conflict prevention and human rights, etc. Apart from this official track, members of the BVTN board have close contacts with influential politicians. One of the aims of these contacts is to find regular funding for the training courses, and for spreading the work of civil peace services. We also have contacts with the Dutch OSCE representant. 

BVTN is still depending on money from private donors. We are lobbying for official recognition of our work, resulting in funding by the government. In the meantime we keep the contacts with our donors by sending a regular information letter and organising an annual donors day. This year it will take place on 17 November, shortly before the start of the training course. 

We also are planning an internal study day for the BVTN board and its advisory group. We want to evaluate the way we are working and explore new ideas. One of the important issues of this day will be the BVTN relationship with the military. In the first training course, four students were military persons, for three of them the costs were paid by the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry was very positive about the results of the training and intends to send new students to the next course. Several members of the BVTN board want to discuss the future cooperation with the military, both in the trainings as well in the field work.  

BVTN is convinced of the importance of a strong European CPS movement. That is why in the International field, BVTN is strongly represented; one BVTN board member is the EN.CPS coordinator, another is the EN.CPS representant in EPLO, in Brussels. 

11 July 2001.



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