What an exciting day it was at the Generations For Peace (GFP) HQ today! Thirty-nine volunteers from ten countries around the world have come together for the Samsung Advanced Training 2015, where they will have an opportunity to share and exchange experiences, success stories and best practices, as well as challenges and lessons learnt, across different programmes. Participating volunteers hail from: Ghana, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Republic of Macedonia, Nigeria, Palestine, Tunisia and Uganda.

Volunteers bring diverse experiences from their programmes, working in different contexts to address local issues of conflict and violence. For those who have already attended specialised trainings at the GFP HQ, it is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet again. There were lots of warm hugs, loud cheers and surprises as volunteers spotted one another in the crowds!

Training sessions are delivered by GFP’s “home grown” Pioneer Facilitators, who are amongst the organisation’s most experienced volunteers of all. They have walked in the shoes of their fellow volunteers, implementing innovative programmes in their own communities, and as such, are best placed to guide the volunteers as they continue their GFP journey.

So what are their thoughts on this training?

Abdiel Kude, GFP Pioneer Facilitator from Nigeria, said: “This is an opportunity to interact with people with different skills and knowledge, enabling us all to develop a stronger global perspective on peace building. I view the Advanced Training 2015 as a chance to share my own experiences, connect with other volunteers, and to strengthen all of our efforts under one roof.”

Sanja Angelovska, GFP Pioneer Facilitator from Republic of Macedonia, reflected on her facilitating journey so far: “I realise in essence it is an art form – it requires the person to work on themselves, their skills and approach while facilitating. I believe it is a once in a lifetime learning experience.”

Mercia Takavarasha, GFP Pioneer Facilitator from Zimbabwe, added: “I am excited to meet the new volunteers, some of whom I have never met before. Each person has developed a unique set of skills from their own personal experiences, so this is a fantastic opportunity to share their knowledge and to motivate one another. After all we are here to learn!”

Samsung, which has supported GFP since 2008, is the main sponsor for the annual advanced training. The training is also supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who support GFP’s work across the MENA region.