ABPRA

Making bricks by hand on a very hot day

ABPRA is an acronym for Action-Based Psychosocial Reconciliation Approach developed by Dr. Masahiro Minami during his doctoral studies at University of British Columbia, Canada (Minami, 2014a, b, c).

In a large peace-building and ethnic conflict-preventing framework, Minami developed and implemented the ABPRA as a method of facilitating interpersonal reconciliation in previously war-torn communities where interethnic conflicts and hostilities exist.

Its theoretical foundation is formed by two main theories:

  1. Morita therapy (a Japanese nature-oriented and action-based psychotherapy system)
  2. Group dynamics theories (esp. contact theory, attitude change theory in social psychology).

The ABPRA’s principal approach is to engage conflicted members of a community in shared practical activities side by side (i.e., physical labour and performing tasks such as clearing lands, harvesting and husking corn, sorting coffee beans, repairing a house, producing bricks).

Brick making by pair 2

Shared work takes place in the context of the former perpetrator’s offering his labour as a concrete behavioural expression of his apology in response to the victim survivor’s request for a fixed duration (2 hours, one day per week over eight weeks). This voluntary labour and task performance by the former perpetrators constitute the central part of their mutually shared time lasting for about seven hours (from 8.30am to 3.30pm) per day; see below. After the paired work activities, each participant is invited to share his/her experiences with the reconciliator. They then hold a conversation session facilitated by the reconciliator on their experiences and reflections in their mother tongue.

A Typical ABPRA Program’s Day Schedule

4:00am-8:00am Reconciliator and staff trek to the village.
8:00am Meet and greet the former perpetrator, and walk together to the survivor’s home
8:30am The former perpetrator greets the survivor and offers his labour for the day. The survivor assigns the labour of the day.
8:30am-9:00am The survivor and the former perpetrator collaboratively prepare for the labour (e.g., walking together to the field, sharpening machetes for harvesting, fetching water together to prepare for clay brick making, small talks).
9:00am-11:00am Collaborative engagements in practical labour tasks between the former perpetrator and the survivor based on the latter’s request
11:00am-11:30am Cleaning, mingling, and small talks
11:30am-1:00pm Lunch break (taking lunch separately)
1:00pm-2:00pm Participant #1: Individual debriefing of the joint labour experience with the reconciliator
2:00pm-3:00pm Participant #2: Individual debriefing of the joint labour experience with the reconciliator
3:00pm-3:30pm Mingling together for sharing experiences/conversations with each other and the reconciliator; planning for next week
3:30pm-7:30pm The reconciliator and staff trek back to the city.

Publications

Minami, M. (2014a). Morita therapy and peace building. Japanese Journal of Morita Therapy, 25(1), 27-32.

Minami, M. (2014b). Nurturing reconciliation. Therapy Today, 25(7), 10-13. http://www.therapytoday.net/article/show/4453/nurturing-reconciliation/

Minami, M. (2014c). Development and field testing of action-based psychosocial reconciliation approach in post-genocide Rwanda (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/46864