Born and raised in Germany as the adoptive child of a family in the Western part of the country, i worked as a book seller, studied and was engaged in the peace movement for social defense, a vision of a nonviolent way to protect people against military threats, and the resistance against the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe; part of the Green party for a while, i soon started attending and later co-facilitating trainings for nonviolent conflict transformation. In 2005, i went to Sudan as an international Peace Advisor for the German Development Cooperation, with focus on capacity development for nonviolent conflict transformation and worked for them in Ethiopia and Rwanda later.
When, in 1999, I jumped in to interpret for Marshall Rosenberg, as someone else had fallen sick, in Cologne/ Germany, I was thrilled about the honesty and empathy I experienced. I continued interpreting for NVC trainers occasionally , but also learning and sharing NVC. In 2005, I enjoyed my first Nonviolent Communication International Intensive Training (I I T) in Poland: I got to know NVC and NVCers better, learnt NVC journalling from Eva Ramabala (Hungary) and made an agreement with Towe Widstrand (Sweden) about becoming an NVC certification candidate. Working as an International Peace Advisor for GIZ Civil Peace Service in Juba (then “Southern Sudan 2005-2010), in Ethiopia (2013-16) and now in Rwanda, I kept sharing and learning NVC and how to integrate it in our lives.
Working in places with low internet connectivity and the certification process being on hold by CNVC for a while, I lost track of my certification path, even though I continued learning and participating in international trainings, like the NVC Mediation Training with Liv Larsson in Auroville, India, NVC retreats in Agistri/Greece, and the NVC IIT in Salzburg/ Austria. With Dunia Hategekimana, the only certified NVC trainer in Rwanda and a handful of NVC practitioners from Burundi, DR Congo and Kenya, we organized a 1-week-“NVC Africa Retreat” for NVC practitioners from different countries in Africa. From this time of intensive sharing, learning and networking, emerged an (anglophone) NVC Africa Network.
Except for sporadic exchange calls, nothing much happened WhatsApp group until, during covid, the exchange got more intensive. During several months of covid lock-down in Huye/Rwanda in 2020, I went through an intense reflection on why our world is as it is and what I want to contribute to change it and to move into that more beautiful, abundant, interdependent human community I want to see. Joana Macy’s “Work That Reconnects” was and is one of my sources of inspiration. One outcome was for me to resume the Nonviolent Communication Trainer Certification Path. A strong motivation for me to become a certified trainer was (and is) that I knew of only a very small number of certified trainers in Africa and the limited access many African NVC practitioners have to international trainings, mentoring and assessment, due to economic and political reasons.
I am deeply grateful that I found an acknowledgement of this imbalance reflected in CNVC’s ‘environmental scan’ last year. Offering my services in Rwanda (2016-23) and Burundi (from 2023 onward) gives me a sense of community, as we are working together with our young people from different countries in the region and partner organizations, as well as online with the NVC Africa Network, and so many express interest and want to continue after being introduced/ trained in NVC: I want to keep belonging to this community and be part of supporting each other as much as we can.
- Conflict Transformation
- Education (including schools and youth programs)
- Peace and Civil Discourse
- Restorative Justice (including prison work)
- Social Change